The purchase of 82 acres of timberland neighboring the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River will ensure more room to roam in the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead area.
The land, which had been owned and harvested by local timber companies for more than 100 years, was headed toward development. Now, it will be added to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) owned by the state of Washington and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“We are delighted to add this property to the conservation area,” said Brock Milliern, statewide recreation manager for DNR. “It’s a natural gateway to some of Washington state’s most beautiful trails. We needed to improve the access points and amenities to serve the growing number of recreation users – now we have room to do this.”
The Trust for Public Land negotiated and managed the purchase, which was funded with help from King County, as well as DNR. King County will hold a conservation easement on the property that ensures the land will be retained forever in a natural, open space and scenic condition.
“We are proud of our partnership role in this acquisition, which will preserve this precious habitat for future generations,” said Kevin Brown, King County Parks Director.
It’s a sentiment shared by others.
“We helped to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway more than 25 years ago,” said Paul Kundtz, state director of The Trust for Public Land. “It’s enormously rewarding to conserve this beautiful land in the face of the explosive housing growth around North Bend.”
“The Middle Fork Snoqualmie is one of the most popular recreation areas in the Mountains to Sound Greenway,” said Jon Hoekstra, executive director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “It’s an easy drive from Seattle, and only minutes from North Bend’s restaurants and shops. These parcels sit right at the entry of this amazing wild valley and it is a real win to see them remain as a forested gateway for generations to come.”
DNR, King County, Greenway Trust and The Trust for Public Land are exploring options for the property, possibly by restoring roads and access points remaining from timber harvesting as the basis for establishing ADA-friendly trails. This purchase also enables DNR to provide better access and amenities for those coming to hike Mailbox Peak.
DNR-managed conservation lands
DNR manages 56 natural area preserves and 36 natural resources conservation areas on nearly 157,000 acres statewide. Natural area preserves protect high-quality examples of native ecosystems and rare plant and animal species. They are also genetic reserves for Washington’s native species and reference sites for comparing natural and altered environments. Natural resources conservation areas protect lands that have high conservation values for ecological systems, scenic qualities, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreational opportunities. These sites also host environmental education and approved research projects.
The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly ten million people live within a one-half mile walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
About King County Parks
King County Parks - Your Big Backyard - offers more than 200 parks and 28,000 acres of open space, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails, 215 miles of backcountry trails and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs. Learn more at www.kingcounty.gov/parks.
About the Mountains to Sound Greenway
The Mountains to Sound Greenway is the 1.5 million-acre landscape connecting Puget Sound and central Washington. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, teach people of all ages about forests and wildlife, and mobilize thousands of volunteers to care for the landscape.
The Greenway Trust is leading a bipartisan campaign to have the U.S. Congress designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. Learn more at www.GreenwayHeritage.org.
Media Contact: Eryn Akers, Recreation Communications Consultant, 360-902-1066, email@example.com.