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Timber rights in WA

 
Ann Copperowl
Posts: 13
Location: Western WA and Okanogan Highlands
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Does anyone have knowledge of timber rights issues, law, concepts, etc., in Washington State? Or is there a decent book, website, class, or other resource that I might access?

I have undeveloped, wooded land in Eastern WA for which I do not own the timber rights. The rights are "owned in perpetuity" by a corporation which no longer exists (bankrupt and dissolved). No one can find the principals of the defunct corporation. I've been actively trying for three years -- it's a long story. I'm beginning to think I'm being taken for a ride by my lawyer who has been less than helpful despite charging some juicy fees.

I want to protect the trees on the land from being logged. Since I haven't been able to find someone who admits to being the owner of the timber rights so I can purchase them, I'm hoping that I can either acquire them another way, or else set up the property so that it would be impossible or inconvenient to log. I've heard rumors that it is not legal in WA to log within a certain distance of "a structure" but don't know the precise details of that rule -- if it is indeed true.

Any informed ideas, advice, or resources?
 
Bill Kearns
Posts: 159
Location: E Washington steppe
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I had very good dealings with attorney Ann Forest Burns regarding a timber trespass issue.

http://lawyers.justia.com/lawyer/ann-forest-burns-814330

Burns is a forestry policy consultant and former associate professor of forest policy and law at the University of Washington.


However ... http://www.rhinelanderdailynews.com/articles/2007/06/22/community/comm90.txt although she doesn't show up on the website?  http://www.timberpa.com/ (look under "contact"

It still might be in your benefit to try contacting Ann for recommendations on obtaining competent assistance.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3351
Location: woodland, washington
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ever figure this out?  9anda1f's referral sounds pretty good.

if you can't get in touch with her, you might try Deston Denniston.  he's not a lawyer, but he does seem to know his way around a lot of timber issues.  and his eyebrows will blow your mind.
 
Ann Copperowl
Posts: 13
Location: Western WA and Okanogan Highlands
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Thanks, folks! I'll be seeing my original "Land Law" attorney tomorrow. Following that I'll make a decision about contacting the other two people -- I expect I will be doing so. It's all a huge can-o-worms which is getting more interesting (and expensive) all the time. Maybe when it's all over I can write a book. Keeping a sense of humor helps.

When I learn more, I'll post here. It may just help someone else, too.
 
Ann Copperowl
Posts: 13
Location: Western WA and Okanogan Highlands
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The resolution to this issue was to file a "Quiet Title" action against the bankrupt company (Golden Phoenix Trading). The court insisted that we try to contact the principals (which of course I'd been trying to do for years). We tried to officially serve the bankrupt company with the papers, of course with no luck. Back to the court, and they allowed us to attempt service via publication in the local weekly paper. Six weeks and an enormous fee later, no one had responded. Back to the court, and the judge eventually granted the Quiet Title to grant me the timber rights. Then it had to be filed, and finally I am the owner of record of my timber rights. My attorney said it would not be necessary for me to get another title insurance policy unless I was planning to sell the land.

It took over three years, constantly keeping tabs on an attorney, and spending several thousand dollars, but now I am the only one who can legally log my land. That won't stop poachers, but it makes me feel a little better. If anyone else is in the same situation, contact me and I'll give the name of the attorney. He eventually got it done, but I hate needing to be a nag. For other people it would go faster, since evidently mine was the first case like this.
 
                        
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Congratulations!
 
                    
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congratulations. Just saw this tread, had I seen it in april I'd have suggested a quick claim- which is alomst the same as what you did, I suspect.  sorry about the leawyers fees. thats the gouge.

I travel some, would love to see what you are stewarding. spent a week in E WA in October, watching tamaracks turn. lovely!
 
Ann Copperowl
Posts: 13
Location: Western WA and Okanogan Highlands
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We looked into a Quit Claim early on. It would not have worked, mostly because you need a signature of the person (or corporate principal) who is quitting the claim. That was the problem -- they cannot be located. Still, they could have sold the timber tights to someone else without my knowledge. That's what I was concerned about.

There's a long story about why Golden Phoenix Trading Inc. is invisible, but I don't want to go into that here. They own the timber rights to a lot of land in that area. I've already been contacted by a few other property owners who have the same problem. One of them had several acres clear-cut, and doesn't want that to happen to the rest.

The general area is in the uplands north of Wauconda WA, and south of the Canadian border. It's not recommended to go in the back-country up there without permission, however. People up there tend to be rather, uhm, protective of their land.
 
                            
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copperowl wrote:
I've already been contacted by a few other property owners who have the same problem. One of them had several acres clear-cut, and doesn't want that to happen to the rest.



DNR may be able to help a bit with the clear cutting as a certain number of trees need to be left or mandatory replanting is required. That doesn't put back all of the tall trees however.

The general area is in the uplands north of Wauconda WA, and south of the Canadian border. It's not recommended to go in the back-country up there without permission, however. People up there tend to be rather, uhm, protective of their land.



That's tactful
 
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