Pope Resources' North Kitsap Lands

What's your legacy going to be? 

The Present: Where we are now

In 2007, Olympic Property Group (OPG), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pope Resources, announced its plans to divest its timber and real estate holdings in north Kitsap County.

 

At present, OPG owns approximately 8,000 acres (or 12.5 square miles) of land and 2.5 miles of shoreline in north Kitsap County as well as the town of Port Gamble, a National Historic Landmark District.  Nearly all of our land is used regularly for outdoor activities by thousands of neighbors and people from throughout the Puget Sound region.

 

The company's goals for divesting its properties in north Kitsap County are simple:

  • Create a lasting legacy that will benefit the public through open space, trails, and shorelines;
  • Do so in a way that makes economic sense for the company and meets the business obligations to the shareholders.

 

Most of our property in north Kitsap County has been and currently is managed for timber production.  This activity has served our community well by providing jobs and tax revenue for almost 160 years.  Like other kinds of agricultural lands, our tree farm is highly subject to land use patterns on surrounding properties.  More than 80,000 people now live in north Kitsap County and the population growth is projected to continue.  As more and more people move into the area around our lands, the ability to continue as a commercial forestry operation becomes more challenging.

 

We have long stated that as part of the process of leaving north Kitsap County, we would be open to working collaboratively with the county, environmental groups, local tribes and other major stakeholders to develop a mutually beneficial plan that would preserve significant amounts of these forestlands and shorelines into perpetuity.

 

We backed up these statements by developing and advocating concepts that would assist the public in acquiring and preserving more than 7,000 acres of land in north Kitsap County.  In 2010, recognizing that there is very little public funding for land acquisition, we proposed the North Kitsap Legacy Partnership (NKLP), which would enable the public to acquire these lands in exchange for revised development rights in Port Gamble.

 

The North Kitsap Legacy Partnership was the first step to ensuring Port Gamble's survival and future prosperity while creating thousands of acres of open space and trails for the public to enjoy - a true win-win for the public and the company.  Similar ideas have been successfully implemented elsewhere to acquire and preserve public lands, not only in Washington State but broadly throughout the United States.

 

Unfortunately in 2010, upon the exit of our Kitsap County Commissioner, the NKLP dissolved.  OPG and Pope felt that we would be going out on our own and renamed the project the North Kitsap Legacy Project.  Even though it was no longer a "partnership" we felt strongly that it was still a project that was alive and well.

 

Through a massive effort 2011 was very productive in partnering with Forterra to find funding to purchase the nearly 7,000 acres of Pope's North Kitsap Lands.  On September 28, 2011, Pope signed an 18-month Option Agreement with Forterra.

 

Since 2011, a very active group entitled the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition was formed.  This is a diverse group of varied interests that formed to save Pope's North Kitsap Lands by investigating funding sources for the purchase of the land for conservation.  The project has since changed it's name once again to the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project.

 

We pride ourselves on our commitment to the communities we live in and our stewardship of the land.  We will continue to be open minded to new concepts and ideas as we move forward toward our long-stated objective of divesting our properties in north Kitsap County, but we need to be proactive in ensuring that our company's needs are met.

 

For information about Pope's plans for leaving Kitsap County, please see "What will the future be?" section of this website.

 

The milestones section of this website includes specifics about milestone dates for Pope's presence in Kitsap County.