Public Access to Hood Canal Forests Expanded

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Rayonier, today announced the permanent protection of more than 2,100 acres in the Dewatto Headwaters Forest along Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula. The newly protected working forest will continue to provide myriad benefits to the region. 

Located an hour west of downtown Seattle, Hood Canal is a popular destination for people looking to get outside, drawing millions of visitors each year. In this quickly growing region, protecting places like this is vital to ensuring everyone can have great outdoor experiences. The Dewatto Forest also helps filter and clean drinking water for the Puget Sound region while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, creating a healthier future for the region. 

“During this current pandemic we have seen just how vital it is for everyone’s mental and physical well-being to have access to great outdoor experiences,” said Richard Corff, Washington director of land conservation for The Trust for Public Land. “This newly protected land will be an exceptional place where folks in the region can get outside, while also providing a unique solution to sustaining local economies. We are thankful to Rayonier, the U.S. Navy and DNR for their partnership and especially grateful to the Washington congressional delegation for understanding the importance of this work and providing unwavering support to all the partners involved.” 

This project was made possible through the support of the Federal Forest Legacy program, funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and the Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program. 

“The recently completed project at Dewatto Headwaters Forest builds on our long-standing conservation partnership with the Trust for Public Land and Washington Department of Natural Resources,” said Navy Capt. Rich Rhinehart, Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer. “Through this partnership, the Navy is able to buffer critical military operating areas in Hood Canal and protect valuable habitat and water resources. Our partners are also better able to meet their goals and protect significant areas throughout Hood Canal. This project is the first using Forest Legacy grant funding with our DOD REPI funds. The opportunity to protect large sectors of working forest for the people of Washington State while also benefiting Navy readiness represents a significant accomplishment; we appreciate the dedicated work of our partners.” 

“The outdoors are a treasure for all Washingtonians, and I am excited to see this expansion of public access to the forests along Hood Canal,” said commissioner of public lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “With this conservation agreement, present and future generations will both be able to enjoy this scenic landscape around Puget Sound.” 

“Rayonier is proud to work with the U.S. Navy, The Trust for Public Land, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to protect 2,100 acres of working forests,” said David L. Nunes, Rayonier president and CEO.  “We have placed more than 200,000 acres in conservation across the U.S. in projects like this, which demonstrate how we can sustain rural jobs and support local economies while protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, and areas with high conservation value.” 

The Dewatto area is an important piece of The Trust for Public Land’s broader efforts around the northern Olympic Peninsula to protect the region’s forests and support the community’s vision for sustainable growth and economic vitality. Working alongside DNR, Rayonier, and the U.S. Navy, The Trust for Public Land has permanently conserved 2,158 acres of Dewatto Forest. This success is the first of a multi-phased effort that will ultimately protect well over 10,000 acres. 

“As a longtime advocate for protecting and maintaining our state’s vital natural resources, I’m so glad to see the Dewatto Headwaters Forest preserved for generations to come,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray.  “I will keep fighting in the Senate to conserve our precious habitats for Washingtonians to enjoy now and into the future.” 

“We must protect our forests throughout the Pacific Northwest to ensure future generations are able to enjoy the same recreation opportunities we have today,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to protecting public lands, clean air, and clean water throughout our country. The Dewatto Headwater Forest Legacy project will protect a total of 11,467 acres of forests on Hood Canal – it’s a perfect example of why I fought to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF.”  

“Protecting over 2,100 acres of working forestlands on Hood Canal will support public recreation and regional timber jobs, which are both major contributors to our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer. “I was proud to help secure funding to help make this project a reality – and I’m excited that our region is making progress in our effort to conserve our public lands while supporting local economies.” 


About The Trust for Public Land   

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit 


About Rayonier 
Rayonier (NYSE:RYN) is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand.  We own, lease or manage approximately 2.7 million acres of timberlands. We are More than trees because we recognize that our 90+ years of success in the timberland industry comes from our people, an empowering culture and the courage to constantly challenge “the way it’s always been done.” Get to know us at