Greenway long valued Tollgate

On behalf of the board of directors of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, I am pleased to convey our strong support for the bond issue that has been submitted to the voters of North Bend to acquire Tollgate Farm. Public acquisition of Tollgate has been high on our landscape preservation list since the earliest days of the Greenway effort.

While there are many reasons why it makes good sense to preserve Tollgate as open space, I think it has always been high on the Greenway list because elected officials and citizens from North Bend played an important role in designing the original Greenway vision. Here's what the Greenway concept plan says about North Bend:

"There are significant wildlife corridors and riparian and wetland habitats in and around North Bend. It is a major trail and recreation access point for the Valley and forested areas. Tollgate and Meadowbrook farms form an urban separator, providing open space, flood storage, wetlands, habitat and a wildlife corridor between Rattlesnake Mountain, Mount Si and Three Forks Park."

Greenway Vision: -Protect habitats and wildlife corridors, historic character, open space and floodplains." Those words were approved as part of the Greenway concept plan in 1992 and all the environmental benefits listed are, if anything, more important today. As we experience population growth across the landscape, a place like Tollgate Farm will gain in public value over time, serving as a green, pastoral gateway to the city, and as a scenic frame for the city's most prominent mountain icon.

For 10 years, citizens and government agencies have been investing to protect the open spaces around Tollgate Farm. It will be the crowning and unifying achievement of these efforts to see this historic and beautiful piece of ground set aside and preserved.

King County has pledged $5 million toward this purchase, reflecting the values of preserving Tollgate Farm that extend beyond the city of North Bend. We commend the City Council for its wisdom and foresight in submitting a bond issue to city voters for their share of the benefits of this crucial preservation.

James R. Ellis

President, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

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