Washington recreation groups unite to protect Mountains to Sound Greenway
A coalition of outdoor recreation groups has collected more than 3,000 signatures calling on Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area.
The signatures were collected between April 15 and May 15 and support formally recognizing the 1.5 million-acre outdoor area connecting Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.
“Our members have spoken strongly in favor of designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area,” Martinique Grigg, executive director of The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based outdoor education nonprofit, said in a news release. “This move would protect and enhance the incredible climbing, mountaineering and hiking in Seattle’s backyard.”
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 rugged alpine peaks, wilderness lakes and expansive forests to the city and rural communities through a network of roads, rails and trails that would be enhanced by a National Heritage Area designation.
The campaign was launched in coordination with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a Seattle-based nonprofit that has spent two decades taking care of the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. The Greenway National Heritage Area effort has strong, bipartisan support, with champions in U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as hundreds of local business and civic leaders.
“The Greenway provides a playground just minutes from the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation,” Amy Brockhaus, Greenway Trust Coalition director, said in the release. “The Greenway ensures quality of life that attracts tourism and top employers, keeping the region’s economy strong.”
The National Heritage Area designation will mark the Greenway’s place on the map, improve collaboration between businesses and conservation groups, and identify the Greenway as a special place in the state and in the nation.
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.
Learn more about the Greenway, or lend your help to the campaign, at www.outdooralliance.org/mountains-to-sound.