County leader celebrates 30 years of conservation

July 23, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 5 p.m. July 23, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space turns 30 in 2012, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

In the last 30 years, county officials used $300 million in Conservation Futures Program funds and more than $150 million in matching funds to preserve land, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park near Issaquah. Overall, Conservation Futures Program dollars enabled the county to conserve 108,600 acres countywide, add 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways, and protect 4,700 acres of watershed and salmon habitat.

Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with Conservation Futures Program funds.

“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems and preserved beautiful open space for us — and future generations — to enjoy,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

Washington Trails Association members organized a volunteer trail-maintenance event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday atop Cougar Mountain. The group plans to assemble at the Anti-Aircraft Peak Trailhead, at the end of Southeast Cougar Mountain Drive.

Participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Organizers intend to provide snacks and refreshments.

The county and open space partners also launched a website to explain the Conservation Futures Program’s history.

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