Congressman Reichert to present award to State Senators Steve Litzow, Andy Hill and Joe Fain for conservation leadership

September 23, 2011

Snoqualmie, WA – Congressman Dave Reichert will be visiting Snoqualmie Point Park to present State Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), Joe Fain (R-Auburn) and Andy Hill (R-Redmond) with an award from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust honoring their conservation leadership. Litzow, Hill and Fain are being recognized for reaching across the aisle during the 2011 session to continue funding for a critical wildlife conservation program – the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP). The WWRP was initially slated for elimination in the governor’s budget.

“In the Pacific Northwest, we take special pride in our natural resources,” said Congressman Reichert.  “I am impressed by the state senators’ efforts to save the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and look forward to adding more allies to the ongoing mission to preserve our environment.”

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 27th, at 11am.

Congressman Reichert has been a consistent champion for Washington’s outdoor recreational opportunities and natural heritage through his support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a key funding partner with the WWRP in the creation of the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Congressman Reichert co-sponsored a key amendment this session to restore critical funding to LWCF after it was targeted for cuts.

He will recognize state legislators who, like himself, have made responsible conservation a priority. Fain, Hill and Litzow are being honored by Reichert for their similar commitment to Washington’s open spaces and recreation areas, like the Greenway, and their pivotal leadership that ensured the continued funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program last session.

“In Congress, I have always been eager to advance responsible conservation proposals; in either chamber and on either side of the aisle,” Reichert added. “Environmental conservation is not a partisan issue and these state senators have shown that they understand that with their work in Olympia.”

The WWRP, which has funded dozens of projects along the Greenway from Mt. Si and Mailbox Peak to the John Wayne Trail, faced its greatest threat last session.  Senators Hill, Fain and Litzow stepped forward and gathered support from their colleagues to keep a significant amount of money flowing into the program.

“The level of access we enjoy when it comes to natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities goes a long way toward defining the quality of life across our state,” said Litzow. “I have yet to see any party labels on these valuable assets – there are no Republican rivers, no Democratic baseball diamonds – so I’m more than ready to work across the aisle when it comes to investments that help preserve and enhance them.”

“Years ago, when I adopted Washington as my home, it was the breathtaking beauty here that drew me,” Hill said. “Today, as a state senator, I have a strong commitment to keeping Washington’s wild areas pristine. The Mountains to Sound Greenway is a magical place, covered in evergreens, alive with wildlife, and honeycombed with hiking trails that I have enjoyed with my own kids. So it is a great pleasure to help conserve it for future generations.”

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway project is a great asset to the Pacific Northwest, and I’m proud to support it in the Washington State Legislature,” said Fain. “It’s important that we work to strike a balance between this region’s natural environment and habitable areas so that future generations will have the opportunity to appreciate the pristine beauty of western Washington.

Cynthia Welti, the executive director for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust added, “We are truly fortunate to live in a state where we not only have access to terrific recreational opportunities so close to home in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, but also have leaders like Congressman Reichert and Senators Fain, Hill and Litzow to ensure preservation of significant natural areas for generations to come.”
About The Mountains to Sound Greenway
The Mountains to Sound Greenway connects natural areas, trails, working farms and forests, historic towns and communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington. The Greenway provides easy access to recreation and nature for millions of people in the Northwest, key to the quality of life in this region.

Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, teach people of all ages about the importance of conserving forests and wildlife, improve recreation access, create new parks and trails and mobilize thousands of volunteers. The Greenway Trust is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a variety of events, activities and educational opportunities for all ages in 2011.


About the WWRP

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition founded the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) grant program in 1989 to address the need to preserve more land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (RCW 79A.15) is a state grant program funded from the capital construction budget that provides funding to protect habitat, preserve working farms and creates new local and state parks. Independent experts rank the applications based on criteria such as the benefits to the public, level of threat to the property, or presence of threatened or endangered species.

What is the LWCF?

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) supports federal acquisition and conservation easements of our nation’s most precious lands and waters, and provides matching funds for state and local entities to acquire and develop recreational opportunities in almost every county of the nation. Created in 1965, the LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars; instead it is funded by federal royalties from oil and gas leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf.  The LWCF, however, has been chronically shortchanged in the annual budget and appropriations process, with funding consistently diverted to other purposes.

About Snoqualmie Point Park
From the dramatic view promontory at Snoqualmie Point Park, visitors can see thousands of acres of forest and farmlands and comes to rest on the rural cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend, with the rugged face of Mt. Si towering above. This scenic viewpoint was made possible through a long-term collaboration by the City of Snoqualmie, The Trust for Public Land, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, among other numerous public agencies and private donors.