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The Mountains to Sound Greenway connects natural areas, trails, working farms and forests, historic towns and communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities along the broad area surrounding 100 miles of Interstate 90 from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington. The easy access to recreation and nature is a priceless asset to the region’s quality of life for the three million people who live within a 40 minute drive of the Greenway.
The Greenway Trust, the driving force behind the preservation and enhancement of the 1.5-million acre Greenway, leads a broad-based alliance of conservation and recreation groups, private corporations and government agencies committed to careful planning for preservation of clean air, clean water, recreational opportunities and forested open space. Since 1991, the Greenway Trust has worked to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, preserve the unique qualities of historic towns, teach people of all ages about the importance of conserving forests and wildlife, improve recreation access, create new parks and trails and mobilize thousands of volunteers. Involving the public in the stewardship of these lands is critical to the long-term health and protection of this vital landscape.
Over the last year, more than 3,800 volunteers—half were youth— donated over 46,000 hours to enhancing public natural areas and recreation sites throughout the Greenway, including planting over 34,000 new native trees and shrubs. An additional 2,800 King County school children participated in our popular Environmental Education program, combining classroom and field work in inquiry-based natural science exploration and problem solving.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway vision has inspired public investment of millions of dollars to save farms and forest lands along the Interstate 90 corridor through purchase and through conservation easements. Since 1991, the successful acquisition of over 130,000 acres and another 70,000 acres protected through conservation easements, has created this model for urban/rural coexistence with a total of 900,000 acres of connected public lands managed for the public’s benefit. In 1998 the history, recreation, great scenery and cooperation in the Mountains to Sound Greenway earned the western 100 miles of Interstate 90 the designation of National Scenic Byway, the first interstate highway so honored. Some of the regional “icon” properties acquired by the public under the framework of the Greenway Plan include historic Meadowbrook Farm, between the towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend; several properties zoned for highway commercial at the entrance to the state’s most popular hiking trailhead on Tiger Mountain; Preston Mill on the banks of the Raging River just east of Issaquah; the forested backdrop of major tourist attraction Snoqualmie Falls; and Snoqualmie Point Park just south of I-90 Exit 27, one of the most spectacular and accessible viewpoints in King County for all to enjoy.