So far in 2019, we’ve seen great collaboration across multiple agencies and environmental groups on land acquisitions within the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area, conserving more than 400 acres. These acquisitions represent significant contributions to a shared vision of preserving and enhancing the Greenway landscape, connecting trail networks and safeguarding open spaces in our fast-growing region.
Earlier this year, The Trust for Public Land, City of Issaquah, and King County came together to conserve the 45-acre Bergsma property, a forested parcel that was initially proposed to become a 57-lot residential development. This highly-visible property on the flank of Cougar Mountain rises above Newport Way in close proximity to the Issaquah Transit Center, expanding Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and helping provide new access to trails by public transit. This conservation project also protects habitat for salmon and steelhead in Tibbetts Creek below.
Project funding for this critical acquisition comes from the City of Issaquah and King County Conservation Futures program.
Thanks to the support of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Forterra, 280 acres located near Hancock Creek in Snoqualmie Valley were acquired and added to Mount Si National Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). This forested area is managed for conservation and recreation and includes old growth forest, wildflowers, and popular hiking trails with scenic views of both the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Mount Si was first established as an NRCA in 1987 spanning 4,670 acres and has now expanded to 20,753 acres. This added acreage will provide critical old growth habitat for endangered species including the Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources acquired two properties using state funding from the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program. These properties are located along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust has dedicated over 20 years to the Middle Fork restoring natural habitats and improving public access and trail networks.
Forterra conserved 80 acres on Amabilis Mountain, just east of Snoqualmie Pass above Lake Kachess. Thanks to many years of commitment and investment, these lands will conserve key habitat for wolverine, spotted owl, cougar, bear, deer, and wolf near the planned wildlife crossings on I-90 near Easton Hill, helping restore and maintain north-south migration corridors in the Cascades.
The property is open to low-impact recreation activities such as wildlife viewing and cross-country skiing. Forterra will own and manage the land. Funding came from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.