Close but not quite (yet) for National Heritage Area Designation

We had many reasons to be optimistic that the Mountains to Sound Greenway would finally be designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area. Unfortunately, amid a whirlwind of legislative activity in Washington, D.C., we ultimately fell just short. While we feel disappointed in the moment, we remain encouraged and thankful for the strong bipartisan support that carried us so close to the finish line.

Seven years of tireless advocacy by our state’s leadership and from all of you led to the NHA designation legislation passing the U.S. House this past June. In this era of relentless partisanship, we are especially proud that the pursuit of our NHA designation was backed by a strong bipartisan delegation and collaboration across the aisle.

Our deepest appreciation goes out to everyone who worked so hard to pursue the designation.

The Greenway National Heritage Area legislation was originally introduced in 2013 by senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert and Adam Smith. And it would not have ever made it to the Congress floor without the entire congressional delegation’s persistence and collaboration, including U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene and Pramila Jayapal. The designation was endorsed by more than 6,500 individuals and public and private partners, including King County, REI Co-op, Microsoft, the Trust for Public Land, Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater, and the Mountaineers.

Thank you to everyone who signed our petitions, called and wrote letters of support, donated to our cause and lent your voice and talents to making this endeavor a reality.

With or without NHA designation, it is because of all of your support that the Greenway will continue to thrive and be protected for future generations. And it’s this kind of doggedness and commitment to collaborative, community-based conservation in the Greenway that will help us chart a path forward in the new year.

Although we wished for a more celebratory toast to the new year, we still toast all of you for believing in the importance of nature, the power of collaboration and the value of the Greenway. Onward and upward.