Since 1982, the amount of developed land in Washington jumped from 1.5 million acres to almost 2.3 million acres, an increase of approximately 48 percent. Even though the rate of urbanization in Washington is almost twice the national average, the state is in no danger of losing its forests or undeveloped areas. The amount of developed land in Washington comprises only 5.2 percent of the entire state’s surface area of slightly more than 44 million acres.
(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “National Resources Inventory: 2003.” Available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/NRI/2003/Landuse-mrb.pdf Access verified April 17, 2009.)
To further put this number in perspective, more than half of the land area of Washington is either forest (12.7 million acres) or federally owned (11.9 million acres). Of the federally owned land, about 9.5 million acres are also forested. Another 28 percent of the state’s land area is used as cropland (6.5 million acres) and range land (5.8 million acres).
From the Washington Policy Center’s 2009 Environmental Indicators policy brief by John Hill, WPC Adjunct Scholar.