Holiday Greetings from Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands

Dear Friends & Supporters,
The Holidays are a time to give thanks and to reflect on the year that is passing. But in my family, as I imagine it is in yours, it is also a time for looking forward and sharing hopes for the New Year. This year, my five children and their families will be joining Wendy and me at the ranch and I am really looking forward to it. Trust me, there is nothing like an Okanogan Christmas!
I hope your holiday will bring you similar joys and opportunities to reconnect with friends and family, recharge, and reflect on the year.
I have high hopes for 2010, but before the year ends, I have some exciting news from my office that I would like to share with you:
Protecting Forests – I Designated the Middle Fork Snoqualmie a Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA): This 10,270 acre natural area, is nested along Interstate 90, and flanked by the Mount Si NRCA and federal forests. Natural areas, like this one, are designated to protect ecological systems and habitat for threatened and endangered plants and animals, while also providing low-impact recreational opportunities for all of us. Put it on your list of sights to see!
Small-Forest Land-Owner Summit – Forests not Strip-malls: With development pressure increasing, it is important for me to acknowledge the role I play in making sure that families and individuals, who want to stay in forestry, can. I campaigned on addressing the risk of conversion, which is why I’ve begun a conversation with land-owners about how we can support “anchoring” their forests in Washington, for the long-term.
Cleaning-up Puget Sound – One Pier at a Time: After years of fighting, ASARCO (the now bankrupt mining giant that was responsible for polluting more than 1,000 acres of the Puget Sound basin) will finally have to compensate the State for the damage they inflicted on Puget Sound. The Department, in partnership with Ecology, fought to receive $2 million to remove more than 67,000 square feet of creosote-laden piers and docks from public aquatic land. Creosote is a carcinogen that, along with the derelict docks, led to the severe degradation of the near shore environment around the smelter site. Cleaning up this site will lead to the eventual construction of a promenade walkway that will provide public access to a portion of Tacoma between Point Defiance and downtown that has been restricted for decades.
Thank you for your help, encouragement, and letters of support during 2009.  During the holiday season, please enjoy the warmth of your home and the kindness of your friends and family and consider making a donation to your local food bank, because this has been a hard year for many Washington residents.
Happy Holidays,


Peter J. Goldmark

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