Paying for Lynx Habitat at Loomis Forest

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 2000

The Canada lynx was added to the U.S. endangered species list in 2000. One of the five areas of “critical habitat” for the animal was Loomis State Forest in Washington, where up to half of the cats in that state were thought to live. Most of that forest was trust land managed by the state, with the proceeds from timber sales going to schools to pay for the education of local children. In 1998 the state of Washington offered to end timber sales on the land if conservationists could raise sufficient funds—within one year—to compensate the schools for loss of this lumbering revenue. A local campaign was launched to raise $13 million in donations from private individuals and foundations. Just as the campaign reached its goal, via 3,500 donations large and small, the estimate of the fair market value of the lumber in the forest increased to $16.5 million. Seattle philanthropist Paul Allen then stepped forward to contribute the extra amount. The proceeds upon closing went directly into the school trust fund to benefit education, and the state redesignated the forest as a natural resource conservation area, allowing it to be managed as a wild area to benefit the lynx rather than for timbering.

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