EDITORIAL: Look west and see the dream
This is what comes of a dream.
There were many dreamers, of course. Years ago they looked west from Wenatchee and saw what could be — the beauty of the natural landscape, preserved for future generations; a swath of the natural world, conserved so native plants and wildlife could thrive; an area where humans could roam, play, learn, exercise and strengthen family bonds. It was all within arm’s reach of a strong and resourceful metropolis. This great source of human enrichment was just out the back door.
Last week the dream came to full flower as it was announced the Foothills Campaign, a joint effort of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Trust for Public Lands to raise $8.15 million, had exceeded its lofty goal sooner than the most optimistic optimists imagined. The over-the-top money came from a surprise $1 million grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to the city of Wenatchee. The money will be used to buy 364 acres between Broadview and Horse Lake Road and keep it permanently in conservation status. The land was already purchased by the Foothills Campaign, which will be reimbursed and provide $1 million to match the grant.
It is firm in our memories that when the Foothills Campaign began, the goal of raising over $8 million in a local fundraising push in a down economy seemed far beyond the realm of possibility. Realists didn’t expect to reach it, but perhaps with luck get somewhere close.
The community saw the opportunity and determined it would not be lost. Support for the campaign was effusive and beyond expectations from the start. Some 88 percent of funds received to date came from 540 local donors, and the list of supporters was enormously broad. The campaign continues to year end, with hopes of raising another $200,000 for trailheads, trails and a trust fund for maintenance
When the last phase of the campaign began, it was called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunty. Actually, it is far more rare even than that. The contributions preserved an arc of natural land from Saddle Rock to the south, nearly to the Wenatchee River in the north. Generations of Wenatchee residents to come will be grateful for the foresight displayed by the community in this campaign. We are something exceedingly out of the ordinary — a metropolitan area with a vast slice of the natural world a few feet beyond the city limits. How fortunate we are, and how wise to preserve it.