The news we’ve been waiting for from the U.S. Senate

We are thrilled to report that we now have Greenway National Heritage Area legislation introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives!

This week, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. Senate Bill 2602 is a companion to legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Dave Reichert in 2013.

“Washington’s natural wonders improve our quality of life and drive an outdoor economy that supports 200,000 jobs. I am proud to work with Senator Murray, Representative Reichert, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to establish this National Heritage Area and build on nearly two decades of efforts to preserve our state’s natural landscape for future generations,” Senator Cantwell said. “This bill will promote cooperation and economic development from Ellensburg to Seattle and communities in between along the Greenway, so that all can appreciate the diverse and unique resources and quality of life we enjoy in Washington State,” Senator Murray said.

I-90 photo from BenTwenty years of conservation and collaboration created the Mountains to Sound Greenway. The Greenway today contains stunning wilderness, vibrant cities and towns, conserved working farms and forests, extensive outdoor recreation, and prime wildlife habitat all on the doorstep of the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation.

“Seattle is one of the fastest growing major cities in the nation, and as more people move here we are going to continue to see growth and development throughout the Greenway,” said Kurt Fraese, President of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “Having the Greenway designated as a National Heritage Area is more important than ever. Our region should continue to be a model for smart growth that keeps our economy strong while maintaining a long-term balance between people and nature. This designation will help ensure the Greenway remains a special place to live, work, and play for generations to come.”

Kayakers at the Pratt BarThe National Heritage Area program provides a non-regulatory approach to conservation that enables local management of the landscape. Designation encourages collaboration on a broad vision for the future of this landscape, and will share this region’s heritage with the rest of the nation through tourism and education.

National Heritage Areas are large, lived-in iconic places that tell a unique story about our nation’s heritage. They are designated by the U.S. Congress to identify a landscape of national distinction. The 49 other national heritage areas throughout the nation today illustrate the many successes of a collaborative approach to tourism and local management.

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