King County Voters: This "Yes" Vote Will Help Save Green Spaces
Voters have the chance in this election (Nov. 8) to vote "yes" to Conserve Our Future, King County Proposition 1. Vote "yes" so this program can continue to protect lands that support the health of our communities, ecosystems and climate.
You may have never heard of the Conservation Futures Program, but if you vote in King County, you’ll want to know what it is. Conservation Futures is working in Washington state to combat climate change, increase equitable access to green space and support our local food systems. Voters have the chance in this election (Nov. 8) to vote "yes" to Conserve Our Future, King County Proposition 1. If you're a King County voter, your "yes" vote can help this program can continue to protect lands that support the health of our communities, ecosystems and climate.
How does Conservation Futures work?
Our state created Conservation Futures in 1982 as a funding source for conserving our shared outdoor spaces. Since then, it has preserved over 100,000 acres of urban green spaces, trails, natural lands, rivers, farmlands and forests. Despite this good work, funding for the program has been cut over the years. It is all the more essential now: Our region’s growing population creates pressure to convert open space to residential areas while at the same time creating more demand for open spaces to recreate.
Now voters in King County have the opportunity to restore the power of this initiative, which has been cut over the years. Conservation Futures is a statewide program, but it is on the ballot in King County to choose whether to reinstate the original funding levels in that county. You’ll see it on the ballot as “King County, Washington, Proposition 1, Property Tax for Natural Areas, Trails, and Green Space Funding Measure (November 2022)”. Voting yes to Conserve Our Future will ensure that our farmlands, forests, waterways and urban green spaces can continue to sustain the people and wildlife that call King County home.
WTA plays a role in the program’s success
What does Conservation Futures funding make possible? Take the 5 acres of land in North Highline now known as Glendale Forest. In 2020 this land was purchased through Conservation Futures funding to provide a local park for schools, homes and faith centers that did not have green space within walking distance. Once the land was acquired, WTA and partners worked to restore the land for native species and local residents. In 2021, our staff and volunteers spent over 400 hours in Glendale Park removing debris, clearing non-native plants and planning trails.
From voters to government agencies to outdoor nonprofits like WTA, it takes many partners to bring the grand idea behind Conservation Futures to life. In another corner of King County, 2019 Conservation Futures funding allowed the City of Issaquah to team up with nearby residents, the Trust for Public Land, Mountains to Sound Greenway, WTA and others to protect 46 acres of land on the northeast corner of Cougar Mountain. Since then, WTA has devoted over 6,000 hours to trailwork in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The land acquisition and WTA’s work in the area connects Cougar Mountain trails to other local parks, residential communities and major transit centers.
Projects like these in Glendale Forest and Cougar Mountain support the physical and mental health of the community by providing outdoor access. At the same time, they work towards a healthy climate by preserving carbon-soaking forests.
What do voters need to know?
Voters originally approved a property tax of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to finance Conservation Futures, and it is currently being funded at only 3.12 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Voting "yes" on King County Proposition 1 will restore the original levels of funding in that county. King County ballots go out Oct. 18 and need to be postmarked or returned to a ballot drop box by Election Day on Nov. 8.