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CLC honors Duane Weston
EVERETT Duane Weston, of Arlington, was one of two guests of honor when more than 450 people gathered at the Everett Events Center,
Nov. 15, for the Cascade Land Conservancys fifth Snohomish County Conservation Awards breakfast.
Weston received the Phil and Laura Zalesky Lifetime Achievement Award along with Cliff Bailey, of Snohomish. Another award, the Cascade Agenda Leadership Award, was presented to Congressman Rick Larsen for his efforts in creating the Wild Sky Wilderness area in the Skykomish River watershed. Legislation to create the Wild Sky Wilderness Area won unanimous passage in the House earlier this year through the leadership of Larsen and others. However, the legislation has been blocked by a vote in the Senate.
Weston received the award for his efforts in the world of forestry and Bailey was acknowledged for a life of agriculture-related service. Indeed, forestry and agriculture were common themes in the large gathering of conservationists. The breakfast raised more than $95,000 to further the work of the conservancy, which links conservation to the need for livable cities with vibrant economies.
Speaking on behalf of the need for jobs and a strong economy at the same time as preserving the natural environment, Bob Drewel stepped in at the last minute for the president of the Snohomish County Economic Development Council, Deborah Knutson, who was absent due to the death of her mother.
We can get more done together than we can working separately, Drewel said. Now Executive Director of the Puget Sound Regional Council and former Snohomish County Executive, Drewel told the audience that the Cascade Land Conservancy and the PSRC both have similar missions in that they both work with a wide number of groups, governments and organizations for the betterment of the region.
The audience and program reflected the awareness that business and industry are essential participants in preserving the environment.
Even Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson made an appearance both on film and in person. She spoke on behalf of the need to preserve farmland on one of several films created for the event.
I always like to say, if its not good for the farmers, its not good for us, Larson said in the film. She and some of the Arlington City Council members joined Arlingtons natural resource manager Bill Blake at the breakfast.
The planning of the event was a good illustration of putting your money where your mouth is 98 percent of the breakfast meal was supplied from locally produced food including eggs, potatoes, bacon, and fruit, with squashes as centerpieces on the tables. The only item on the menu not grown locally was the oranges for orange juice and the coffee beans, although they were roasted locally.
Founded in 1989, The Cascade Land Conservancy is a regional land trust operating in Washington state with headquarters in Seattle and principal offices in King, Kittitas, Mason, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The CLC has conserved more than 140,000 acres of working forests, farmlands and natural areas.
In 2005 it launched the Cascade Agenda, which links conserving great lands with creating great communities. The Cascade Agenda is the CLCs vision of how our region will grow in the next 100 years as our population doubles calling for the conservation of 1.3 million acres of working forests and agricultural lands as well as urban parks and greenways.
The Phil and Laura Zalesky Lifetime Achievement Award is the CLCs most honored award. It was named after the Zaleskys when they received the first one for their work in the creation of the North Cascade National Park and many years of work in the Snohomish County region.
Weston said he hopes the award will help him accomplish his goals of preserving forestlands.
Ive dedicated 40 years to reforestation and I am concerned about the impact of future growth on the resource, Weston said.
If we dont find a way to keep lands available to grow timber, then we will be sorry. Weston said, adding that he would not like to see steel replace timber as a construction material.
It costs a lot more to process steel and its not a renewable resource, he noted.
Weston has spent most of his career as chief forester of the Pilchuck Tree Farm, north of Arlington. Although he retired in 2001, he remains president and chief forester at the Pacific Denkmann Co. and Pilchuck Tree Farm. He is a member of the Washington Forest Protection Association and was named Washington States 1992-93 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. He continues his involvement with Snohomish County as a member of the countys Forestry Advisory Committee for growth management and the Agriculture and Economic Development Action Team.
Early this year we put forward a recommendation to the county that they adopt a Transfer of Development Rights for timberlands as well as agriculture lands, Weston said.
He acknowledges one important mistake in the early stages of planning for growth.
One thing we forgot to do is designate areas for processing, he said. Now timber industries are being driven out of the cities and have a difficult time finding a place to relocate, Weston said.
Weston currently is the chair of Washington Tree Farm Program and serves on Washington State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee.
Westons fellow prizewinner, Cliff Bailey, is a retired dairy farmer from Snohomish. The Bailey family has operated Bailand Farms for almost a century. Bailey is a former Snohomish County Commissioner and County Council member. Beginning in 1995, he represented the 39th Legislative District for two terms in the Washington State Senate. After accepting the award, Bailey called on the audience to continue to work for the conservation of forests and farmlands urging all in the room including elected officials to support the idea of the Transfer of Development Rights program.
For more information about CLC, visit the Web sites at www.cascadeland.org and www.cascadeagenda.com.