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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Forestry instruction available

Owners of forestland can earn tax breaks while learning how to keep their trees healthy through a stewardship training class being offered by Washington State University Extension and the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Courses begin next week in Spokane, Colville and Twisp. The six-week course meets once weekly and costs $95, but WSU Extension Agent Emily Burt said the class cost is typically much less than the price of a stewardship plan from a private forestry consultant. The plans are required to obtain state tax breaks offered for private forestland.

In Ferry County, for example, private forest owners save nearly $1.2 million annually by using forest management plans to qualify their land as designated forestland, Burt said, citing statistics from county Assessor Rachael Siracuse.

The class covers all the basics of forestry, including reading property descriptions, understanding forest ecology, soil conservation, watershed protection and improving wildlife habitat.

“It’s a synopsis of a forestry degree,” Burt said.

Burt said the class will feature enough technical information to keep even seasoned property owners awake, but she said it could be especially helpful to the many newcomers to the Inland Northwest who have purchased forested property. Neglect is typically not the best way to keep a forest green, she said.

“People move to a forested property because they love forest,” Burt said. “But they don’t always understand what will keep it healthy and scenic.”