Reproduced from Seattle Times editorial page
Washington's rich heritage of natural resources and the state economy's connection to healthy forests and productive lands are at the heart of two significant anniversaries being celebrated.
The University of Washington College of Forest Resources is turning 100. Established in 1907, the program grew from eight undergraduate students and two graduate students to an enrollment of more than 700. The college was known as the College of Forestry until 1967. College staff, faculty and students focus on education and research on emerging natural resource issues and an ever-changing economic climate for the future. The college earned a world-class reputation with research and teaching that embrace a spectrum of evolving issues on forest health and biodiversity, renewable energy, population and social pressures, and globalization.
Sustainable is a word that reflects today's world challenge. Sustainable forests, urban environments and forest enterprises need to be explored and monitored through the college's resources.
Forest Resources staff, students and faculty use their skills and tools to observe, measure, evaluate and provide direction for industry, community leaders and stakeholders.
The college and Dean Bruce Bare are to be congratulated for the substantial achievement this anniversary represents: sustained leadership, innovation and education responsive to changing environmental, political and social climates.
Cheers as well to the Washington Department of Natural Resources as it reaches the half-century mark.
Established in 1957, the department was created by the Legislature with a goal to preserve the state's public lands. The department shifted from a timber-focused management to include tidelands, shorelines, streams, aquatic reserves and wildlife. Proceeds from timber sales support county governments, local schools and other public institutions, such as universities, prisons and the state capital campus.
In addition, the department offers leases to agriculture, including the booming wine industry. As energy demands changed, the department responded in 2003 with its first lease of trust lands for wind power.
Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland is responsible for 5.3 million acres of state-owned forests, and commercial, agricultural, range and aquatic lands. Each fire season, the department is responsible for coordinating protection of private and state forestland.
The challenges for the next 50 years include balancing population growth, economic development, habitat and wildlife health, recreational demands and biodiversity across the state's rich natural lands. The department has a central role in keeping Washington green and wild, and not concrete and gray.
Washingtonians should honor the Department of Natural Resources and the College of Forest Resources for what they have achieved and their role in tackling the challenges for a sustainable future.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company