Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

The Mountains to Sound Greenway stretches between Puget Sound and Central Washington. With accessible natural areas, world-class recreation, livable communities, productive working lands and incomparable scenic beauty, it’s easy to see why it is a special place in this region.

VolunteersThe Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust works with partners across the landscape, including community organizations, businesses, agencies, citizens and cities. Since its inception in 1991, the Greenway Trust has played an important role in supporting local communities as they pursue a sustainable future. Greenway communities want help with marketing and economic development, but they also want help in following the Greenway model of hands-on stewardship and education. With years of experience facilitating land acquisitions, trail planning, volunteerism and environmental education, the Greenway has important resources to offer cities as they work with local residents to build sustainable, economically vibrant communities.

Partnerships are the backbone of success in the Greenway. Many cities and towns in the Mountains to Sound Greenway look for help from the Greenway Trust to run a large-scale volunteer restoration project, locate a new trail, or run a science-based outdoor education program.  Projects on the ground can help connect a community to the surrounding landscape and foster a sense of personal responsibility for the natural world. This is where the Greenway Trust comes in, helping to engage volunteers in ecological restoration, reaching youth through education and service learning and connecting communities by filling gaps in an extensive regional trail system.

The recent filling of a regional trail gap in Seattle is a prime example of how the Greenway Trust goes the distance in coordinating efforts with partners. With the support of the Greenway Trust, the City of Seattle, the Seattle Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, and many community groups worked together to fill a critical regional trail link in Seattle on Beacon Hill, connecting the trail along I-90 to downtown. The new trail runs through Dr. José Rizal Park and allows safe, off-road access to the stadium district as it crosses over I-5 at Holgate Street. It is a trail project that was decades in the making and is considered to be a major collaborative success for the area.

After 20 years of success, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust held public planning sessions focusing on the next 20 years with hundreds of local partners, including city governments, businesses, environmental groups, citizen activists and federal land managers. These discussions led to the conclusion that it is time to make the Greenway official as a National Heritage Area.

The designation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area by the U.S. Congress is a key strategy in preserving this iconic landscape. Formal recognition of the Greenway will strengthen a sense of place, enhance funding opportunities, empower partners to work together more efficiently, and formalize the Greenway coalition’s cooperative management style across this broad landscape.

The Greenway Trust is currently seeking support for National Heritage Area Designation.  Visit mtsgreenway.org to find out how you can help bring official recognition to this special area.

By Erin MacCoy, Communications Manager, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust