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$15.3 million in federal funding secured for Cle Elum Ridge

We could not be more thrilled to share that, thanks to the support of the Checkerboard Partnership, DNR has successfully secured $15.3 million in federal funding to acquire the Cle Elum Ridge!  


The US Dept of Agriculture came to Cle Elum on Monday, May 13th to announce a $15.3 million Forest Legacy Program grant for protection of Cle Elum Ridge.  We were honored to meet with USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small, Rep Kim Schrier, Commissioner Hilary Franz, Commissioner Laura Osiadacz, Yakama Nation Tribal Council Member Caseymac Wallahee, Sally Jewell, and many community partners for the grant announcement and a roundtable discussion.  

“I could not be happier or prouder to see so many years of hard work culminate in such a monumental addition to our public lands,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Many unlikely partners came together more than a decade ago to make the Teanaway a reality. Today, we take another epic step on our journey to keep the Evergreen State evergreen.”


Cle Elum Ridge sits adjacent to the Teanaway Community Forest (Teanaway), which is also owned by DNR and managed in collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).


Like the Teanaway, the community has indicated the desire for Cle Elum Ridge to be sustainably managed as working forest lands, consistent with the goals of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan and DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and restore forest health to support a healthy landscape and outdoor recreation.


While TNC together with DNR submitted the proposal for this federal grant, 25 additional partners submitted letters of support, including U.S. Rep Kim Schrier (WA-08), the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.


Today’s Forest Legacy Program grant announcement is a gamechanger for this treasured landscape in Central Washington,” said Mike Stevens, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Washington. “The community has been working for decades to protect Cle Elum Ridge for its forest health, wildlife, and recreational values. With the support of federal, state, and local partners, we’re now poised to deliver on the community’s vision and permanently protect Cle Elum Ridge. We thank USDA and our congressional delegation for its support of this important local project.”

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