Nason Ridge Community Forest
Nason Ridge is a highly visible, forested mountainside above Lake Wenatchee that is used year-round for recreation and forms a dominant part of the Lake Wenatchee viewshed. The property provides important fish and wildlife habitat and includes over two miles of Nason Creek, a critical salmon spawning stream and a key source of cold water for the Wenatchee River.
On April 14, 2022, Nason Ridge became a Community Forest when Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) transferred the 3,714-acre property on Lake Wenatchee to Chelan County. This historic achievement is the result of a four-year effort by WRC, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Chelan County and local community members.
In 2018, WRC negotiated a deal with Weyerhaeuser to purchase the property. It then joined forces with CDLT, Chelan County and the local community to raise funds to permanently protect Nason Ridge by conveying it to a steward that could keep the property intact and in public hands forever.
Following WRC’s purchase of Nason Ridge, the partners needed to raise $6 million to pay for the conveyance of the property to Chelan County and to underwrite its stewardship as a community forest and public recreation area. Together, CDLT, WRC and local community members raised over $1 million in private funds through the Save Nason Ridge Campaign. The partners then spearheaded an effort to raise the remaining funds through a variety of public and private sources, including $3 million from the Washington State Community Forest Program and the remainder from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Chelan PUD Tributary Fund, the Grant PUD Priest Rapids Coordinating Committee, the Washington Department of Ecology, private foundations and others.
NASON RIDGE represents:
- Clean, clear water for people and imperiled salmon
- A striking landscape, with breathtaking views from Lake Wenatchee
- A connection to place for families, community and visitors for generations
- A beloved year-round escape for skiing, biking, and exploring
- A real economic benefit, drawing a share of the over $20 billion spent in the pursuit of outdoor recreation in Washington State each year
- An opportunity to protect homes and communities from wildfire by caring for our forests with long-term goals in mind
This land will now be managed for the long-term health of the forest, Lake Wenatchee, and Nason Creek. Any benefits, whether economic, educational, recreational or environmental, would remain local. The land will continue to purify the water that flows into our waterways. The trail system cherished by so many will remain. Lake Wenatchee's breathtaking views are protected forever.
Save Nason Ridge Campaign - 2018
Nason Ridge is many things to many people. It’s a place to hike or mountain bike in the summer. It’s a place to ski in winter. It’s part of a cherished natural landscape rising above Lake Wenatchee. And it’s a part of the natural balance of Lake Wenatchee, the Wenatchee River and Nason Creek.
Nason Ridge was also a property that was slated for timber harvest. Petition signers grabbed the attention of Weyerhaeuser in the summer of 2017, stopping the road-building process. In 2017-2018, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust partnered with Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) to help WRC buy and conserve this critical property. The volunteer fundraising team worked tirelessly to reach out to their friends and neighbors to let them know about this opportunity. The long list of endorsers who were willing to lend their names amplified the campaign.
The campaign was a huge success - surpassing our $1 million goal! Western Rivers Conservancy held the land as interim owner, allowing for public use and enjoyment of the property while they identified the permanent steward of the land.
A forest plan, developed by our community, would determine how best to manage the land. A draft plan was crafted in the fall of 2019, and was delivered to the legislature for their potential action in 2020.
Together, our community has ensured that Nason Ridge is protected for fish, wildlife and people, forever. And of course, a huge thank you to all who gave – you made this possible. Thank you.
