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Coalition Calls Calls for Mountains to Sound Greenway Protection with National Heritage Area Designation

By Danna McCall
Living Snoqualmie
A coalition of outdoor recreation groups recently collected more than 3,000 signatures and are now calling on Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway, which runs through the Snoqualmie Valley, a National Heritage Area.

 

A coalition of outdoor recreation groups recently collected more than 3,000 signatures and are now calling on Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway, which runs through the Snoqualmie Valley, a National Heritage Area.

The signatures were collected between April 15-May 15 and support formally giving Mountains to Sound Greenway’s 1.5 million-acre outdoor corridor connecting Seattle to Ellensburg national map recognition.

“Our members have spoken strongly in favor of designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area,” said Martinique Grigg, executive director of The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based outdoor education nonprofit. “This move would protect and enhance the incredible climbing, mountaineering and hiking in Seattle’s backyard.”

Right now, the popular outdoor Greenway has no official designation. Outdoor Alliance Spokesperson,Tania Lown-Hecht, explained that having that official designation [like an NHA] can improve tourism, boost the local economy, mark the Greenway’s place on the national map and identify it as a special place in the state – and nation.

Lown-Hecht said the National Heritage Area designation is one of the most flexible, which makes it a good fit for the Greenway’s mix of private and public land, recreation resources and local businesses.

She said the designation also supports better collaboration between local businesses, communities, and recreation resources, and will enable cost sharing for things like trailhead gate locking and unlocking or shared bathroom maintenance at area trailheads.

The campaign for the national designation was launched in coordination with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a Seattle-based nonprofit that takes care of the Greenway. MTSG works to ensure balance between people and nature in the Greenway and has bipartisan support including Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as hundreds of local business and civic leaders.

The coalition of groups supporting the petition include The Mountaineers, Washington Trails Alliance, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Access Fund, and American Whitewater, and was coordinated by Outdoor Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that unites outdoor recreation groups on public land policy.

About Mountains to Sound Greenway

The Mountains to Sound Greenway includes 1,600 miles of trails, the Cascade Crest,  whitewater runs, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking. It connects alpine peaks, wilderness lakes, and expansive forests to the city and to rural communities through a network of roads, rails, and trails.

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