Winding hiking trails, glistening mountain lakes, and tree-covered valleys that give way to rugged peaks and patches of snow. This is all part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a 1.5 million-acre landscape stretching from Puget Sound to central Washington. And if conservationists get their way, it will join a list of roughly 50 areas officially recognized as unique, historic, and valuable to future generations by the federal government.
It has been a busy time of year for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, which works to conserve and enhance the Greenway. Last week, the Greenway Trust welcomed a new executive director, Jon Hoekstra. Hoekstra has a deep background in conservationism —he spent nearly a decade at The Nature Conservancy, serving as Senior Scientist, Science Director, and Managing Director of the Global Climate Change Program. Most recently he's served as Chief Scientist and Vice President for Science at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) from 2012 until last month.
Hoekstra’s first major initiative will be to turn the Greenway into a National Heritage Area. The chief aim of this designation is to preserve and promote the region, encouraging collaboration between agencies, enhancing funding opportunities through public-private partnerships, increasing tourism through branding campaigns, and allowing ecological restoration across multiple jurisdictions, property owners, and watersheds.
Nina Selipsky is an editorial intern at Crosscut. She is a senior at Lakeside School in Seattle, where she is an editor and writer for the school newspaper. Nina spent last summer working with a non-profit in rural India, interviewing and writing about local women. When she is not working, you can find Nina skiing, rowing with her crew team, or going to concerts with friends. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.