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AGO 1952 No. 397 - September 08, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


The State Forest Board may not contract with the Department of Public Institutions to exchange timber for the labor of inmates of the reformatory for work performed in constructing roads to forest board lands.

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                                                               September 8, 1952

Honorable B. L. Orell, Supervisor
Division of Forestry
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                                                 Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 397

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of August 15, 1952, in which you request our opinion as to whether it would be legal for the State Forest Board to enter into a contract with the Department of Public Institutions whereby the inmates of Monroe Reformatory would be used to construct access roads to and through forest board property to increase the value of the timber by making it more accessible.  In return for the work performed the Department of Public Institutions would be given forest board timber.

            It is our conclusion that forest board timber may not be exchanged with the Department of Public Institutions for work performed by inmates of Monroe Reformatory.


            The conditions under which land, held by the State Forest Board, shall be administered are set forth in chapter 76.12 RCW.  By the terms of RCW 76.12.120 (§ 7, chapter 154, Laws of 1923; RRS § 5812-7) it is provided:

            "* * * the timber and other products thereon may be sold or the land may be leased in the same manner and for the same purposes as is authorized for state granted land, except that no sale of any timber or other products thereon and no lease of the land shall be made until ordered and approved by the board.  * * *"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            This is authority for sale of the timber.  However, there is nothing in the statute which contemplates any disposition of the timber other than in the manner prescribed for disposing of timber upon state granted lands.  RCW 79.12.100 (§ 1, chapter 220, Laws of 1929; RRS § 7797-31) provides that timber to be sold from state granted lands shall not be sold for less than the appraised value thereof.  RCW 79.12.120 (§ 33, chapter 255, Laws of 1927; RRS § 7797-33) provides in part:

            "When any timber, fallen timber, stone, gravel, or other valuable material on state lands, except capitol building lands, is sold separate from the land, the full purchase price thereof shall be paid in cash.

            "* * *"

            In our opinion this section is applicable to any disposition of timber from state forest board lands.  We do not believe that in the absence of legislative authorization it would be legal for the State Forest Board to exchange timber for labor furnished by the Department of Public Institutions.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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