The Snoqualmie Valley is one of the last rural valleys in King County. Its vast forests, valuable streams and waterways and critical farms provide clean air and water, healthy food, recreation opportunities, and a place for people to connect to the outdoors. The Snoqualmie Valley is immediately adjacent to the Seattle/Bellevue metropolis and its 1.4 million people. In spite of its proximity to urban areas, the Snoqualmie Valley is still 96% rural.
The Snoqualmie Valley’s open spaces, its forests, rivers and farms, are important to both the residents and visitors. Over 65,000 residents live in and around the cities of Snoqualmie, North Bend, Duvall, Carnation, and the unincorporated communities of Fall City, Preston and Snoqualmie Pass. Each year, over 1.5 million people visit Snoqualmie Falls alone. The open spaces provide critical habitat and natural services as well as abundant opportunities for people from across the region to connect with nature through education, recreation and tourism. Almost 80% of the Valley is permanently conserved forest and provides many benefits to the public including clean air, flood management, drinking water filtration and local weather and climate stability. The Valley also includes the 14,500 acre Snoqualmie Agricultural Production District (APD). The farms in and around the APD are the closest food source to Seattle and have the potential to provide many of the fruits and vegetables consumed in our region. The Snoqualmie River is regionally important for Chinook salmon recovery as well as for other listed fish species. The forests, rivers and farms improve the quality of life and ensure a healthy place for living, working and visiting.
The beautiful forested mountains, clean air and water, local food and recreation are enjoyed by many. However, this love and appreciation does not protect them from the many pressures they currently face and will continue to face in the future. Population growth, high land prices, overuse, increases in development and climate change all threaten the open spaces we expect to be able to enjoy indefinitely. An increase in the awareness of and support for these working lands is critical for their preservation. A long term balance between the forests, rivers and farms and the people that live in and around the Valley is essential for its future.
Local and tribal government, non-profits and community groups have worked hard to make the Valley what it is today. Many groups are still hard at work to ensure a Valley future that is sustainable for the environment, the economy and the people who live, work and visit the Snoqualmie Valley.
Leaders and stakeholders in the Valley have identified the following needs:
Safeguard the long-term health of the vast public and private forests that cover 80% of the Snoqualmie Valley. Encourage sustainable and productive forest management. Promote investment on public forests, private landowner incentives, technical and cost share support and improved forestry infrastructure. Increase public awareness of the regional value these forests provide in ecosystem services. Explore ways to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to climate change.
Ensure a thriving agricultural community and long-term farmer success to provide local food security. Support agriculture through farmland preservation, measures to ensure affordability of land for farmers and technical support. Safeguard water resources and find solutions to regulatory challenges. Increase awareness of the values of this local food source and work to ensure more Valley food is eaten at tables across the greater Seattle area. Develop and implement a marketing plan to increase awareness of agritourism opportunities available in the Valley.
Fish, Wildlife, and Waterways
Guarantee clean water, thriving salmon runs, and healthy wildlife habitat. Develop collaborative strategies across jurisdictions to achieve maximum ecological benefits. Explore options for flood management that will support all of goals listed.
Assess and improve access, infrastructure, safety and sanitation for a wide array of outdoor recreation activities in the Valley. Ensure a connected trail network that allows for residents and visitors to travel easily to forests, farms and local community attractions. Enhance outdoor experience for Sunday drivers. Establish adequate signage and interpretation opportunities. Ensure there is broad understanding of the regional value the recreational amenities of the Snoqualmie Valley provide and that adequate funding is provided to maintain it.
Outdoor Education and Community Engagement
Promote Snoqualmie Valley as an outdoor classroom for the region. Enhance and support programs and camps that connect youth with the outdoors. Increase awareness of volunteer opportunities and encourage local participation. Develop a long-term ethic of education and stewardship for public and private lands in the Valley. Guarantee that the current and future generations share a strong sense of place and, in conjunction with the Snoqualmie Tribe, have an appreciation for the history and values of the Valley.