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Thurston County, Washington

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Community Planning and Economic Development

Ordinance Changes Adopted May 21, 2024.

The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) adopted updates to the Forest Conversion Code at the board meeting on May 21, 2024 to take effect June 1, 2024. The changes include aligning code with current county policies, incentivizing large tree retention, and increasing flexibility for development. 

Adopted Code 

Forests in Thurston County hold significant value for our residents. They provide benefits to our health, economy and the environment. County staff are working on several projects that prioritize forest resource conservation to ensure our forests can help us grow a strong and resilient community. 

Forest Conversion Code Updates

Converting forest lands to another use is regulated by Thurston County. Current county codes were recently updated to reflect the priorities of the community. Information about the code changes can be found in the following section.

We'd love to hear from you.

  • Submit a Comment about the forest conversion ordinance.
  • Subscribe to the email list for occasional updates about the forest conversion ordinance.
  • Email a question about this ordinance to
  • Attend the Public Meeting held at 3000 Pacific Ave in room 110 on February 6, 2024 at 3:30pm. You will have a timed opportunity to present your concerns and suggestions to the Board of County Commissioners. Written comments will also be accepted if submitted before noon the day of the hearing. Submit written comments to or use the comment form linked above.

The Healthy Forests Project is a County-initiated project that was officially docketed by the Board of County Commissioners in 2009 as A-25, Update Forest Conversion Ordinance and Review Tree Protection Standards. It was clarified in 2022 to include a countywide canopy assessment and focus on a review of rural tree protection standards. 

In 2023, the Planning commission had 3 work sessions to review the code and a public hearing. Recordings for the meetings are in the meeting materials section. The Planning Commission recommended the draft code for adoption by the Board of County Commissioners by a vote of 5-2. 

The Board of County Commissioners held 5 briefings and a public hearing in February 6, 2024. They adopted code changes on May 21, 2024 to take effect June 1, 2024.

The project timeline is tentative and subject to change--last updated June 6, 2024.

  • Spring 2023 - Internal Research; Community and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Summer 2023 - Planning Commission Review & Public Hearing
  • Fall 2023 - SEPA Determination
  • Winter 2023 -Spring 2024 - BoCC Review, BoCC Public Hearing, BoCC Final Action

Board of County Commissioners 

May 21, 2024 - Board Meeting

April 24, 2024 - Fifth Briefing

April 3, 2024 - Fourth Briefing

March 19, 2024 - Board Action

February 26, 2024 - Third Briefing

February 6, 2024 - Public Hearing

November 29, 2023 - Second Briefing

November 2, 2023 - First Briefing

Planning Commission

September 20, 2023 - Final Work Session and Recommendation

August 16, 2023 - Public Hearing

June 7, 2023 - First Work Session

August 3, 2022  - Concept Check

Board of County Commissioners 

February 3, 2022 - 

Other Forest Programs


County staff will work with consultants to complete a detailed geospatial analysis to better understand the extent and composition of the county's forest resources. This assessment will help identify forested areas at highest risk of conversion and opportunities for conservation and restoration.

  • Fall 2022 - Grant Application
  • Fall 2023 - Map Data Analysis by consultant
  • Spring 2024 - BoCC Report Presentation

Conservation programs provide incentives by relieving cost or regulatory barriers for landowners. These programs give back to landowners so they can continue to provide benefits on their land for everyone. 


Open Space Tax Program

Conservation Futures


Designated Forest Land Tax Program