Neighbors fight proposed clear cut of 40 acres on Camano Island

CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. - A plan to cut down 40 acres of trees on Camano Island has a community outraged.

Landowner Lucy Huang has filed a permit, that if approved by the Department of Natural Resources, will clear cut 40 acres of trees and displace wildlife, with limited input from local authorities or neighbors.

"We didn't even know about this until I would say about a week ago," says Steve Kilcup, island resident.

Kilcup found out about the proposal when a neighbor called to say there was a man surveying the area, just days before a brief public comment period closed.

"He said 'Well, we're surveying the property. We're getting ready to clear cut'," Kilcup says.

DNR says permits are publicly available, but not proactively disseminated. It considers sensitive habitat, and could allow full or limited harvests on undeveloped land re-seeded within 3 years.

The land is privately owned, says Huang who lives in Bellevue. She says she's followed the law, but will work with her logging contractor to address concerns and try to find a mutually agreeable resolution.

Neighbors in the area say they appreciate Huang's willingness to work with them.

"I'm not a treehugger," Kilcup says. "I understand both sides of the fence, but this is a sanctuary that should be kept for a sanctuary."

DNR says the profit for Huang depends on the property, but the state sells an average logging truckload of douglas fir for nearly $1,500, and 40 acres could produce many dozens of truckloads.

The state must make a decision on the permit by September 13. DNR says there is an appeal, but it may be only limited.

The appeal itself may not stop the harvest from actually getting started.