Cedar River Watershed Education Center
This regional education facility connects people with the source of their water. Nestled above the shores of Rattlesnake Lake in the Cascade foothills, the Watershed Education Center is a gateway to the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, which provides drinking water for more than a million people in the greater Seattle area. The Center provides education, interpretation and tours focused on the region’s unique ecology and its connection to the water supply.
The 90,000 acres of the Cedar River Watershed supply the majority (70%) of Seattle’s and King County’s drinking supply with water so clean it requires no filtration as part of treating the water. The geology of the upper watershed acts as its own filtration, with surface water seeping through a region of deep and porous glacial outwash to gather in an underground aquifer before resurfacing in springs and creeks along the Cedar River. During the early years of white settlement, the watershed was heavily logged: one third of the watershed was cleared between 1900 and 1924 and the watershed was dotted with logging camps and sawmills. Less than a quarter of the watershed’s original old-growth forest remains today, but the remote nature of the watershed’s second growth forest provides an important concentrated area of undisturbed habitat for recovering salmon runs and other species.