2022 Accomplishments Across the Greenway
It’s hard to believe, but 2022 is already coming to a close. And with the year’s end, we like to pause and reflect on some of the accomplishments that have taken place across the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area over the past 12 months. From new parks and trails, to important restoration work, land acquisitions, and more — our partners have collectively accomplished so much to conserve and enhance this incredible landscape.
We’ll be celebrating some of these accomplishments at our Annual Dinner on November 30, and while it’s impossible to fully acknowledge every worthy person and accomplishment, we wanted to highlight a few additional achievements here as well. We invite you to read on, and be amazed as we look back together at some great moments from 2022!
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail – Bellevue
City of Bellevue built a new 1.2-mile segment of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail paralleling Interstate 90, making it safer and more enjoyable for people to walk, ride, and roll through Bellevue’s busy Factoria neighborhood. This helps fill an important east-west gap in the regional trail system that will eventually connect to Issaquah. The City of Bellevue won a State and National American Public Works Association award for exemplary design for the first phase of this innovative trail construction which included a bridge and tunnel to traverse a major highway interchange. Learn more
New Eastrail Connections
A new section of gravel Eastrail connecting Kirkland to Woodinville opened in May 2022. This Eastrail section connects from the north end of the Cross Kirkland Corridor to NE 145th in Woodinville near the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. The City of Woodinville constructed a new signalized trail crossing at NE 145th, allowing Eastrail users to access the Sammamish River Trail. Major construction has also been in full swing: work is underway on several large Eastrail bridges, including the Totem Lake Connector in Kirkland, NE 8th Street Overcrossing in Bellevue, and a bridge over Interstate 405 in Bellevue. Learn more
Lower Issaquah Creek Restoration Project
Located just downstream of SE 62nd Street in Issaquah, this project enhanced approximately 1,200 lineal feet of Issaquah Creek and restored 7 acres of floodplain, riparian, and upland habitats for the benefit of Endangered Species Act listed Chinook salmon and other fish and wildlife. The project also increases the floodplain area and storage volume, and habitat complexity. The restoration design included excavating side channels and backwater channels, as well as installing large woody material features, to aid in future channel complexity development.
St. Edward State Park Environmental Education & Research Center
The new Environmental Education and Research Center at St. Edward State Park is built on an innovative public-private, academic partnership between WA State Parks, UW Bothell, and Daniels Real Estate. The new Center includes a state-of-the-art classroom, designed by SKL, in an historic building integral to the new Lodge campus developed by Daniels Real Estate, utilizes St. Edwards State Park’s diverse habitats as an outdoor classroom, and leverages the teaching, learning and research resources of UW Bothell to integrate environmental education, research, and community engagement. The Center will connect students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities with nature and strive to create K-16 educational pathways to college degree programs and careers in environmental fields. Learn more
South Seattle Community Engagement & Stewardship Projects
ECOSS is dedicated to working together on a number of community engagement initiatives including Green Seattle Partnership for restoration at Seward Park, ecological enhancement and volunteer engagement at additional locations in the South Beacon Hill neighborhood, and providing multicultural resources to community engagement efforts. Learn more
Cheasty Trails and Bike Park and Park Improvements in Seattle
Parks in Seattle have benefited from major improvements this year! The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department has opened and/or renovated more than a dozen parks, such as Duwamish Waterway Park, a yet-to-be-named park in Lake City, and Detective Cookie Chess Park. The Seattle Parks District approved its second 6-year budget to dramatically increase stewardship of park lands. At our Annual Dinner, we will be celebrating a park that took many partners to complete – Cheasty Mountain Bike and Pedestrian Trails in the Rainier Valley – thanks to the Seattle Parks Foundation, Friends of Cheasty Greenspace, and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Learn more
Jim Ellis Memorial Regional Park at Preston, Preston Mill Park
Decades in the making, construction at the Jim Ellis Memorial Regional Park at Preston, at Preston Mill Park, took place this summer with construction of a new pedestrian tunnel under State Route 202, new restrooms and parking lot, and gravel paths. Greenway restoration crews and volunteers will continue invasive weed removal and planting of native trees along salmon-bearing Raging River. Learn more
Tollgate Farm Renovation
Si View Metropolitan Parks District and City of North Bend are making improvements to Tollgate Farm. This property was conserved thanks to the Trust for Public Land, King County, and North Bend more than two decades ago. Now, renovations include construction of a barn, restoration of the yellow farmhouse, new garden beds and fields that local farmers can lease, and improvements for public access including safe parking and new trail connections. This historic farm and community gathering space now includes vegetable patches and a sunflower garden from Frisky Girl Farms and pastured meats by Feral Woman Farm.
