80 Acres for Mountains to Sound Greenway (WA)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 9/25/01 – Saving a key forest parcel in the I-90 corridor from development, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), United States Forest Service, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), King County, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway have successfully joined efforts to protect 80 acres adjoining the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area.

Until the acquisition was completed, the Kimball Creek parcel was slated for development. The public/private land transaction puts a halt to a bit of urban sprawl in a fast-growing area, and provides much-needed open space and habitat corridors at the north boundary of Rattlesnake Mountain.

In the first of a three-part process, TPL purchased the Kimball Creek property. The Forest Legacy Program, administered by DNR on behalf of the United States Forest Service, purchased the development rights to the property, using a conservation easement to perpetually protect the land from future development. The final part of the transaction, with the help of the Mountains to Sound Greenway organization, included TPL’s donation of the remaining forestland value to King County and DNR for inclusion in the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area, which is jointly managed by the two agencies.

Roger Hoesterey, TPL Northwest regional director, commented, “Preserving the Kimball Creek parcel is a great success for the conservation work of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, TPL, King County and DNR. This collaborative effort will help safeguard an important wildlife corridor in our region.”

“Maintaining this as forested open space is a great gift to the people of Washington, as it adds to the scenic transition from the spectacular Cascades to our vital downtown cores of Seattle and Tacoma,” said Doug Sutherland, commissioner of Public Lands. “And at the heart of the matter is long-term protection of key habitat corridors, and air and water quality.”

“Conserving places like the Kimball Creek property is key to balancing the healthy growth of our communities with preserving the irreplaceable landscapes that make our region special,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “The significant work and partnership that enabled this acquisition to be successful is testimony to the dedication our communities have to saving our natural landscapes.”

The parcel is in clear view from the I-90 highway, named a National Scenic Byway. The land acquisition protects scenic values, wildlife corridors and habitat, and water quality. It also helps protect the scenic and ecologic integrity of Rattlesnake Mountain. It also secures a link to an earlier 1996 Forest Legacy Program acquisition of 1,100 acres in the greenway.

The Forest Legacy Program helps meet state and local goals.

Washington’s multiple use forestlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the greatest impact is being felt in the “rural” and “forest” growth management zones – an area sometimes referred to as the “Transition Zone.” The transition zone occurs where unprotected resource lands are being converted to urban and rural uses directly resulting from the pressures of increased population growth. Working with local partnerships, Washington’s Forest Legacy Program strives to protect important forestlands, and for this and for future generations.

The Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area was purchased jointly in 1993 by the Washington State DNR and King County, using funds from the King County Conservation Futures Program and a special legislative appropriation to DNR. The scenic area is the first parcel of land to be co-owned and managed by DNR and King County, and it is managed by DNR’s Natural Areas Program staff to preserve the scenic and ecological character of the mountain.

The Trust for Public Land conserves lands and resources.

The Trust for Public Land is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization that works across the nation to protect natural and historic resources for present and future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance and law to protect land for public use. Working with private landowners, communities and government agencies, TPL has helped protect more than 1,400 special places nationwide for people to enjoy such as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, historic landmarks and wilderness lands. For more information about TPL’s work in the Northwest, please visit www.tpl.org or call (206) 587-2447.

DNR manages lands 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’s 12th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.