County to buy land to protect rare peat bog from development

MALTBY — Snohomish County leaders moved Wednesday to buy land around a rare peat bog where a developer earlier planned to build luxury homes.

The County Council unanimously voted to buy Hooven Bog for $1.6 million. The deal includes pasture land to the west that had been used for access. Along with the land acquisition, the agreement includes a developer dropping his court case seeking damages from the county over permit delays.

“If the county really wants this, I think that’s the best use,” developer Rodney Loveless said earlier this week.

Randy Whalen, a neighbor who has led efforts to protect the wetland, was overjoyed.

“I’m glad to see it happen,” Whalen said. “It could have been much longer if we had (to) go through grants and go outside the county.”

Whalen had sued to stop the county from issuing grading permits for the project. Earlier this year, the state Court of Appeals agreed to review a Superior Court judge’s decision in favor of the developer.

Loveless, 88, of Kenmore, bought the property in the 1970s. For about 30 years, he and his business partner, Robert Dillon of Kirkland, planned to develop it. About seven years ago, they began trying in earnest to build five luxury homes near the bog’s south shore.

Dillon died last month at age 90 following a short illness. The two men had worked together on commercial and residential building projects for more than 50 years.

The bog lies immediately north of the county line, less than a mile from Highway 522.

Its nutrient-poor, acidic environment is home to mats of sphagnum moss several yards thick that float in the bog water. Stunted pines and Western hemlocks grow there, along with a rare bladderwort species.

The bog waters flow to Crystal Lake and eventually to the Bear Creek stream system.

Similar wetlands are mostly confined to Snohomish and King counties, and few remain. They likely formed after glaciers retreated from Western Washington about 10,000 years ago.

Since the bog’s plight began attracting media attention this year, the county has received more than 150 letters of support from people advocating for its conservation, Deputy County Executive Mark Ericks said. The land the county is preparing to buy totals about 40 acres. County leaders still need to decide how to pay for the purchase.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Freshwater invertebrates found in local water bodies

Bryozoans are tiny invertebrates that live in jelly-like masses, and their presence is a good thing.

Front Porch

EVENTS Sk8 Fest returns to Arlington The Centennial Sk8 Festival celebrating longboards… Continue reading

Most Read