Skookumchuck. Photo: Molly MorrowPhoto credit: Molly Morrow

Development has reduced Washington State's rare shrub-steppe habitat to a quarter of its historic size, and plans for an 8,500 acre wind farm seemed to threaten the last privately held expanse of that landscape—Skookumchuck, located in Kittitas County, just east of the Cascade Mountains. For over 25 years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) had sought to protect the land and conserve vital habitat for a myriad of native species, including endangered sage grouse and steelhead salmon. The wind-farm development actually opened the doors to the conservation of the surrounding land, and, working closely with WDFW, local government leaders, and other partners, TPL managed the purchase of over 17,500 acres of land, creating a link between two existing wildlife areas and keeping the land safe for wildlife to roam and people to enjoy hiking, birding, fishing and hunting. The project was completed in 2008.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.