The Mountains to Sound Greenway has nearly 60 percent of its 1.5 million acres in public ownership, a miracle of land-conservation ingenuity. For three decades, our community’s conservation organizations and public agencies have worked together to assemble this treasure trove of public land through a creative mixture of land swaps, easements, public grants, state investment, and strategic acquisition of priority parcels by land trusts. Our founder, Jim Ellis, was a master at navigating these waters.
The era of large-scale conservation in the Greenway is coming to a close, but the work is far from complete. Numerous key parcels scattered across the Greenway hold high value for wildlife habitat, connectivity, and of course, sustainable recreation access for Washington’s huge-and-growing outdoor recreation community.
The recipe of the last 30 years needs updating to tackle this next challenge. In a time of rising real estate prices, these key parcels are in high demand and frequently sell above the market-price limit public agencies can pay to acquire them. It will fall to private-sector conservation to actively pursue these, work with sellers and agencies, and ensure that we don’t miss precious chances to connect vital corridors and strengthen our community’s access to nature.
To prioritize this urgent work, the Greenway Trust and The Trust for Public Land have expanded upon 30 years of partnership by launching the Jim Ellis Fund for Land Conservation. The fund will create an on-hand pool of resources that will ensure we can move quickly when opportunities arise to bring the highest-priority places across the Greenway into public ownership and ensure they can’t be gated off and lost forever.
The Greenway and its spectacular public lands belong to all of us. Its future rests on the decisions we make together today. We need your help to make this important work possible and grow that legacy.
Read more about the legacy of Jim and the long-standing partnership with TPL in this blog