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Land Use Ordinances

Forest Lands Conversion (Timber Harvesting for Land Conversion)

The Thurston County Forest Lands Conversion Ordinance, Chapter 17.25 TCC establishes the minimum standards and requirements associated with local government review and jurisdiction over certain timber harvest activities. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR) administers the Forest Practices Act (RCW 76.09). However, Thurston County is responsible for the following forestry related activities:

Class IV forest practices (Conversion of forested lands to other uses, i.e. roads, housing, agriculture etc.) In general a Class IV forest practice permit is required from Thurston County for timber harvest in:

  • Rural Thurston County (areas outside of urban growth areas) when a timber harvest operation removes 5,000 board feet or more from an ownership within a given year and the area is to be converted to another use such as pasture, housing, roads, stormwater ponds etc.
  • Urban Growth Areas (UGAs i.e. Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater etc.) when a timber harvest operation removes timber from a 5,000 square foot area and converts this area to another use such as pasture, housing, roads etc.

Conversion option harvest plans are voluntary plans developed by a landowner and approved by Thurston County, indicating the limits and types of harvest areas, road locations, and open space. This approved plan, when submitted to the Department of Natural Resources as part of the forest practice application and followed by the landowner, maintains the landowner's option to convert to a use other than commercial forest product production (releases the landowner from the six-year moratorium on future development).

Six-year moratorium (development moratorium) is a restriction placed on a parcel as a result of logging conducted as a Class II, III, or certain Class IV Forest Practice permits issued by WA DNR, or for forest practices which were commenced without a Forest Practice permit from either WA DNR or Thurston County.

WA DNR is generally responsible for administering forest practices on larger parcels, and commercial forest lands which are to remain in active timber production i.e. will not be converted to another use such as pasture, housing etc. For more information about obtaining a Forest Practices Permit from DNR, please see DNR's Forest Practices web page.


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Contact Us

Thurston County Building Development Center, 3000 Pacific Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501.
Phone: (360) 786-5490. TTY/TDD call 711 or 1-800-833-6388  E-mail: permit@co.thurston.wa.us.


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