Dec. 30, 2010
County gets the keys to Maury Island property
Open space acquisition brings end to 13 years of efforts to expand mine
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced today the successful completion of the purchase of the sand and gravel site on Maury Island, ending 13 years of efforts to expand the mine. The County took possession of the land this morning, including the keys to the property gate.
‘Here, as 2011 dawns, we celebrate victory for Puget Sound in a struggle waged since the late 1990s. When, as a freshman state legislator, I learned from citizen activist Sharon Nelson of the threat to Maury Island, neither of us could have imagined the twists and turns, the setbacks and the breakthroughs, on the long journey to this moment,” said King County Executive, Dow Constantine. “The heroes of this long battle are too numerous to mention: Tenacious Vashon/Maury residents; Courageous elected officials; Skilled, public-minded lawyers; Dedicated environmental donors and leaders. Some are here to celebrate, some no longer with us. Every one was critical in securing this victory for the Sound and future generations.”
The property includes 250 acres of open space, including pure Madrone forests, and habitat that supports endangered species in Puget Sound such as Chinook Salmon, Orca and Bull Trout. When combined with the adjacent Maury Island Marine Park, the two sites will represent the largest public holding of protected marine shoreline in all of Puget Sound. The land is paid for through the use of King County Conservation Futures Funds, which by state law can only be used to purchase open space or resource lands.
Constantine has been working on the land acquisition from Northwest Aggregates Company (NWA) throughout the year, and negotiated the purchase and sale agreement with the involvement of the Cascade Land Conservancy. The council adopted the Executive’s proposed purchase and sale of the property on December 6, including the adoption of his financing package.
“I am ecstatic that the journey of over a dozen years by community activists, private parties and government has resulted in King County closing the deal to purchase the Glacier Mine site on Maury Island,” said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents Vashon and Maury Islands. “What a fantastic way to end this year and an inspirational example of the power of collaboration as we embark on 2011.”
“I would like to thank State Senator Sharon Nelson,” added Constantine. “Senator Nelson worked tirelessly to secure the state funds that were necessary to finalize this acquisition.”
The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks will now work to with the community to improve the property for public open space, while restoring the ecological habitat for wildlife. The mile of shoreline that is part of the purchase is the longest undeveloped stretch of shore in King County, and will be a critical part of the region’s wildlife habitat for fish, birds and Puget Sound marine life.