MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Washington state land officials have approved a land transfer to help conservation groups protect recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain.

The Skagit-Valley Herald reports that the state Board of Natural Resources granted the approval Tuesday for the 2.5-square-mile (6.5-square-kilometer) area known as the Blanchard Core, which includes popular trails, campgrounds and lakes.

Land officials say the transfer would be paid for with $10 million allocated by the state Legislature in 2018 to become a state natural area.

The transfer would be completed by putting sections of the Blanchard Core into the Common School Trust program, then paying the program the $9.2 million value of timber on that land.

Officials say the $626,000 value of the land would be used to purchase new forest lands elsewhere in the state.

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Information from: Skagit Valley Herald, http://www.skagitvalleyherald.com

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