Support Public Lands

From Ellensburg to Seattle, the Greenway encompasses spectacular public lands, productive working farms and forests, endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and vibrant communities with strong economies. Through advocating local, state and federal action, we can preserve this natural legacy for future generations. But we can’t do it alone. The Greenway Trust collaborates with public land management agencies, conservation groups, citizen volunteers and businesses to advocate for the health and accessibility of our parks, forests, and waterways. Our public lands require adequate funding to manage these special places in order to connect natural lands, restore critical ecosystems, and maintain existing trails and facilities.

“Continuing to protect our most scenic and historic landscapes, like the Mountains to Sound Greenway, will help boost tourism and preserve our natural landscape for future generations”

Senator Maria Cantwell

Legislative Priorities 2021

Conservation across the nation

Federal: The Great American Outdoors Act and Land and Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Congress made a historic investment in America’s public lands – an investment that will leave a positive legacy on American conservation for generations to come – with bipartisan passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020, a bill that will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and inaugurate the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund which will support deferred maintenance and repairs in national parks and forests.

Our work is not yet done. Here in the Greenway, we are working with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to support their maintenance project requests. We thank the U.S. Congress for appropriating this funding in the federal budget.

Read up on projects the Great American Outdoors Act may be funding in the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area.

Learn more about the Great American Outdoors Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund at work in the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to say thank you for passage and implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act!

Federal: National Heritage Areas Program

National Heritage Areas tell America’s stories and conserve the nation’s cultural, natural, and historic resources. The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area was designated in 2019, along with Washington’s other NHA, the Maritime National Heritage Area. As a member of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, we strongly support National Heritage Area Program Legislation to ensure the future of these nationally-significant landscapes.

Learn more from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas

 

Washington’s Public Lands

Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

Natural Areas – $5.05 million ($4.9 million Governor’s budget)

The state’s version of a wilderness designation conserves treasured places such as Mt. Si, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley, Rattlesnake Mountain, West Tiger Mountain, to protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes.

Sustainable Recreation – $8.5 million ($8.3 million Governor’s budget)

Recreation-seekers are visiting state DNR lands in record numbers, requiring safety, sanitation, and ecological improvements as well as well-managed recreation fa­cilities to ensure the long-term sustainability of state lands. High-use sites such as Tiger Mountain, Marckworth, and Raging River will receive infrastructure and maintenance to ensure ecological health of treasured public lands.

Puget Sound Corps – $8 million ($6.4 million Governor’s budget)

The Puget Sound Corps employs veterans and young adults to restore the health of waterways and forests, providing job training in a diverse set of land manage­ment skills.

Community Forest Program, Teanaway and Klickitat Community Forests – $2.4 million ($2 million Governor’s budget)

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife jointly manage the Teanaway Community Forest in a spectacular river valley for forest health and habitat in this critical watershed, in partnership with the Yakama Nation and many others to collaboratively improve habitat, safety, and sustainable recreation access.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources Legislative Priorities

 

Washington State Parks 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

We strongly support ongoing maintenance funding and critical capital investments for our state park system. State Parks serve as some of the most accessible outdoor experiences for all ages and abilities, and it is critical that we fully fund operations to ensure ecological health and public health at these beautiful places throughout the state. Additional critical programs include:

Capital Improvements to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail – $2.5 million

Read more about progress to connect this iconic trail.

No Child Left Inside grant program – $2 million

Youth and Community Engagement, DEI, work group with the Commission on African American Affairs – $350K

 

Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) – $140 million ($100 million Governor’s budget)

WWRP is the largest source of funding for recreation and conservation in Wash­ington. Funding for this competitive grant program would provide matching funds for new local parks, farmland preservation, critical habitat protection, new trails, and water access projects across the state.

Sign on in support of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

 

Community Forest Program – $22 million ($ 9.7 million proposed in the Governor’s budget)

We strongly support the Recreation and Conservation Office’s Community Forest Program with a capital budget investment as recommended by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. At a time when the health and well-being of our people, our environment and our economy are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, community forest projects like these guide meaningful investments to protect jobs, lands, livelihoods, local business, and our quality of life.

 

Transportation

Washington State Department of Transportation 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

Bicycle and Pedestrian grants and Safe Routes to School grant program – $20 million

Washington State Department of Transportation State Route 18 widening project – proposed $275 million in initial funding from 2021 transportation budget, but significantly more will be needed.

