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Friends of Rocky Prairie
We are so very grateful to everyone who came to the Port of Tacoma
meeting on Thursday, June 13, to show and speak their support for saving
Unfortunately, the Port
of Tacoma Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the Purchase and
Sale Agreement with Northpoint development company through August of
2020!, ignoring the pleas of Thurston County citizens to sell the
property to WDFW.
The fight continues.
Please stay tuned....
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Friends of Rocky Prairie
is an all-volunteer group of homeowners and residents in Thurston County,
Washington (including the communities of Maytown and Tenino), concerned about
preserving the rural character and unique prairie habitat in south Thurston
Rocky Prairie is a 745-acre parcel of land located 13 miles south of
Olympia, ½ mile from historic Millersylvania State Park, and next to the
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's 800-acre
West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area.
Rocky Prairie in Danger, Again:
The current owner of Rocky Prairie, the Port of Tacoma, is working with a
Missouri company, NorthPoint, to develop an extensive logistics center on Rocky
Prairie with a projected six million square feet of warehousing, most
probably served by frequent Burlington Northern rail and truck traffic, and
bringing 24/7 noise and light -- right next to a sensitive nature preserve.
This is no place for an industrial hub!
For more information on what this could mean to
our community and what to do about it, see fact sheet
In 2007 and 2008, the Port of Tacoma attempted to establish a similar logistics
center that, but after much citizen protest, the plan was withdrawn by the Port of Tacoma.
At that time, thousands of county residents petitioned to rezone the property to
one house per 20 acres to show how opposed we are to changing the character of
Now the Port and the buyer want to rezone the entire parcel to
Rural Resource Industrial. On May 7, 2019,
the Board of County Commissioners, in a 2 - 1 vote, decided to hold off putting
this rezone on their docket for consideration until next year.
This area has an extremely high water table and is
a critical aquifer. Impervious development and polluting truck/train
traffic would threaten not only the endangered Oregon-spotted Frog and its
sensitive wetlands, but also compromise the aquifer, the integrity of the WDFW
preserve (and its threatened species and priority habitat), and neighbors'
WDFW's West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area includes federally threatened species,
State Priority Species, Mima Mounds, and oak and prairie ecosystems. The site is
slightly southeast of the nearby historic and popular Millersylvania State Park.
It is no place for an industrial hub.
This area has an extremely high water table. Impervious development and
polluting truck/train traffic would threaten not only the endangered
Oregon-spotted Frog and its sensitive wetlands but also compromise the local
aquifer as well as the integrity of the WDFW preserve.
Rocky Prairie is Unique
Rocky Prairie forms a rare habitat matrix unique
to Western Washington. This fragile environment includes rare oak woodland,
wetlands, and native outwash prairie and is home to numerous state and federally
threatened and endangered species. The prairie lies within the important Black
River watershed, an area that
organizational partners have been working for years to protect. Rocky
Prairie also forms the headwaters for two salmon-bearing streams running through
it, and its hydrology is important to hundreds of residents living nearby.
Brief History and Update: The
WA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife,
in conjunction with the Center for
Natural Lands Management and other partners comprising the
Prairie Working Group, spent more than 25 years attempting to acquire the entire 1,650 acres of
valuable habitat. In 2006, approximately 800 acres of Rocky Prairie were
purchased for conservation and restoration purposes, now known as the
West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area Unit.
Also in 2006,
the Port of Tacoma, in cooperation with the Port of Olympia, purchased the
remaining 745 acres of this biologically diverse area to develop the South Sound
Logistic Center (see Background). Their plans
contained numerous possibilities, including a rail-switching yard, chemical
manufacturing plant, solid waste transfer station, warehousing and a
truck-to-rail distribution site. This would have created a massive
24-hour-per-day industrial complex the size of Olympia, and would inundate roads
from Olympia to South Thurston County with 1000’s of trucks and blocked railroad
Friends of Rocky Prairie believed this facility was a serious threat to this
rare prairie environment, to Millersylvania State Park, to the Black River
watershed, and to the rural treasure of South Thurston County.
June of 2008,
pressure from Friends of Rocky Prairie convinced the Ports of Olympia and Tacoma
that the SSLC was not a popular idea in Thurston County.
Friends of Rocky Prairie then began working with state and federal agencies and
non-profit conservation organizations to preserve this unique habitat into the
In April 2010,
the Port of Tacoma sold the property to a southern California developer who
formed a company called Maytown Sand & Gravel.
They attempted to mine the site, but after about a
year they defaulted on their payments to the Port of Tacoma and went out of
Currently, the Port of Tacoma is attempting to
sell the property to NorthPoint Development Company, presumably for another
attempt at a logistics center on this site.
For information and updates, email:
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