Fly fishing on North Fork Teanaway River. Photo by Holly Werran.

Major step forward for biggest Greenway conservation priority

The Teanaway River Basin, just north of Cle Elum, boasts working forest lands, livestock grazing acreage, opportunities for many kinds of recreation, hundreds of miles of streams and dozens of trails.

Today Governor Jay Inslee signed the capital budget for the State of Washington which included $132 million for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan which will provide water for farmers throughout the Yakima River Basin. This large-scale plan includes $100 million to acquire 50,272 acres in the Teanaway River Basin to ensure a healthy watershed for forests, farms, people and fish and wildlife.

This is wonderful news in the Greenway!

Conservation of these lands in the Teanaway has been a top statewide priority for land conservation for years, and represents a huge step forward in connecting land ownership and ensuring ecological health of the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Increased recreation access will bring increased tourism and revenue to nearby communities, including Ellensburg, Cle Elum and towns throughout the Upper Kittitas Valley.

Additionally, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program was funded at $65 million, making for an historic state investment in conservation and recreation. Funded projects within the Greenway include boat access to the scenic Yakima River along Highway 10; regional trail connections on the East Lake Sammamish Trail, Cross Kirkland Corridor and Redmond Central Connector; new hiking and mountain biking trails at Olallie State Park and Tiger Mountain; and land conservation of more than 5,000 acres just south of Cle Elum.

As we move forward to make the Greenway a National Heritage Area, these major conservation and recreation successes will continue to show the national significance of this spectacular landscape.

Thanks to the Washington State Legislature for tremendous strides forward in conservation of our natural heritage in the Mountains to Sound Greenway and throughout the state.