Submitted by the Department of Natural Resources
The Washington State Board of Natural Resources gave the go-ahead to sell 103 acres of state land to San Juan County. The county plans to add the parcel, located on the north end of Lopez Island, to its current Odlin County Park.
“This is a win-win for Washington state and San Juan County,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who also chairs the Board of Natural Resources. “We are more than doubling the footprint of a popular park on Lopez Island and also funding the Common School Trust, which builds facilities for public schools statewide.”
The county has leased the property since 2011 when the state legislature paid the Washington State Department of Natural Resources $1.1 million for a 50-year lease with a lessee purchase option. Those proceeds were used to fund public school construction statewide. With today’s action, the county will own the parcel outright once it reimburses the Common School Real Property Replacement Account $194,000 for the remaining fair market value of the property. DNR received the former U.S. military property in two transactions with the federal government in 1959 and 1960.
“Through the dedicated efforts of Commissioner Franz and the Department of Natural Resources, numerous citizens, local public officials and the San Juan County Land Bank, we gain more parkland and public open space for county residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Rick Hughes, San Juan County Council chairman, following the board’s approval of the transaction.
“This valuable addition to our county’s park system creates more places for people to enjoy low-impact recreation while preserving a unique natural environment,” said Jamie Stevens, San Juan County council member representing Lopez Island.
Further descriptions and maps of the Odlin South Transfer property are online at www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/em_bc_bnr_odlinsouth_presentation.pdf.
In other action, the board, acting in its role as the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, approved new official names for four geographic features, including a creek whose name was considered offensive. Formerly known as Squaw Creek, the six-mile-long stream located southwest of Methow in Okanogan County was renamed Swaram Creek. The name, proposed by residents of Okanagan County, is based on a word from the Methow language meaning “torchlight fishing at night.”
Other place names approved today were:
Houle Creek in Kittitas County. The new designation for this previously unnamed mountain stream southeast of Hyak uses the French word for “ridge” or “wave as it moves across the water” to honor the French trappers and traders who were among the first Europeans in the area.
Steffen Creek in Snohomish County. The new name commemorates Herman Steffen, who purchased property near the creek in 1900 and whose descendants still operate Steffen Farms and own water rights to the creek. The previously unnamed creek is located southeast of Monroe.
Libby Creek in Thurston County. The new name for the waterway north of Olympia commemorates the Libby family who homesteaded along a trail that is now Libby Road.
Geographic place names reviewed by the board are submitted by citizens. Once approved by the board, the names are published in the Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the United States Board on Geographic Names for its consideration.
Board of Natural Resources
The board adopts policies, approves major commodity sales, and makes decisions about transactions of state lands managed by DNR. Its membership represents the major beneficiaries of state trust lands, including public schools, universities, and prisons as well as 21 counties that use trust land revenues to support hospitals, libraries and other services. Since 1972, DNR-managed state trust lands have provided nearly $8 billion to trust land beneficiaries. The board is chaired by Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands.