County council wants to designate Mountains to Sound Greenway as National Heritage Area
March 7, 2012 · 9:24 AM
Members of the King County Council want to see the regional Mountains to Sound Greenway, which includes and preserves rural and forested areas in the Snoqualmie Valley, be protected further with designation as a National Heritage Area.
The council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee recommended action Tuesday, March 6, on a motion urging heritage designation by the United States Congress.
“I spent much of my youth hiking in the Mountains to Sound Greenway with my brother and mom,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion. “It is truly one of the jewels of the Northwest.”
The Mountain to Sound Greenway is a national scenic byway that stretches over 100 miles along I-90 from the waterfront in Seattle all the way to Central Washington. It includes forests, farms, historic sites, lakes, campgrounds, rivers, trails, wildlife habitat and local communities. The Greenway is the result of a public-private coalition that has preserved over 750,000 acres of land for education, recreation, and environmental stewardship. It formed in 1991.
The county's motion urges the U.S. Congress to recognize the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as landscapes wherein historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects can be more easily supported through public-private partnerships.
While it strengthens conservation efforts, the designation does not affect private property rights, legislate new lands, nor add land-use regulations or more regulatory authority for lands within the designated area.
There are currently 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, but designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway would make it the first in Washington State.
The motion has been sent to the full County Council for final consideration. It is scheduled for action at the Council’s March 19 meeting.