By STEVE BROWN
Four tree farms are vying to be honored as the state Tree Farmer of the Year, which will be named at the April 26 meeting of the Washington Farm Forestry Association.
The American Tree Farm System, which includes 29 million acres of privately owned forest land nationwide, has established standards for property to become certified tree farms. Private forest landowners must create a management plan based on strict environmental standards and pass an inspection every five years.
Tree farmers of the year are chosen for their conservation efforts, outreach in the community and advocacy for sustainable forest management.
Nominated for the statewide award are:
* Hillcrest Tree Farm, a 146-acre tree farm in Lewis County owned by Dale and Marilyn Tracy.
* Kristoferson Farm LLC, a 100-acre tree farm on Camano Island owned by Mona Kristoferson Campbell, on property her family has owned for 100 years.
* Miller Tree Farm, 83 acres in Thurston and Grays Harbor counties owned by Ken and Bonnie Miller.
* Woodpecker Tree Farm, a 64-acre tree farm in Kitsap County owned by Gerald Reitan.
The winning state tree farmers will compete on the regional level, then regional judges select four regional winners. The final four will attend the annual National Tree Farmer Convention, where they will detail their sustainable forestry work during a panel discussion.