Washington fish and wildlife overseers signed off on the purchase of another 1,050 acres in eastern Klickitat County last weekend.
WDFW is buying the rich mix of timberlands and open ground in the Simcoe Mountains from Western Pacific Timber for an appraised price of $851,000.
When the multiphase buy is completed, the agency will own 18,745 acres of the timber company’s land northeast of Goldendale and southeast of Satus Pass, in the headwaters of Rock Creek.
Land manager Cynthia Wilkerson called it “prime wildlife habitat” that’s home to mule deer, among other critters, and will continue to be grazed and logged, which won support from the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners.
Funding comes from the legislature’s Capital Budget, and the state Recreation and Conservation Office lists the project among its most highly ranked in terms of critical habitat.
All said and done, it will more than double the size of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
After WDFW began buying the property a couple years ago it was initially open for general season deer hunters, but this season went to permit only, with three buck tags available for rifle, muzzleloader and archery hunters (nine total), plus two antlerless permits for modern firearms.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission also authorized the purchase of 142 acres in Kittitas County between the Wenas and LT Murray Wildlife Areas for $1,000 an acre.
And it returned 2 acres of land in Chelan County to the Douglas County Public Utility District as PUD takes over control of the Wells Hatchery from WDFW in the wake of an investigation into poor behavior by state employees there.