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Island Center Forest thinning and harvest designed to improve landscape’s health

To help build a healthier forest, King County is hiring a contractor to selectively thin 38 acres of young, over-crowded Douglas fir trees, and also to harvest 20 acres of mature and dying alder trees from the 408-acre Island Center Forest on Vashon Island.
The work is scheduled to get under way in mid to late September, and will likely run through October. In order to protect public safety, trails in or leading to active harvest and thinning areas will be closed to public access.
The location and duration of these trail closures will be posted at trailheads and appropriate intersections. Other than those trails leading into the active logging areas, all other trails of Island Center Forest will be open for the duration of the logging operation.
Logging operations will be curtailed if the work isn’t done before the Oct. 12 start of the 20-day limited deer hunting season.
Interested citizens are invited to take a guided tour of the thinning and harvest areas on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. Staff from King County and the Vashon Forest Stewards will lead the tour, which begins at the Cemetery Trailhead on 115th Avenue Southwest.
The main goal of the tree-removal work is to improve forest health and increase future biodiversity. Thinning trees increases the growth rate of the most desirable, large trees, and it increases the forest’s value as fish and wildlife habitat. The economic value of the alder will be captured through the harvest, and the forest’s diversity will be improved by replacing the harvested trees with cedar, hemlock and Douglas fir seedlings early next year.
Island Center Forest is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the nation’s most demanding forest-certification program, as a sustainably managed forest. The certification means trees harvested from the forest can carry the FSC label, a voluntary, market-based system similar to organic certification for farmers or food processors.
King County awarded the logging contract to Erickson Logging, Inc. of Gig Harbor. The sale of the trees will generate an estimated $23,000 in funds that King County will use for the ongoing management of this and other King County-owned forestlands.
The work implements recommendations from the site’s 2006 Forest Stewardship
For more information about the thinning and harvest work, contact Bill Loeber, at 206-296-7821, or For general information about Island Center Forest, contact Scott Snyder at 206-618-4036, or