2023 Accomplishments Across the Greenway

It’s hard to believe, but 2023 is already winding down and the new year will be here before we know it! With each 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, educational initiatives, land acquisitions, and more — our partners have collectively accomplished so much to conserve and enhance this incredible landscape.

We’ll be celebrating many of these accomplishments at our Annual Dinner on November 1, 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 2023!

Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement 

The Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement has shared information about the importance of these lands to the Snoqualmie people and urged individuals to practice Tribal land acknowledgment through respectful and mindful recreation. Through the Ancestral Lands Movement, the Tribe has partnered with dozens of organizations on collaborations and projects which support their underlying mission for everyone to have the information they need to recreate respectfully on Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands. Learn More

Courtesy of the Snoqualmie Tribe

King County Healthy Lands Project 

The Healthy Lands Project (HeLP) provides weed control and stewardship assistance to keep open space healthy for people and the environment by controlling weeds on both private and public lands in cities and unincorporated areas throughout King County, primarily on recently protected conservation lands and open space. This complement to King County’s Land Conservation Initiative is a powerful tool to ensure ecological health of lands that are in conservation status. Learn More

Trust Land Transfer Revitalization  

Trust Land Transfer, an important tool for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to conserve spectacular natural landscapes, has been revitalized!  The State Legislature passed a policy bill that modernizes Trust Land Transfer and puts the program into statute, and funded five new conservation projects. This conserved 4,425 acres of land -– incredible salmon streams in a rapidly urbanizing area (Eglon), globally rare forests (Devils Lake), rare wildflower habitat and shrub-steppe (Upper Dry Gulch), re-opened access to a popular fishing area (Chapman Lake), and added to one of the Puget Sound’s most popular outdoor recreation areas (West Tiger). Learn More

Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program 

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program was funded at $120 million in the 2023 legislative session — the highest amount ever — for conservation, recreation, farm and forest lands, and habitat protection projects across Washington, through grant programs managed by the Recreation and Conservation Office. From Seattle to Snoqualmie, Carnation to Cle Elum, Tiger Mountain to the Teanaway and beyond, we have countless treasured parks and natural lands thanks to WWRP. Learn More

Photo by Matthew Mechler

Great American Outdoors Act Projects 

Great American Outdoors Act projects in the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area included: an expanded parking lot and trail improvements at Denny Creek and Franklin Falls; reconstruction on the Annette Lake Trail & Snow Lake Trail;  installation of bear-proof food containers in Middle Fork and I-90 corridor campgrounds; new signage and replacement of deteriorated concrete picnic tables at Ken Wilcox, Cle Elum, and Beverly campgrounds; and more.  

In August, U.S. Congresswoman Kim Schrier, Washington State Representative Bill Ramos, and King County Councilmember Sarah Perry joined Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Supervisor Jody Weil and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail at the Denny Creek/Franklin Falls Trailhead to celebrate projects in local forests that were funded by the Great American Outdoors Act. Learn More

Before and after photos of trail work on the Annette Lake Trail
Work on the Annette Lake Trail

Land Conservation on Bessemer Mountain

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources now owns and manages a new 600-acre parcel on Bessemer Mountain in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley thanks to transaction assistance from Forterra. Public ownership of this land also includes termination of rock mining permit at Crown Lakes, so large trucks will no longer be transporting rock on the Middle Fork Road.

Eastrail Connections 

Piece by piece, the 42-mile Eastrail trail between Renton and Woodinville is rapidly becoming a reality! This year, Kirkland built the new Totem Lake Connector bridge over Totem Lake Boulevard and Northeast 124th Street to separate the trail from busy traffic. And the new Northup Connector ramp connects the Eastrail from Bellevue to the SR 520 Trail thanks to Eastrail Partners, King County Parks, and funding from REI, Meta, and King County. Learn More

Completion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail 

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is finished! Decades in the making, the 11-mile East Lake Sammamish Trail completes 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. King County Parks has built this iconic regional trail with 12-foot wide asphalt plus gravel shoulders, improved culverts and fish passage underneath, safer driveway crossings, and signage. Learn More

