Program has preserved 111,000 acres of vital green space across King County
StoryMany of the people who had a role in the effort to maintain and expand King County’s “Green Curtain” were recognized today as the Metropolitan King County Council celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Conservation Futures program.
“Over the last 30 years, acre by acre, the Conservation Futures program has amassed an extraordinary legacy of green spaces that are now preserved from development in perpetuity,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, sponsor of the recognition. “The people behind this forward-thinking program have ensured that the great landscapes and tremendous natural beauty we all cherish will remain a part of this region forever.”
“Open space is a vital ingredient to a healthy community,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Conservation Future Funds have been used to give neighborhoods throughout King County an asset that is priceless: areas to recreate in and properties that will be untouched by development and available to future generations.”
“The enduring legacy of this program is its significant contribution to our environment and thus our quality of life,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.
“The Conservation Futures program is unique because it transcends generations. Its impact has been felt over the last thirty years in South King County, and it will continue to flourish and preserve King County’s farmland, forests, parks, and all open space for generations to come,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.
The Conservation Futures program was part of environmental protection legislation adopted by the Washington state Legislature in the 70’s. The Conservation Futures Fund is supported by a countywide property tax, which by state law can only be used to purchase open space or resource lands.
“There is great value in preserving open-space and future generations will be so thankful for this work,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “I want to thank everyone who has worked on the Conservation Futures program – millions of people will benefit from their extraordinary work.”
“It is important to preserve our open and natural spaces for recreation and reflection on our environmental heritage,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents northeast King County. “Lands acquired with Conservation Futures funding enable us to maintain open space for people to hike, relax and enjoy nature as well as providing wildlife habitat and making an investment in quality of life for future generations.”
Over the last 30 years, the Conservation Futures program has helped to save 111,000 acres of farmland, forests, and parks and open space all over King County. Those acres include:
• 99,000 acres of regionally important forest land in the Cascades and its foothills, such as the Snoqualmie Forest and Taylor Mountain;
• over 4,700 acres of riverside habitat needed for salmon and clean water, including property along the Cedar, Green, Tolt, and Snoqualmie rivers;
• over 3,500 acres of much loved King County Parks & Trails, including Cougar Mountain, Marymoor Park, and Soaring Eagle Park;
• over 3,000 acres of urban open space in more than 200 projects in Seattle and suburban cities, including majestic vistas in Discovery Park and the Olympic Sculpture Park; and
• over 4 miles of Puget Sound Shoreline, including rare madrone forests and eelgrass bed habitat in Maury Island Marine Park.
“The Conservation Futures program has been critical to funding preservation in King County, including spaces in north King County such as the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline, Seattle’s Hubbard Homestead Park in Northgate, and the Fries Family Property in Bothell,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “I am grateful to those who created the program and those who continue its vital work.”
“Conservation and preservation are values King County residents take very seriously,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “I commend all the hard working volunteers and all involved who have made the Conservation Futures Program a successful one for 30 years.”
King County became the first county in the state to use Conservation Futures Funds in 1982 on the recommendation of the County’s Farmlands Preservation Task Force. The recognition today honored the county officials who created the program: Executive Randy Revelle and King County Councilmembers Audrey Gruger, Scott Blair, Bill Reams, Lois North, Ruby Chow, Bruce Laing, Paul Barden, Bob Greive, and Gary Grant.
The council also recognized the 13 current and 31 past volunteers who served as members of the Citizens Oversight Committee. This committee makes recommendations on parcels for purchase through the Conservation Futures program in a competitive application process.
WHEREAS, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Futures Program—also known as the CFT—created by Executive Randy Revelle and King County Councilmembers Audrey Gruger, Scott Blair, Bill Reams, Lois North, Ruby Chow, Bruce Laing, Paul Barden, Bob Greive, and Gary Grant; and
WHEREAS, the 13 current and 31 past members of the Conservation Futures Citizens Committee have put countless hours and energy into making this program successful; and
WHEREAS, the CFT was initiated in King County to provide startup funding for the Farmlands Protection Program, through which development rights were purchased to permanently protect over 12,000 acres of farmland; and
WHEREAS, during the past three decades, the CFT has helped local governments acquire recreational lands, wildlife and rare plant habitat, and green spaces, resulting in protecting over 111,000 acres of urban and rural open space in King County; and
WHEREAS, the CFT has helped the County preserve 99,000 acres of regionally important forest land in the Cascades and its foothills, such as the Snoqualmie Forest and Taylor Mountain;
over 4,700 acres of riverside habitat needed for salmon and clean water, including property along the Cedar, Green, Tolt, and Snoqualmie rivers;
over 3,500 acres of much loved King County Parks & Trails, including Cougar Mountain, Marymoor Park, and Soaring Eagle Park;
over 3,000 acres of urban open space in more than 200 projects in Seattle and suburban cities, including majestic vistas in Discovery Park and the Olympic Sculpture Park; and
over 4 miles of Puget Sound Shoreline, including rare madrone forests and eelgrass bed habitat in Maury Island Marine Park;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the
CONSERVATION FUTURES PROGRAM and the CITIZENS COMMITTEE
on this 30th anniversary of the program’s inception, for their noble work in protecting King County’s priceless landscapes, open spaces, and habitat.
DATED this twenty-seventh day of August, 2012.
Councilmembers are joined by former County Executive Randy Revelle and Conservation Futures Citizens Oversight Committee Chair Terry Lavender as the Council celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Conservation Futures Program.