In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 11: Forestry 101.
Managing a 21+ acre heavily wooded site posed great challenges in terms of forestry management, site preparation, and short and long-term planning. After taking ownership of our site, it quickly became apparent that some immediate healing was required in order to restore the forest to its optimum health. In addition to taking over an existing forest management plan and evolving the program for the site, we reached out to a King County forest project manager who has both guided and educated us throughout the entire process. As part of our plan we designated a number of acres under forest management, meaning that the land cannot be developed and that the owners maintain and manage those acres according to a prescribed ten-year plan.
We also worked with our forest project manager to determine the alloted acreage we'd set aside for actual development of our residence. This entire process required a lot of patience, as there are multiple jurisdictions within the county monitoring forest practices. Our site presented some challenges due to existing road access, a steep slope, and specific setbacks required by the county. As such, we ended up hiring various forestry experts and contractors to help regulate and supervise any clearing, thinning or limbing of trees.