WE would share the resolution with you if we could (and we will when we can), but it hasn't been made available to the public yet. There were no official public hearings that we know of, or SEPA review. The records are downright thin. This wasn't even on the Council agenda.
What we do know is that this project seeks to make 300,000 acres of public land in the Cascades even less accessible than it is already. The project plan is to expand the North Cascades National Park significantly, and this will take part of the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest along with it. The current plan is to make a section bridge, through Hannegan Pass, to Mt. Baker Highway. The real project goal - make no mistake about it -- is to put an end to as much much logging and mining as possible -- "re-wilding." This land, and the productive public resources that go with it, will be out of reach forever.
How could this resolution -- a blanket endorsement of a plan that keeps expanding and morphing, with what looks like tortured economic justifications -- pass through Council without public review? The Whatcom County Charter says:
WCC Chapter 14.04
RIGHT TO PRACTICE FORESTRY
14.04.010 Policy and purpose.
14.04.010 Policy and purpose. A. 1. It is the declared policy of this county to promote forestry operations and to inform residents of the county’s support for the right to practice forestry.
2. State planning goals encourage the conservation of productive forest lands and discourage incompatible uses. Land uses adjacent to forest lands should not interfere with forestry operations.
Some will say all this is "subject to interpretation." Logging and mining are dead anyway. But WE know how rugged, inaccessible, and well protected this land is already. Locking down all options - losing these resources forever -- that's serious.
Go, read the county Charter. Search through it on your own. Find the mining section too; it's nearly identical to the logging one. Yes, this is federal land, but the use of it -- that's a big part of our heritage as well as an asset.
WE are not quite sure why our elected hustled this the way they did. When we learn more, we'll share what we find. Heck of a surprise, huh? Stay tuned.
Editor Update: County Resolution 2011-021 is now available here.