July 23, 2012
King County celebrates 30 years of protecting open space, forests, and farms
Conservation Futures Program proves to be a valuable preservation tool that forges strong partnerships to create a legacy of public lands
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, the Queen Anne Hill Greenbelt, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens—these are just a few of the irreplaceable green spaces King County has protected from development through its successful Conservation Futures Program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems, and preserved beautiful open space for us – and future generations – to enjoy,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
The County and its partners are celebrating 30 years of Conservation Futures with a new website (www.kingcounty.gov/conservationfutures), the first official history of the program, and a volunteer trail-maintenance event on Saturday, July 28.
Since its inception in 1982, Conservation Futures Program funds have been used to preserve more than 110,000 acres across King County, including rugged undeveloped lands, urban parks and greenways and more than 12,000 acres of farmland.
The program’s hallmark is the citizens committee that reviews requests for funding and partnerships with cities, nonprofit groups and volunteers. CFT grants require at least a 100 percent match from other sources, which has leveraged more than $150 million in matching funds over 30 years.
The CFT 30th anniversary celebration includes a trail work party sponsored by Washington Trail Association at the top of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, the first parkland purchased with Conservation Futures in 1982.
The work party is set for Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The group will assemble at the Anti-Aircraft Peak Trailhead, at the end of Southeast Cougar Mountain Drive.
Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Snacks and refreshments provided. The Washington Trails Association is a long time partner with King County in preserving open space and providing access to outdoor recreation and has provided thousands of hours of volunteer work in King County parks.
Additionally, there will be a special geo-caching challenge this fall designed to get people out into parkland, forests and trails that benefited from Conservation Futures. Updates will be available at www.kingcounty.gov/conservationfutures.
Learn more about Conservation Futures at HistoryLink.org; http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=10057.