Ray Aspiri, co-chair | Rob Shurtleff, co-chair | Jeff Thiel, co-chair
Mary Gallagher • Tim Gallagher • Bill Miller • Eric Prestbo • Chris Stahler
SAVE NASON RIDGE CAMPAIGN ENDORSERS
Paul & Dodie Gray • Rick Halstead • John Hempelmann • Ralph Munro • Kahler Glen Community Association • Rob McKenna • NCW Audubon • Doug & Lois Pendleton • Sam Reed • Dave Saugen, Tall Timber Ranch • Slade Gorton • Rollie & Barbara Schmitten • Rob Whitten, Plain Hardware • George & Jimi Wilson
$125,000 and above
Aspiri Family at Cobwebs
$100,000 to $124,999
Rich & Martha Draves
$40,000 to $99,999
Michael & Linda Addleman
Chris & Mimi Stahler
$20,000 to $39,999
Cleve & Judith Borth
The Burg Family
Jennifer Cast & Liffy Franklin
Tim & Mary Gallagher
Peter Goldman & Martha Kongsgaard
Helen & Adam Harmetz
Rex & Sandi Lund
Prestbo Clan for the grandkids
Harold & Ulla Olsson
Jeff Thiel & Bettijean Collins
Olaf & Eloise Wagner
George & Jimi Wilson
$10,000 to $19,999
Bill & Becky Ballantine
Fred & Barbara Bockenstedt
Tim Carver & Maia Suhr
Steve & Kelly Craig-match pledge
Ralph & Judy Leslie
Ken & Christel Longley
Bob & Pat Ogburn-match pledge
Tina & Eliot Scull-match pledge
Bill & Alee Spencer
Seth & Gina Walton
Young Family Lake Wenatchee
$5,000 to 9,999
Kathy & Rich Bray
Hugh & Nicole Chang
Cary Ecker & Regina Terranova
Jerry Ellefson & Donna Parker
Wally & Anne Gibbons
Dana & Shane Kim
Shaun, Kathleen & Kari Koos
Nancy & Bill Miller
Neville & JoAnne Moody
Dean Pettit & Kimberly Burton
Nason Ridge was originally part of the territory of the P'Squosa (Wenatchi) people. After becoming part of the United States, the land was owned by the federal government, then granted to Great Northern Railway in a checkboard pattern as an incentive to bring rail transportation to the West. Just prior to the Great Depression, the land was sold to Schmitten Lumber Company, who left the land unlogged.
1973: Schmitten Lumber Company was bought by Pack River Lumber Company and the checkerboard pattern was consolidated in land exchanges with the US Forest Service.
Post-1973: The land changed ownership and was logged multiple times after 1973, and was eventually owned by Longview Fibre.
2000: Chelan-Douglas Land Trust mediates a compromise to improve forest health.
In the spring of 2000, Longview Fibre announced plans to harvest 310 acres of timber on Nason Ridge. The proposed harvest alarmed Lake Wenatchee property owners who feared that the aesthetic, environmental, and recreational qualities at Lake Wenatchee would be compromised.
Lake Wenatchee residents sought the Land Trust’s help to protect Nason Ridge from the proposed harvest. CDLT helped to mediate a compromise between Longview Fibre and the Friends of Lake Wenatchee Forests. As a result, Longview substantially modified their harvest plans to address the local concerns. Longview’s positive, responsible approach to addressing citizen concerns was an outstanding example of how a conflict can become a win-win situation if both sides are willing to listen, learn, and find common ground.
2008-2010: CDLT and Trust for Public Land attempt to purchase Nason Ridge.
After being purchased by Brookfield Asset Management in 2007, Longview Fibre put 3700+ acres up for auction as part of their plan to divest of eastern Washington holdings. Concerned local citizens contacted the Land Trust. The property was not sold at auction, but remained on the market. From 2008-2010, the Land Trust convened community members, conservation organizations and stakeholders including the State Park seeking negotiations to purchase the property in a phased and piecemeal approach.
2009: Longview pulled out of negotiations and attempted to sell the property through auction again, with a desire to sell the land as an entire unit. The property did not sell at auction.
2012: The property was again offered by auction in July, but not sold.
2013: Weyerhaeuser acquires Longview Timber LLC in July, thereby acquiring Nason Ridge.
2015: CDLT begins Upper Wenatchee Community Lands Plan and identifies Nason Ridge as a priority for protection.
August 2017: Weyerhauser acquires a permit to log almost all the trees on 210 acres on the slope above Lake Wenatchee.
Nearby landowners – concerned about views, unstable slopes, impact on water quality, and the severity of the harvest, started a petition to express concerns about the proposed logging. Weyerhaeuser listened, and agreed to pause the timber harvest and allow some time to craft a permanent conservation outcome for the property. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Western Rivers Conservancy began working towards purchasing the property.