Clark County Today goes one-on-one with Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz After her press conference last Friday at Amboy Territorial Days Park where she updated location residents on the Big Hollow Fire that was threatening property owners in both Cowlitz and Clark counties, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz checked out sources of supplying the profits she states her company requires to much better manage our public lands. Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz appeared at an interview last Friday at Amboy Territorial Days Park where she upgraded area citizens on the Big Hollow Fire that was threatening property owners in both Cowlitz and Clark counties. Photo by Mike Schultz In a 20-minute interview with Clark County Today, Franz spoke about needing resources to combat fires and the prevention of large fires by restoring forests to health.
Franz was chosen to workplace in 2016 and she is running for reelection in November’s general election. Prior to her election, she was a member of the Bainbridge Island City Board. She has actually been a Seattle attorney and previous executive director of the sustainable development supporter Futurewise.
Franz discussed 20 to 50 years of previous forest management as leaving excessive tinder and sick trees in our forests to catch fire. “We have simply in central Eastern Washington, 2.7-million acres of forests that are dead and dying that are literally tinder boxes,” she said.
The Board of Natural Resources sets policies for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and authorizes the company’s 10-year sustainable harvest plans. They identify just how much timber is to be offered from trust land. The state has fallen back in gathering wood according to a Nov. 2019 Crosscut report.
“Under the 2004-2015 strategy, the goal was to harvest 5.5 billion thousand board feet of timber (MMBF). Nevertheless, that target was missed out on by roughly 460 MMBF– more than the overall wood collected from state trust land in 2015. According to DNR Uplands Deputy Manager Angus Brodie, it is among the biggest balance dues in decades.”
Franz previously proposed a 20-year plan to clear forests. “Our forest health insurance has us dealing with 70,000 acres a year over the next 20 years for 1.25 million acres,” she stated on Friday. “Half of that is federal land due to the fact that they are the most substantial landscape that is at threat and has the most considerable dead infected trees.”
Franz highlighted that “we have got to get on those forests, federal, state, tribal and personal, and start to bring back the resiliency; eliminate the dead unhealthy trees, the smaller sized diameter (trees), get more spatial spaces between those trees so they aren’t contending for soil, moisture, nutrients.”
As head of our state’s Department of Natural Resources, she monitors 1,500 staff members, directs the management of 5.6-million acres of state-owned lands, monitors DNR’s wildfire protection on millions of acres of state and personal forest land.
Franz said she has 73 full-time firefighters; a 70 percent boost from 2016. “When I came into workplace in this position, we just had 43, so we were able to include 30 more thanks to the legislature’s leadership.” Her firm also has 550 seasonal firefighters. Franz said: “I have 1,500 staff members and half are trained for fires.”
Franz oversees 3 million acres of state trust lands that offer sustainable non-tax income for state and county services and public school construction tasks. Her firm offered $325 million in income to the state each year, among the uncommon federal government agencies that generates cash. Those funds primarily go to support schools and likewise counties, according to Franz.