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National Heritage Area Proposed For Mountains To Sound Greenway To Include Great Whitewater Runs

By Thomas O'Keefe
American Whitewater
American Whitewater - Today, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is leading a bipartisan campaign to have the U.S. Congress designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and the rivers that run through it, as a National Heritage Area.

The Snoqualmie, Cedar, and Yakima watersheds in Washington State are known to paddlers for their dozens of great whitewater runs. From the classic drops of the Cooper enjoyed in early summer, Fall in the Wall where the South Fork Snoqualmie is buried in a beautiful hidden canyon between the lanes of Interstate 90, Ernie's Gorge that challenges the nation's top expert paddlers, the Powerhouse run at the base of dramatic Snoqualmie Falls where many beginners take their first strokes, the Cedar River where Olympic athletes have raced on slalom gates, to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie where paddlers from throughout the greater Seattle and Bellevue area converge after work, the rivers of the region are truly world-class and an important amenity for many who live and work in the region. All of these rivers and many more are within the boundaries of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a 1.5 million-acre landscape that has sustained generations with its abundance of natural resources.

Today, the Greenway's scenic beauty is the backdrop for the daily lives of 1.4 million residents. Alpine peaks, wilderness lakes, rivers, and lush forests connect by road, rail and trail to rural towns and high rises, where local residents live, work and play in communities deeply rooted in the land around them. Twenty years of conservation have protected the natural heritage of the Greenway. Today, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is leading a bipartisan campaign to have the U.S. Congress designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area.

As advocates for the dozens of rivers in this landscape and the opportunities to conserve and enhance the whitewater experience, American Whitewater has joined the effort to support designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area. Official recognition of the Greenway as a National Heritage Area will:

  • Create a framework for communicating the national significance of the Greenway and the rivers that flow through it.
  • Build public awareness, recognition and involvement in stewardship of the Greenway including public access to rivers.
  • Empower citizens, businesses, interest groups and government to work together more efficiently. Provide a legal structure to enable governments to work together across jurisdictions (important when one agency manages the put-in and another manages the take-out, for instance).
  • Formalize the Greenway coalition's cooperative management style by naming the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust as the local coordinating entity, with American Whitewater as a coalition partner.

Visit the campaign website to learn more and register your support for the legislation that will formalize continued cooperative management that promotes both resource protection and public enjoyment of the Greenway's spectacular rivers: GreenwayHeritage.org

Link to American Whitewater Journal Page.

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