Snoqualmie Pass Firehouse
The Firehouse, a former Forest Service fire station, was renovated by evolution Projects to house the Laconia Market, evo retail and gear rental, and Pass Life workspace in this historic building. Forest Service visitor services include a new video about the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area. Learn more
Thorp Mill Renovation & Interpretation
The Thorp Mill Historic Preservation Board successfully raised funds to replace the structure’s roof. With funding from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the new roofing protects the interior machinery, circa 1883, from weather and fire. Additionally, new interpretive signage was added to educate visitors about the seasonal production of ice on-site. Learn more
West Fork Teanaway Trails Plan
Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Washington Trails Association convened a coalition of local human-powered recreation users to consult on a proposed trail system for the West Fork Teanaway. Over the past 1.5 years, the group developed and honed a proposal that would provide multi-use, multi-experiential routes while respecting private property and wildlife corridors. The plan is currently in the permitting stage and will be poised for implementation in coming seasons. Learn more
Great American Outdoors Act Projects
Great American Outdoors Act projects in the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area this summer included reconstruction on the Annette Lake Trail & Snow Lake Trail; Trail improvements at Franklin Falls; installation of 120 Bear-proof food containers in Middle Fork and I-90 corridor campgrounds; replacement of deteriorated concrete picnic tables at Ken Wilcox, Cle Elum, and Beverly campgrounds; and more. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jewel Bronough and US Representative Kim Schrier celebrated this much-needed maintenance funding at Franklin Falls in June. Learn more
Greenway Student Internships
Internships are a great way to help students build confidence and foundational knowledge needed to choose conservation-related post-secondary education programs and careers. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, corporate and agency partners, and grants, we were able to expand our internship programs this year! About 50 teens participated, which is up from 12 in pre-pandemic times. Clean Water Ambassadors is back in person, and celebrating its 7th year. YESS (Youth Engaged in Sustainable Systems) doubled in size in its second year, adding Riverview School District to Highline School District. And, excitingly, we launched a new student internship called Burien Green Teens. Learn more
Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Management Plan
Over the last three years, hundreds of people representing Tribes, governments, agencies, nonprofits, local businesses, community groups shared their ideas and input about the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area management plan. The management plan will guide and support collaborative projects that preserve, interpret, and celebrate the cultural, historical and natural features of the Greenway NHA, setting the stage for more Parades of Accomplishment in the years ahead. One of the first actions under the plan was for WSDOT to install new Greenway signs along I-90 and Highway 18. Learn more
Snoqualmie Tribe Acquisition of 12,000 Acres of Ancestral Forestland
This year, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe acquired over 12,000 acres of its ancestral forestlands in the Tolt River Watershed. The forest has significant cultural, historic, environmental, and economic value to the Tribe. By acquiring these lands, the Tribe is concluding a decades-long effort to reclaim ownership in an area that is enormously important to the Tribe. Learn more.
East Lake Sammamish Trail Improvements
The final two miles of the East Lake Sammamish Trail are under construction! Decades in the making, this King County project will complete a 44-mile long regional trail corridor that connects the Burke-Gilman Trail, Sammamish River Trail, Marymoor Connector Trail, and Issaquah-Preston Trail, linking Puget Sound urban areas to the Cascades. Learn more
Snoqualmie Point Park Improvements
Setting the table in the Greenway: Snoqualmie Point Park now has a new picnic table with a view thanks to Jim and Bonnie Reinhardsen. Design of this stone table was completed by landscape architects at Jones and Jones, original designers of this City of Snoqualmie park with one of the most sweeping views in the Greenway, with rock from local business Marenakos and installation by Issaquah Landscaping.
Fall City Floodplain Restoration
After almost a decade of project development, design, and fundraising, construction begins this summer on the Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project that will reconnect 145 acres of historic Snoqualmie River floodplain and reestablish vital habitat to benefit depleted Puget Sound salmon populations. Learn more
Thanks to a partnership with Department of Natural Resources (South Puget Sound Region), Trailhead Ambassadors were at popular trailheads throughout summer 2022. The program was planned to start in 2021 but was delayed due to staffing shortages and health concerns due to COVID-19. The program was collaboratively designed to include presence at the most popular trailheads in the I-90 corridor, including Little Si, Mount Si, Twin Falls, and the Chirico Trail. The Trailhead Ambassador program in this corridor was implemented through a collaboration between a variety of land managers, nonprofits, local community members, and local businesses in response to the magnetic pull the outdoors has on those who live in the Pacific Northwest.
Middle Fork Road Repair
King County Road Services repaired a major washout of the Middle Fork Road and installed a larger culvert to restore access to the valley after spring rains in 2022.
Beverly Bridge Reopening
Washington State Parks renovated and opened the historic Beverly Bridge as a trail across the Columbia River and closed a dramatic gap in the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, a former railway converted to cross-state trail. Learn more
Kittitas Stewardship Fund Launch
The Kittitas Stewardship Fund supports land managers, non-profits, and community groups working to improve watershed health, support working forests, increase fire resiliency, develop and manage recreational infrastructure, conserve lands at risk of development, and address the backlog of maintenance on lands open to the public. Learn more
Teanaway Community Forest
A new series of free interpretive events in the Teanaway Community Forest was launched featuring local expert speakers and guided walks and hikes in summer of 2022. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources held Teanaway Love Day in May to bring volunteers into the community forest to care for campgrounds and trails. A new field trip program connecting Thorp Schools with river restoration projects began in fall.
Finn Hill Green Loop Property Acquisitions
King County Parks acquired three undeveloped lots adjacent to Big Finn Hill Park. Together, these purchases of woodlands, wetlands and a section of Denny Creek add up to more than 7 acres of new protected green space to add to the park, thanks to support from Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance, City of Kirkland, and a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Learn more
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