171 Acres on Mt. Si Protected (WA)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 3/6/02 – A partnership of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) helped protect 171 acres along the southeast side of Mount Si. Its acquisition ensures permanent protection of a popular outdoor recreation site and preservation of important contiguous habitat and wildlife corridors.

Last week, TPL purchased the private property and conveyed ownership to DNR for permanent stewardship. DNR’s funding for the acquisition came from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program administered by the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. The newly acquired property was one of the few remaining in-holdings of private land within the 8,700-acre Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The parcel will become part of the NRCA, protecting its scenic landscape and providing public access to a viewpoint and trailhead. It is also an important addition to the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

“This is just one more example of how the people and organizations in this area have been terrific partners in helping to protect valuable habitat corridors and recreation opportunities, to put land into its best use” said Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland. “Partnerships that come together to focus their energies can accomplish so much for the public.”

In 1987, Mount Si became one of the first four designated NRCAs in Washington State. Mount Si NRCA was established to protect a fragile ecosystem with tremendous scenic resources, wildflower communities, recreational opportunities and habitat for native mountain goats, elk, bear, cougar and the endangered Peregrine falcon.

“I am very pleased that TPL was able to help protect this substantial inholding in the Mount Si NRCA. Its permanent conservation ensures that the mountain’s natural resource and important open space for the community will forever remain intact,” commented TPL Project Manager Rinee Merritt.

A History of Partnership: TPL, DNR and the Mountains to Sound Greenway

Following Washington’s Interstate 90 from the shores of the Puget Sound into the Kittitas Valley, the Mountain to Sound Greenway embraces 100 miles of natural wonder, beauty and history and was the first to be designated a National Scenic Byway. For more than a decade, DNR and TPL have partnered with other state, federal and local agencies and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to protect the lands that complete the linkage of trails, recreation areas, scenic and productive forestlands, open space and wildlife habitats. In 2001, TPL helped protect 4,716 acres in the Greenway with a fair market value of more than $20 million.

TPL: Conserving Land for People

The Trust for Public Land is a nationwide nonprofit organization that specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance and law to protect land. For two years in a row, TPL has ranked the nation’s most efficient charity in the conservation field by Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine. For more information about TPL’s work in the Northwest, please call (206) 587-2447.

DNR: Managing Land to Meet Diverse Goals

DNR, led by Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland, manages more than 3 million acres of state-owned trust forest, agricultural, range lands and commercial properties that earn income to build schools, universities and other state institutions, and help fund local services in many counties. In addition to earning income, trust lands protect habitat for native plant and animal species, clean and abundant water, and offer public recreation and education opportunities statewide.

DNR is steward of about 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands – beaches and lands under Puget Sound and the coast, navigable lakes and rivers. They are managed to protect fish and wildlife, provide commerce and navigation, and access for all the people of the state. DNR also manages state Natural Resource Conservation Areas and state Natural Area Preserves that protect unique and threatened native ecosystems, and which offer educational and research opportunities. Some natural areas also are open to hikers.

Doug Sutherland is Washington state’s 12th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889. For more information about DNR, visit www.wa.gov/dnr.