We strongly support funding to widen and improve the State Route 18 corridor between Snoqualmie and the Issaquah-Hobart Road near Maple Valley. We encourage the Washington State Legislature to allocate funding to best ensure public safety, safe ingress and egress onto the highway, wildlife passage in this critical transportation corridor between two state forests, safety and mobility for forestry and communications tower vehicles, and the ability to add active transportation routes to and through this forested corridor.
Washington State Department of Transportation State Route 18 projects

 

Eastrail – $29 million

Built on a historic railroad line, the Eastrail runs 42 miles on the east side of Lake Washington, from Renton to Snohomish County, creating unique opportunities for the diverse communities and businesses of the Eastside. A fully connected Eastrail will increase access to East Link light rail and bus transit; increase access to parks and natural areas; help decrease carbon emissions; produce positive health outcomes for all populations; and boost economic growth.

Eastrail priorities for Washington State transportation funding include:

  • Development of a connection from the Eastrail to Gene Coulon Park and Southport in Renton ($6 million).
  • Trail development on the I-90 Steel Bridge ($10 million, King County) and historic Wilburton Trestle ($5.5 million) and Wilburton Trail Segment from SE 5th to NE 6th ($2.5 million) in Bellevue.
  • Development of a connection into Woodinville ($5 million).

Eastrail Partners

 

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail – $6.9 million, City of Bellevue

The official Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail will eventually connect Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, Preston and Snoqualmie to create a continuous east-west route from urban areas to the Cascade foothills for both recreation and active transportation. The first phase of the “Bellevue Gap” is currently under construction from the I-90/I-405 Interchange heading east to 130th through the Factoria neighborhood. The next phase is a $33.9 million project to bring the trail to 150th Avenue. With $27 million in local, state, and federal funds in hand, there is a $6.9 million shortfall, which we hope will be allocated to City of Bellevue through the state transportation budget in 2021.

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail

 

Heritage

Washington State Historical Society Heritage Organizations Small Grants Program 2021-2023 Proposal

Small Grants Program – $250,000

The Washington State Historical Society plans to inaugurate an internship program that will place graduate students or recent graduates in local history museums and historical societies across Washington. This program will support efforts to reflect on institutional bias and implement new practices to ensure collections, exhibitions and public programs capture, preserve and interpret the stories of all members of the communities they serve.

Washington State Historical Society

 

Ecological Restoration

We support funding sources for ecological restoration to benefit iconic salmon, Orcas, and aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna in our region.

Kokanee Work Group priorities 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

The Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group is a community partnership of elected officials, watershed residents, natural resource management agencies and non-governmental conservation organizations focused on recovering the once-robust native kokanee salmon population in the Lake Sammamish watershed. The group has been working together since 2007 to restore habitat, improve water quality, protect land and bolster the native kokanee population. The Kokanee Work Group strongly supports the following:

  • $30-$100 million for the Lewis Creek at I-90 Culvert Replacement Project in the WSDOT’s Fish Passage Barrier Corrections Program budget, removing a fish passage barrier on Lewis Creek with construction expected in 2022 or 2023.
  • $65.6 million for the Brian Abbott Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board grant program in the Recreation and Conservation Office budget, supporting increased funding for local projects to remove fish passage barriers.
  • $1 million for kokanee recovery efforts in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife budget, increasing support for the Lake Sammamish kokanee supplementation program, lake studies, technical assistance, and disease and predation management.

Kokanee Work Group

 

Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

Salmon Recovery Funding Board – $90 million
Leverages federal funding for salmon habitat protection and restoration projects.

Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration – $80 million
Protects critical habitat and implements restoration in Puget Sound region.

Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, Recreation and Conservation Office – $9.1 million
Protects aquatic ecosystems and provides public water access.

 

Department of Ecology 2021-2023 Budget Proposals

Floodplains by Design – $70 million
Floodplain restoration to benefit salmon, farmers, and communities.
(Includes Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project: Restore and reconnect 145 acres of Snoqualmie River floodplain to improve survival of juvenile Chinook salmon reduce flood risk to farms, $15 million to King County.)

 

Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed (WRIA 8) Partners priorities

Snoqualmie Watershed Forum Partners (WRIA 7) priorities

 

Support Washington’s public lands by joining a Lobby Day!

Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition Lobby Day, February 4th, 2021

Washington Association of Land Trusts Lobby Days, February 9th-12th, 2021

Washington Trails Association Hiker Rally Day, March 10th and 11th, 2021

Washington Bikes Legislative Agenda and Lobby Day, March 16th, 2021

 

Contact your state legislators to express your support for our public lands!