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Next Step Forward for Greenway Designation

Posted by Margaret Ullman at Mar 29, 2017 06:35 PM |
Positive signs are coming from Washington D.C. in our effort to designate the Greenway as a National Heritage Area. Bipartisan leaders just introduced legislation in the Senate and House.
Next Step Forward for Greenway Designation

Securing a bright future

Bipartisan legislation was just introduced to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. Senate Bill 713 was introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and H.R. 1791 was introduced by Congressmen Dave Reichert and Adam Smith.

Update 3/30: Legislation has now been passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, bringing us one step closer to designation!

Our region is a model for thoughtful growth: on the doorstep of our cities we have spectacular open spaces and world-class recreation. We celebrate a deep heritage of collaboration and creativity, coming together as a community to ensure that a vibrant economy and healthy wild spaces can be nurtured in concert, not in conflict.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of our congressional champions, Senator Cantwell and Congressman Reichert, to create the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area, highlighting our region’s heritage and resilience.

Designating the Greenway is more important than ever. Seattle is one of the fastest growing major cities in the nation, as more people move here for the combination of economic opportunity and the natural environment that sets our region apart from all others. National Heritage designation will help ensure the Greenway remains a special place to live, work, and play for generations to come.

The outpouring of support from Greenway residents over the last five years has been inspiring. More than 6,500 endorsers said it loud and clear: our region is iconic and precious, and our way of working here—bipartisan efforts, creative problem solving—are truly a model for the rest of the nation.

Many lands bills fail because they have limited local support or fail to generate bipartisan sponsorship. The Greenway NHA legislation stands out from the rest because it has broad support from residents, businesses, and government agencies; and strong congressional champions. It has been one of the few lands bills in the country that has passed favorably out of both the House and the Senate committees in recent years. In a challenging climate for public lands legislation, this gives us hope.

 

Why Create a Greenway National Heritage Area

When we are connected with nature, our lives are better. The Mountains to Sound Greenway offers world-class recreation and spectacular public lands and waters on the doorstep of our urban areas. This high quality of life makes us healthier and happier, and helps attract tourism and top employers that keep our economy strong. Designation of the Greenway National Heritage Area would recognize these strengths and allow the Greenway to serve as a national model for collaborative conservation.

National Heritage Area designation provides a non-regulatory approach to conservation and will not affect private property, water, hunting, or fishing rights. Learn more about the campaign.

 

Our Journey over the Last Five Years

Greenway National Heritage Area legislation was originally introduced five years ago by Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Congressmen Dave Reichert and Adam Smith. A strong showing our first congressional session saw us in the mix in the final days, but at the end just missed being included in the final lands package approved by Congress. It was a similar story in our second congressional session, which ended last December. Moving anything in Congress is a challenge and federal land designations often take many years to achieve. The designations of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the North Cascades took decades—great things often do.

Greenway designation has strong, bipartisan support in Congress and has been endorsed by over 6,500 businesses, governments, non-profits and individuals, including Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, the Kittitas County Commissioners, Microsoft, Expedia, REI, the Trust for Public Land, and the Mountaineers.

 

How You Can Help

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