For more than 30 years government and non profit groups across King County have used the Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) to protect from development 111,000 acres of land, forests, shorelines, greenways and trails. Funding has supported such diverse projects as Seattle's Duwamish Head Greenbelt, development rights on the Snoqualmie Forest and Puget Sound shoreline in Burien. Parks have been built, salmon habitat restored, and our quality of life improved.
In many cases CFT made the difference between parcels of land being lost to development or keeping it as open space to benefit our environment, health, economy and quality of life. The success of CFT is attributed to:
- Strong leadership from elected leaders, volunteers, advocates and residents.
- Grants to cities that support open space priorities in local plans;
- The requirement of a 100 percent match from other sources.
Learn more about the history of Conservation Future programs.
Conservation Futures Accomplishments
- $330 million in CFT funds and over $150 million in matching funds have preserved the irreplaceable
- 110,000 acres in King County including Maury Island
- 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways
- Start up funding to preserve over 12,000 acres of farmland in the 1980's and 1,000 acres since 2000
- Over 5,000 acres of watershed and salmon habitat
- Critical links connecting regional trails and urban greenbelts.
Get Active; Get Involved
- Watch for vacancies and apply to advisory and citizen committees
- Volunteer for parks and habitat restoration events in your community
- Share your support or opposition for projects during public processes
- Build appreciation for the legacy—tell friends about the cool places to have fun
- Enjoy the outdoors, find fresh food, advocate, volunteer
Already involved in resource land conservation?
- Mentor a young person; show them the ropes
- Tell your story and the power of CFT partnerships
- Think of the future and how to protect our quality of life
History of the Conservation Futures Program
In the early 1970s the Washington State Legislature passed a series of environmental protection laws including the Conservation Futures Tax. The Legislature stated that it was a 'fundamental and inalienable right' of citizens to have a healthy and pleasant environment. Lead sponsor of the CFT, Washington State Senator Alan Bluechel of Kirkland, had the foresight to know counties needed a funding mechanism to protect and preserve resource lands. In 1982, King County became the first county to use CFT funds on the recommendation of the Farmlands Preservation Task Force.
Read more about the history of Conservation Future programs in Washington State at HistoryLink.org.
For questions about this program, please contact David Tiemann at 206-477-4836.
Learn how Conservation Futures preserves open spaces in King County - 12 minute video
Remarks from King County Executive Dow Constantine on the 30th anniversary of Conservation Futures
News and announcements
September 6, 2016
Protecting King County’s most valuable remaining farms, forests, habitats and other green spaces from development
July 25, 2016
An Urban Refuge Where Humans And Wildlife Coexist (external article, EarthFix)
November 23, 2015
Council approves addition of more land to “Green Curtain” (external article, Maple Valley Reporter)
August 28, 2015
King County sets meetings to share details of proposed protected lands inventory changes
July 10, 2015
Land preservation: Leaders celebrate Vashon-Maury Island’s most-valued open spaces