Conserving Land in a Scenic Corridor
Picture a scenic greenway stretching from Seattle’s waterfront, across the Cascades, to the edge of the grasslands of Central Washington. In 1990, a group of citizens started with a dream and quickly went to work in a race against time as an estimated 100 acres of forest land were cleared each day to make way for the expanding city.
These citizens rallied others to form a private/public alliance with municipalities, counties, government agencies, and citizen groups. A regional map of conceptual projects and ideas throughout the landscape has served as a blueprint for a 100-mile Mountains to Sound Greenway along Interstate 90. The goal is to retain a corridor of family farms, Washington State parks, working forests and productive farms, national forests, and small towns and major cities. For motorists, the greenway would offer scenic views and picnic spots; for hikers and cyclists, a connected system of trails; and for wildlife, a lifeline of forest and stream habitats.
As of 2011, the Mountains to Sound Greenway has preserved over 215,000 acres with Federal, State, county and local funds, as well as private donations. Using land and water conservation funds, the Forest Service helped protect 130 acres of Snoqualmie Point – this popular and easily accessible spot is now a City of Snoqualmie park that provides sweeping views of the Cascade Range and Snoqualmie Pass.
The Forest Service exchanged land with two timber companies to add over 55,000 acres to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests within the Greenway, bringing large swaths of forestland into public ownership. The Forest Service’s Forest Legacy program has supported the purchase of development rights to permanently protect over 5,000 acres of private forest. Many partners in the Mountains to Sound Greenway coalition have worked to consolidate public land ownership in the Central Cascades, including parcels along the Pacific Crest Trail, in the Middle Fork and South Fork Snoqualmie River Valleys and at Manastash Ridge.
Connecting this landscape, piece by piece, the Mountains to Sound Greenway is ensuring a balance between people and nature for future generations.
Image: The photo is looking eastward toward Snoqualmie Pass, in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and along the I-90 Mountains to Sound Greenway National Scenic Byway. Photo credit goes to Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.
Erin MacCoy, Communications Manager, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, 206.382.5565x32, firstname.lastname@example.org