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HANCOCK TIMBER RESOURCE GROUP SELLS 2,730 ACRES OF TIMBERLAND TO WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

 OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hancock Timber Resource Group and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have announced the sale, to DNR, of 2,730 acres of Hancock timberland containing the largest high-quality estuary remaining along the northern Pacific coast.
 Brian Boyle, Washington state public lands commissioner, and Mason Browne, regional forester for Hancock, said the sale of the Elk River Estuary in southwestern Grays Harbor will preserve a fragile native ecosystem that is home to threatened and endangered species, as well as fresh water and salt marsh communities.
 The transaction was completed Dec. 30. It was funded by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), which is administered by the Washington Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC), and by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 The site will be managed by DNR as part of the department's Natural Area Preserve system. Elk River will become the gem in this network of state, federal and privately owned preserves dedicated to protecting native species and ecosystems.
 "This is one of the largest single purchases of private land for protection purposes," said Boyle, who thanked Hancock Timber for its cooperation. "It's a great example of how a government agency and private landowner can work together, with each party realizing the other is working for the public interest."
 "The Elk River sale is part of an active stewardship program at Hancock," Browne said. "We recognize that certain timberlands contain valuable resources other than trees. When these resources are identified on our lands, we actively seek buyers who will preserve them for succeeding generations." He said Hancock currently is negotiating the sale of several other western Washington properties to preservation groups.
 The area is a nesting site for bald eagles, a threatened species, and provides a source of food for peregrine falcons, an endangered species. The site provides habitat for many shorebirds and waterfowl as well as elk, deer, juvenile salmonids, non-game birds and amphibians.
 The National Park Service has recommended the site for designation as a National Natural Landmark. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed it as an important site in its National Waterfowl Plan.
 Hancock Timber is the nation's largest manager of timber for institutional investors, with 1.5 million acres in the South and West. It is a unit of Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services.
 -0- 1/8/93
 /CONTACT: Mason Browne of Hancock Timber Resource Group, 206-754-2128; or Sandi Snell of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 206-902-1025; or Bob Sundmacher of The Rockey Co., 206-728-1778, for Hancock Timber Resource Group/


CO: Hancock Timber Resource Group; Washington State Department of
 Natural Resources; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ST: Washington IN: PAP SU:


LM-JH -- SE001 -- 3059 01/08/93 13:10 EST
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Date:Jan 8, 1993
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