Courtesy of King County Parks

Tennant Trailhead Park 

Tennant Trailhead Park is a new park in North Bend on the flank of Rattlesnake Mountain that was conserved with the help of the Trust for Public Land. Working alongside the original stewards of the area, the Snoqualmie Tribe, this 32-acre site was developed into a city park by Si View Parks District, City of North Bend, King County, and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Hiking and biking trails will be marked in Lushootseed trail names, with artful displays and tips for respectful recreation practices. Learn More

Refuge Outdoor Festival 

Refuge Outdoor Festival is a unique event that offers outdoor-focused experiences tailored for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The signature event was created by Golden Bricks Events as a celebration of diversity and inclusivity in the great outdoors. Set in Tolt-MacDonald Park & Campground, the three-day weekend offers informative workshops, silent discos, holistic activities, performances, art, and outdoor recreation. Golden Bricks Events collaborates with a wide network of partners to provide experiences that give participants tools to more thoroughly enjoy the outdoors in a safe space. This past year, Golden Bricks Events worked with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Conservation Northwest to provide an immersive, mindful backpacking workshop that honors native wildlife and ancestral lands while prioritizing group well-being. Learn More

Teanaway Community Forest 10th Anniversary 

Ten years ago, Washington State acquired 50,241 acres of forested watershed in Kittitas County, the largest single land transaction by our state’s government in 45 years. This purchase established the Teanaway Community Forest, the first in a new lands management model allowing the state to partner with communities to conserve and manage beloved forests. Management of the Teanaway as a Community Forest – with the active involvement of central Washington residents as well as conservationists and recreation enthusiasts from across the state – has made great strides to restore, preserve, and strengthen watershed health, water supply, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and working forest activities. Learn More

Photo by Mike Seaward, Teanaway Photo Contest

Greenway Education Program Turns 25

Since 1998, The Greenway Education Program has taught nearly 75,000 4th-12th graders through school year in-class lessons and field study trips, and in recent years, high school internship programs have helped  230 teens become conservation experts and prepare to be next-generation leaders in the field. One of the new internship programs, Burien Green Teens, was presented with a Champions of Change Award from the Washington Recreation and Park Association. And another, Youth Engaged in Sustainable Systems, received a FieldSTEM Community Partner of the Year Award from Pacific Education Institute. Learn More

Greenway NHA Logo Signs on Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail in Seattle 

The Seattle Department of Transportation installed new logo signs along the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail on Beacon Hill, from Jimi Hendrix Park and the Northwest African American Museum to the Mt. Baker tunnel and the beginning of the bridge across Lake Washington. 

Sound to Olympics Trail Wins Federal Funding 

This is fantastic news for the Sound to Olympics Trail! The City of Bainbridge Island will receive $1.7 million in federal funding to plan the trail from Winslow and the Washington State Ferry terminal to the Agate Passage Bridge.  The award is part of a larger, $16.13 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant will plan and design 100 miles of new multi-use trails in the Puget Sound to Pacific (PS2P) corridor, from Bainbridge Island to LaPush on the Pacific Ocean. Learn More

Graphic from Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation website

Trail Improvements Across the Greenway NHA

The Greenway Trust recreation team built and maintained many treasured trails in the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) this year, completing trail maintenance projects on Teneriffe Falls Trail, on Green Mountain, and on the CCC Trail. Work also continued in the Mine Creek Day Use area of the Middle Fork NRCA. Trail maintenance and improvement projects were conducted at Saint Edward State Park, Rattlesnake Mountain, and in Tiger Mountain State Forest. Greenway Trust Trail Crew members also worked on national forest lands with the Cle Elum Ranger District on the Iron Peak, Beverly Turnpike, and Bean Creek Trails, and with the Snoqualmie Ranger District on the Lennox Creek, Garfield, Dingford Creek, Annette Lake, and Middle Fork Trails. 

The Greenway Trust Trail Crew working at St. Edward State Park

Doors Open King County Funding for Cultural and Heritage Organizations

The King County Council approved a historic $782 million Doors Open levy for access to science, heritage and the arts in King County in December 2023. Funding will go to museums and heritage organizations beginning in 2025 in several forms, including program support to be used for any operations of the museum or organization; free or reduced admission cost to provide access to underserved communities; school access grants to fund transportation and admissions; and specific grants to support heritage organizations in rural areas. Learn More

Want to stay in the loop about everything happening across the Greenway NHA? Make sure you’re on our e-newsletter list!