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Encouraging economic development, conserving resources: County Council adopts Skykomish initiative


Multi-step proposal to enhance opportunities, while protecting historic town


The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous support to a project designed to create more economic opportunities in the town of Skykomish even as it protects the resources—both historic and natural—of the communities nestled in the northeastern part of King County.

“I am very pleased that the council voted unanimously to support this project,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, the prime sponsor of the motion, and who represents Skykomish on the County Council. “Skykomish is the little town that could and I am so supportive of its energetic, resilient citizens who are making a powerful resurgence happen.”

“I don’t want to see some of the last remaining stands of unprotected old-growth forest in King County cut down during my time on the County Council,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and cosponsor of the motion. “We have a unique opportunity to both promote economic growth and tourism in the Skykomish Valley, while protecting forever some of our most treasured open space thanks to this partnership. I am thrilled the motion which Councilmember Lambert and I co-authored has received such broad support.” 

“Skykomish is an undiscovered gem,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips, a cosponsor of the motion. “Rich in history and opportunity, we lose something very special when they are gone. With our action today, the County commits to a partnership that will help Skykomish and the surrounding towns survive and thrive.”

Skykomish and the Skykomish Valley are located in the northeastern part of King County along U.S. Highway 2 (Stevens Pass Highway), the Great Northern railroad corridor, and the South Fork Skykomish River. It includes the Town of Skykomish as well as the communities of Baring, Grotto, and Scenic.

The Skykomish Valley is home to a number of important natural resources, recreational and historic amenities, and infrastructure facilities, including the Skykomish River a state-designated scenic river, and the Skykomish River Watershed. The valley’s history includes communities linked to railroads, forests, rivers and Native American culture.

Rural towns in many areas of the country have found that proximity to recreational trails and activities can promote economic development, increase business opportunities, and enhance local quality of life. The motion adopted by the Council supports the Skykomish Valley Economic Development, Recreation, and Natural Resource Conservation Initiative. The initiative recognizes the shared vision of the Town of Skykomish and the Stevens Pass Greenway to enhance economic development, increase recreation opportunities and conserve the natural resources in the Skykomish Valley.  

The goal of the initiative is to protect and preserve the valuable open space, habitat  and some of the last unprotected old growth forest in King County, while fostering economic development by offering opportunities for recreation on local trails, along the river, and in the valley’s wilderness areas. The motion affirms the involvement of King County in working to ensure the continued protection and preservation of the resources of the Skykomish Valley and to support local communities with necessary infrastructure and services.

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