The FWSR Board has filed its first appeal of a land use action to Superior Court. All prior FWSR appeals have been administrative appeals through the Klickitat County Planning Department and County Commissioner process.

For Immediate Release. January 13, 2011

Trout Lake, Washington – Friends of the White Salmon River (FWSR), a non-profit conservation group based in Klickitat County, has filed suit in Superior Court to challenge Klickitat County’s approval of a subdivision on an 83.5 acre parcel in the White Salmon River watershed. The subdivision is occurring in an area zoned for resource land use and which has a threatened population of western gray squirrels. The suit alleges that the County failed to demonstrate that there was any “public need” for additional rural subdivisions that would justify development of high quality farm and forest land. It also claims that the County ignored cumulative impacts from the developers’ plans for adjacent development projects and prior land divisions of questionable legality, though not questioned by the County. The suit comes at a time when the County is considering a major zoning revision that would open up hundreds of acres of land along the White Salmon River in the BZ/ Husum area to expanded residential development.

“If our County is going to have viable farm and timber operations 20 years from now, it is not going to happen by accident,” says FWSR’s Chairperson Pat Arnold. “The developers in this case have recorded covenants for residential uses on the entire 300+ acre Lyon’s Ranch. The County needs to consider the impact of such a significant loss in farm and forest land before letting the horses out of the barn. The responsible County officials cannot just look at the most recent short plat as an isolated project.”

“The White Salmon River Valley has huge importance for our region because of its scenic, recreational and wildlife values, as well as its role in the local economy. It may be easier for Klickitat County to approve any development project that comes along, but there is nothing to support the conclusion that further residential development of prime resource lands would benefit the public more than preserving farm and forest lands for their long-term values.”

Friends of the White Salmon River was formed in 1976 with the mission of protecting the environmental, natural resource, and recreational values of the entire White Salmon River watershed.