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.
Federal: Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act
H.R. 803 will take steps to conserve public lands and waters and protect communities from the effects of climate change. This legislation passed the U.S. House in February, and includes National Heritage Area Program, the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and support for public lands across the country.
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.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2021-2023 Budget Proposals
Lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources provide millions of acres of forests that cleanse the air and water, recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities, jobs in the public and private sector, economic development for local communities, and essential revenue for local governments. Some of the state’s most heavily-used recreation areas are in the Greenway, such as Tiger Mountain, Mt. Si, Rattlesnake Mountain, and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie, and require an ongoing commitment to ensure ecological health and public safety in these spectacular places.
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.
Since 1989, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Trust Land Transfer Program has enabled the State of Washington to spend more than $800 million to protect about 128,000 acres of state public lands for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and other public benefits. But this vital program is at risk of being overlooked in this difficult budget year.
We strongly support ongoing maintenance funding and critical capital investments for our state park system. State Parks receive the highest use of any public lands across the state and serve as some of the most accessible outdoor experiences for all ages and abilities. It is critical that we fully fund operations to ensure ecological health and public health at these beautiful places throughout the state. Palouse to Cascades, St. Edward, Lake Sammamish and Olallie state parks are seeking important investments this year.
Additional important programs include:
Preventive Maintenance 22 FTEs and $6.9 million (fully funded in Governor’s budget)
Skilled maintenance positions are needed for preventive maintenance work across the park system to help ensure public safety by maintaining critical infrastructure and facilities, so they are clean, attractive, and in good working condition.
Park Services 61 FTEs and $11.2 million (fully funded in Governor’s budget)
Increase visitor satisfaction and address record-high park usage by increasing day-to-day custodial maintenance, expanding interpretive services, and responding to visitor needs.
No Child Left Inside grant program – addition of $500,000 to current grant program (fully funded in Governor’s budget)
Additional funding for this popular grant program that provides capacity grants for organizations to provide underserved youth with outdoor experiences.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Coordinator $260,000 (fully funded in Governor’s budget)
Support for expanding the diversity of State Parks’ workforce through recruitment efforts and the development of training and policies to support equity and inclusion throughout the park system.
Equity in Recreation (with Commission on African American Affairs) $85K
Governor Inslee’s budget includes funding for the African American Affairs Commission to work with State Parks and outdoor advocacy groups to discuss barriers that Black people experience at public lands and parks.
Capital Improvements to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail – $3.1 million
Crab Creek Trestle Replacement $2.175 million (fully funded in Governor’s budget)
West Side Trail Improvements $428K (not included in Governor’s budget)
Repair Tunnels, Trestles and Culverts $469K (not included in Governor’s budget)
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.
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.
No Child Left Inside grant program administered by Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and Washington State Parks – addition of $500,000 to current grant program
Additional funding for this innovative, essential grant program will provide capacity grants for organizations to provide underserved youth with outdoor experiences.
Pacific Education Institute FieldSTEM Proviso – addition of $500,000 to current funding, in order to work with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and partners in secondary and higher education as well as employers representing the industries of agriculture, natural resources, and environmental sciences. Goals include identifying high-demand occupations, prioritizing industry recognized credentials, and creating curriculum so students gain work-based learning skills and earn college credits.
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. Read more about the 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).
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.
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.
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.
Salmon Recovery Funding Board – $80 million ($40 million in Governor’s budget)
Leverages federal funding for salmon habitat protection and restoration projects.
Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration – $70 million ($50 million in Governor’s budget)
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.
Review of state grant programs administered by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board and develop targeted equity strategies informed by a public stakeholder process – $400,000
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.
House Bill 1114: HB1114 will encourage utility mitigation through tree planting of urban heat island effects, thereby improving the environment and quality of life in urban centers.
Senate Bill 5006 / House Bill 1025:SB 5006 / HB1025 will provide a funding option for local parks, subject to voter approval. Not all park systems in Washington have access to the same funding tools. These bills provide all communities the option to institute a 1/10 of 1 cent sales tax, if voters approve, to fund parks. This provides an additional funding mechanism at no cost to the state.
Senate Bill 5220: SB 5220 will direct the Department of Revenue to ensure that critical habitat restoration projects, which provide many public benefits, remain exempt from sales tax. Significant restoration funding is essential in Washington State to enhance natural areas, protect salmon habitat, and ensure that natural resource-based businesses can survive and thrive. Senate Bill 5220 helps maximize our investment for our public lands and does not represent a change to any state revenue.
House Bill 1216: Concerning urban and community forestry, HB 1216 would direct the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to conduct analyses of needs and opportunities related to urban forestry in Washington, and provide technical assistance and capacity building resources and opportunities, especially to urban communities.
Information from King County Salmon SEEson Press Release Pacific salmon – including sockeye, Chinook, coho, pink and chum – have begun the journey from the open ocean to their birthplaces in King County streams and
A long-held aspiration throughout the Mountains to Sound Greenway is to link urban, rural, and wildland trail systems for recreation and transportation. While residents of our region enjoy a world-class system of safe, enjoyable, non-motorized
Extraordinary good news is especially welcome right now. 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.