OPINION: What kind of draw should the Valley be?

This week marks the return of our annual Valley Record Visitor’s Guide. In it, we’ve collected a series of stories on local attractions of interest to the day visitor—a few of which cover new draws to the Valley, in particular Carrie Harris’s profile on DirtFish Rally School and Judy Halone’s look at the Warrior Dash.

Both of these events fall into the outdoor tourism category that is growing in the Valley. Local civic boosters have long looked for ways to capitalize on the region’s scenic beauty and rugged vistas.

But the recent packed town meetings on the Old Mill annex clearly show that not all Valley residents are on the same page regarding the growth of adventure activities like rally car driving.

The Valley already hosts big events, among them the Boeing Classic at Snoqualmie Ridge TPC, the Northwest Railway Museum’s Day Out With Thomas rides and the Ridge 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Are events like the big footraces and rallies the same? Are they benign? Can they be mitigated? And do we all stand to gain from them? Right now, I don’t think we have all the answers. But we do need to address these questions.

It is time for a measured discussion on what kind of destination we want our Valley to be, and how cities, tourism boosters and property owners can balance the needs of residents with economic goals.

No community ever stands still. As the public hearings and meetings continue on the mill annexation, it’s a perfect time to consider what a future Valley could and should look like.

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