March 19, 2012
Council gives its support for designation of Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area
Encouraging United States Congress to give official recognition to Mountains to Sound Greenway
The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted a motion urging the designation the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. The motion calls on Congress to give the designation to an area that stretches from downtown Seattle over the Cascades into central Washington.
“The Mountains to Sound Greenway is truly one of the jewels of the Pacific Northwest,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion. “I thank my colleagues for joining me in urging Congress to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area.”
“The Mountains to Sound Greenway provides some of the most beautiful landscapes in our nation, so it is fitting for designation as a National Heritage Area,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and a member of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Advisory Council. “I have worked throughout my career to help secure and conserve lands that make up the Mountains to Sound Greenway because they are so critical to the heritage and sustainability of our region and nation.”
“The Mountains to Sound Greenway has been a bold vision which has been masterfully executed,” said Council Vice Chair and sponsor Jane Hague. “This area absolutely needs to be a National Heritage site.”
“The stretch of green that surrounds I-90 showcases the natural beauty of our region, and the Council wholeheartedly supports efforts to gain National Heritage Area designation,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, a co-sponsor of the motion and member of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Advisory Council.
The Mountain to Sound Greenway is a national scenic byway that stretches over 100 miles along I-90 from the waterfront in Seattle all the way to Central Washington. It includes forests, farms, historic sites, lakes, campgrounds, rivers, trails, wildlife habitat and local communities. The Greenway is the result of a public-private coalition that has preserved over 750,000 acres of land for education, recreation, and environmental stewardship.
In 1991, the non-profit Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust was formed, and is currently governed by a 60-member board of directors representing a diversity of conservation, development, business, and local, state, and federal interests.
The adopted motion urges the U.S. Congress to recognize the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as landscapes wherein historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects can be more easily supported through public-private partnerships.
An important feature of a National Heritage Area designation is that while it strengthens conservation efforts, the designation does not affect private property rights, legislate new lands, nor add land-use regulations or more regulatory authority for lands within the designated area.
There are currently 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, but designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway would make it the first in Washington State. It already holds the distinction of being designated the country’s first National Scenic Byway.