Editorial: Mountains to Sound worthy of celebration
The Mountains to Sound Greenway sounded like a grand vision when it originated 25 years ago. It’s turned out to be much more than a vision — it’s been a practical approach to maintaining and enhancing the landscape along Interstate 90 through King and Kittitas counties.
Mountains to Sound is celebrating the quarter century mark of the cross-state hike that set the stage for the formation of the group with the start of a nine-day, 113-mile trek from Ellensburg to Seattle.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is not a government agency. It does not have the power to dictate land use. But it is a forum for the wide range of people with an interest in the I-90 corridor to come together and advocate and work toward preserving environmental and scenic values along the route.
It does not hurt that from the start Mountains to Sound has had the involvement and support of influential West Side individuals and organizations.
But the group has not been an example of a West Side organization attempting to impose its own set of priorities on the Kittitas County landscape.
What’s made Mountains to Sound successful is it works to achieve goals desired by Kittitas County residents.
One of the main benefits has been increasing awareness on the West Side of the value and quality of the corridor as it goes through Kittitas County. This has had direct impact at times. The fate of a proposal to place a large commercial composting facility at Elk Heights off I-90 may have been different in a world without Mountains the Sound.
Instead of saying the facility would be placed on undeveloped land in Kittitas County, it was characterized as being placed within the Mountains to Sound corridor.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway has worked to benefit Kittitas County for the past 25 years, but may play an even greater role in the next 25 years. As the West Side population pressures grow, that will translate into demands on land use on the routes leading in and out of the Puget Sound megatropolis. A group that works to bring parties with myriad interests together in a collaborative approach to seek solutions will continue to provide value to all the communities along the greenway corridor.
The 25th anniversary of the hike is well worth celebration. Congratulations to all involved in the Mountains to Sound. Let’s all strive to continue to success into the next 25.