Owners of Dewatto Bay tideland property take state to court – Kitsap Sun

A disturbing situation in Dewatto. I have been by this beautiful estuary on a couple of occasions and would never have thought it was owned by the State, and apparently there is significant doubt about that. This story is sort of pitting the old Hood Canal community against the modern DNR, which is trying to establish an aquatic reserve in Dewatto. “Proposed Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area” While I supported this effort when I first heard of it, I had no idea it was embroiled in a lawsuit/land battle with homeowners and neighbors. DNR should not be fighting this battle. The owners do not want to sell, and the property has been privately owned since at least the 1930s. There is extensive records from the owners proving title to the land. Ms. Franz ought to back off this issue. It is a no win situation, that will only harm future efforts to create aquatic reserves. While I’m sorry that the state does not have the opportunity to create the reserve here, the case that owners present is quite compelling.

It was the start of a love affair. These are words that Marlene Iddings, 86, uses to describe the tideland property she and her late husband, Lloyd, purchased at Dewatto Bay in 1959…. The Iddings family has been entangled in a lawsuit with the state Department of Natural Resources since 2015, with both parties claiming ownership of more than 7 acres of tidelands. The suit is set to go to trial in Mason County Superior Court this spring, though a Kitsap County judge will preside over the case since Mason County judges have recused themselves. Joining the Iddings are nearly 20 other landowners whose properties would be directly impacted by the outcome of the case, since the state has proposed leaving the Iddings with about a 3-acre slice of tidelands that would domino into their neighbors’ properties. The implications of the case extend beyond Dewatto Bay. In court filings, the state has noted that if the court finds that the Iddings have legal title to the tidelands, the state can still take them without compensating the Iddings, since for decades the public has harvested on those tidelands. Arla Shepherd Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2019/02/02/owners-dewatto-bay-tideland-property-take-state-court/2715700002/

DNR Proposes Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area

In an effort to protect some of the last remaining high quality lowland shorelines on the east side of the Hood Canal, the State Department of Natural Resources has proposed creation of a new conservation area. This was done in discussion with the Trust for Public Land, The Great Peninsula Conservancy and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. Those of you who have driven the North Shore road, from around the south end of the Canal from Belfair, will remember that as you start north from the SW point you encounter a beautiful estuary that is very lightly inhabited. That’s Dewatto Bay.

The state will eventually offer fair market value to landowners if this goes through. However there is no requirement that landowners sell. The state has used this kind of process to secure land for perpetuity in other locations including here on the Olympic Peninsula.

The proposed Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) seeks protection for approximately five miles of Hood Canal shoreline, including Dewatto Bay and Little Dewatto Bay. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with our partners at the Trust for Public Land, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, and Great Peninsula Conservancy, are proposing a 1,700 acre NRCA to ensure conservation of important Hood Canal features for enjoyment by future generations: Lowland forests, high-functioning riparian areas, and vital nearshore and estuary habitat for fish and wildlife.

DNR manages NRCAs for conservation, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreation uses. An NRCA designation does not change local land-use zoning, permitted land uses, or development code requirements, and it imposes no new restrictions on landowners.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conducted two public information meetings on June 26th and June 28th in Dewatto and Belfair concerning the proposal of the Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). Staff from DNR’s natural areas program will hold a public hearing and a public comment period later this summer to provide information and receive testimony on the proposed boundary.

View the Proposed Dewatto NRCA Factsheet and Proposed Dewatto NRCA Boundary Map.

For more information, contact

Katie Woolsey

Natural Areas Manager

206-375-3558

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