The Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association will mark the 20th anniversary of the purchase of Meadowbrook Farm site from the Snoqualmie Valley Land Company, with a public celebration, starting at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at the Meadowbrook Interpretive Center.
The event will feature children’s activities, tours, displays and community organizations throughout the day, followed by a bonfire and family square dance at 6:30 p.m.
All the festivities are in celebration of the two decades that Meadowbrook has provided the Valley with protected and preserved open-space, and in recognition ofthe hard work of the people and organizations who helped purchase, operate and maintain the property.
Dave Battey, secretary of the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association, said the purchase of the property was driven by community desire to see the land preserved as open space.
He explained that the Meadowbrook Farm property was owned by the Snoqualmie Valley Land Company, which was looking to sell the property due to the increasing environmental restrictions being placed on farmlands by King County in the early ‘90s.
“The Snoqualmie Valley Land Company, four local families and an individual from Issaquah, they really wanted to find one buyer for the farm and they had been marketing it for several decades,” Battey said. “I think it was the early 1960s, when they became the owners and they bought it from the Pratt estate, which had owned it since 1904.”
Since the purchase from the Pratt estate, various parcels of the original Meadowbrook property were sold to the school district and cities, but a desire to see the land protected from development plans drove community members to find a way to purchase the farmland.
In 1993, a group of Valley residents, Battey included, met with King County Executive Tim Hill to discuss a purchase of the land. Battey said this meeting is what sparked the planning for the fundraising and purchase of the farm.
“The end result of that meeting was a lot of people from the cities and locals like me, we would try to see if we could put together a good enough grant request to get King County Conservation Futures money to preserve Meadowbrook,” Battey said. “We ended up getting, around $5 million in county conservation futures.”
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the Trust for Public Land represented the Valley cities in negotiating with the property owners, who sold them the land in pieces from 1993 to 1996. Battey said it took 47 months to purchase every parcel of the land.
“The lawyers for Mountains to Sound and Trust for Public Land, deeded it back to the two cities as co-owners, in effect wiping out the city line on the 460 acres between the two cities,” he said. “Every square foot of Meadowbrook farm in North Bend is owned by Snoqualmie and vice versa.”
Once the cities had acquired the farm, they formed the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association, a group of city officials and citizens which manages the operation of the farm and monitors its use. Battey, who was chosen to be secretary of the association when it was formed and still holds the position today, said the 25-year interlocal agreement between the association and cities will be expiring in a few years; he expected plans to renew the agreement will begin soon.
Si View Metro Parks also entered a partnership with the Meadowbrook association to help them schedule events and programs for the property, a partnership which Battey describes as “exceptionally wonderful.”
While the 20th anniversary celebration of the complete farmland purchase will be held in April, Battey said the preservation association is also looking to the future, with upcoming projects including connecting the local trails to Meadowbrook Farm.
“We really want to complete the trail loop, so we paid for that amazing extension of that gravel trail parallel to 202,” he said.
Battey himself will also be a part of the festivities. At 10 a.m., on Saturday, April 22, he will host his first history walk of the year, as he guides a group to see a 500-year-old cedar tree.
“I do the walk to the Big Cedar five or six times a year and it’s the most attended of all my presentations that I give at Meadowbrook. You get a botany talk on the way,” he said.
The group will make their way back to the interpretive center at Meadowbrook Farm in time for the main event to begin.
Learn more about Meadowbrook Farm at http://www.meadowbrookfarmpreserve.org.