Washington Recreation Groups Unite to Protect the Greenway
Last month, Washington’s outdoor recreation groups asked their members: how much do you value the Mountains to Sound Greenway? The response blew us all away. The original goal of raising 1,000 signatures was surpassed in just the first few days of the month-long campaign. All told, more than 3,000 signatures were collected calling on Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area.
This brings the total Greenway National Heritage Area signatures to over 5,000. The signatures support formally recognizing the 1.5 million-acre outdoor paradise connecting Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.
“Our members have spoken strongly in favor of designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area,” said Martinique Grigg, executive director of The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based outdoor education nonprofit. “This move would protect and enhance the incredible climbing, mountaineering and hiking in Seattle’s backyard.”
The Mountains to Sound Greenway includes 1,600 miles of trails, the stunning Cascade Crest, excellent whitewater runs, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking. It connects rugged alpine peaks, wilderness lakes, and expansive forests to the city and to rural communities through a network of roads, rails, and trails that would be enhanced by a National Heritage Area designation.
The Greenway National Heritage Area effort has strong, bipartisan support, with champions in Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as hundreds of local business and civic leaders. Supporters include Governor Jay Inslee; King County Executive Dow Constantine; Kittitas County Commissioners Gary Berndt, Paul Jewell, and Obie O’Brien; and companies like Microsoft, Expedia, and AAA. See full list of supporters.
“The Greenway provides a playground just minutes from the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation,” said Amy Brockhaus, Greenway Trust Coalition Director. “The Greenway ensures a quality of life that attracts tourism and top employers, keeping the region’s economy strong.”
The National Heritage Area designation will mark the Greenway’s place on the map, encourage a collaborative approach between public and private partners to maintain our shared backyard, and identify the Greenway as a special place in the state and in the nation.
The coalition of groups supporting the petition include The Mountaineers, Washington Trails Association, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Access Fund, and American Whitewater, and was coordinated by Outdoor Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that unites outdoor recreation groups on public land policy.
The time to act is now. Help us create a Greenway National Heritage Area. Our Senators and Representatives need to hear from YOU.
There are three easy ways to support: