Nature Conservancy efforts will expand throughout Roslyn
Organizers hope a hike in the woods last week leads to a trail system connecting Roslyn with the Teanaway.
The Roslyn to Teanaway event held in Roslyn last week focused on the procurement of 60 acres of privately owned land that separates the city of Roslyn Urban Forest to surrounding public land.
Mitch Long, Roslyn City Council member, said the project is trying to maintain public access through the city of Roslyn and into the Teanaway community forest.
“It’s been a vision of the community for quite some time to allow that,” he said. “Since Plum Creek had started parceling off and selling off their lands, that access had been under threat. That’s what we’re trying to address here, that threat to public access and then also wildlife corridors, forest health and things of that nature.”
The event took approximately 55 people up to the Cle Elum Overlook where residents of Cle Elum, Roslyn and Ellensburg joined members of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition along with Representative Tom Dent and Senator Judy Warnick. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a nonprofit organization that works toward receiving public funding for conservation of land in Washington.
The event was held on a large rock that jutted out and looked across the mountain range and displayed the beauty that the Washington Wildlife Recreation Coalition and many others want to preserve.
One of the event-goers was Craig Mabie, a Cle Elum resident and an “avid biker and hiker.”
He said he wrote a grant for the Coal Miner Trail for the city of Cle Elum. He’s been living for a little over a year in Cle Elum but “is a long time supporter of the trails and recreation” available in the Upper County.
Another resident of the Upper County, Glenn Burkhart of Roslyn and owner of Northwest Bicycle Improvement Company said the recreational connectivity between Roslyn, Cle Elum, Ronald and Suncadia master planned resort is important for the local community as well as increasing tourism in the Upper County.
Burkhart said he has a personal connection to the rock the event was held on — he married his wife two years ago in the very same place.
“The real effect for me vitality and resilience in the community, that’s what this project represents. Recreation economy can really revitalize a community and bring jobs about also what it does is brings you know health to our people, brings a connection to the land and connection to a place,” he said. “It really brings it back to home.”
The Roslyn to Teanaway project is seeking $356,737 from the WWRP grant program for a total of $713,475 with matching funds, said Lou-Anne Daoust-Filiatrault, a policy associate for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.
She said applicants are required to find 50 percent of matching funds from an alternative source. Overall the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is requesting $120 million for overall program from the state capital construction budget.
In 2013, Washington state paid $100 million to acquire 50,241 acres in the Teanaway, First Creek and Cabin Creek basins in Kittitas County, according to the Department of Natural Resources website. It was the largest single purchase in over 45 years by the Washington state government and this is the first state-run community forest.
“I have been a supporter, I was on the WWRP board for a while,” Sen. Judy Warnick said. “I’ve done a lot of riding down in the Teanaway, horseback riding. It’s going to be a tough year to find a $120 million. If we don’t come up with some funding for our schools or a way to fund our schools. Hopefully we can also work through what this is asking for as well.
“I love the outdoors, I really do. I’m on your side, it’s just how we do it is what we’ve got to figure out,” she added.
Rep. Tom Dent said he loves these kinds of projects because he’s spent a lot of time outdoors and wants to make sure the forests are kept safe and not destroyed by fire or other forest dangers. He said he thinks fire safety and general forest health is an important aspect to this project as well.
“We need to work on those issues. We need to take it serious to preserve this not only for our use but for generations to come,” he said. “We can but we need a vision and (look) at the big picture. I’m on board.”