October 2, 2008

Camas Will Buy 55-Acre ‘Gem’


The city of Camas soon will be in position to conserve a large natural area at the northeast edge of Prune Hill near Fallen Leaf Park.

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board last week approved a $500,000 federal grant to help Camas buy 55 acres on a forested slope near Fallen Leaf Park and Dead Lake, which the city recognizes as Fallen Leaf Lake.

The land is owned by Georgia-Pacific Corp.

"This fits right in with what we call the Lacamas corridor," said Lloyd Halverson, the Camas city administrator. "It's a gem. It's a beautiful, beautiful site."

The grant comes through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and state officials said it still must be approved by the National Park Service.

"It's basically a done deal," said Susan Zemek, communications manager for the state board. "Essentially, it's funded, but it could be several months down the road."

Halverson said the city is working with Georgia-Pacific to negotiate a deal, but Camas first will commission a new property appraisal. Situated between the lake, existing park land and homes on Prune Hill, the area is zoned for residential development and part of it could be developed as future home sites.

Columbia Land Trust owns 50 acres of steeply forested hillside nearby, Halverson said.

The 55 acres owned by GP includes shoreline, forested uplands and wetlands, he said. It's next to Fallen Leaf Park, where the city maintains open space and a ball field.

Originally published by ERIK ROBINSON Columbian staff writer.

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