October 31, 2014

Getting bird’s eye view on conservation with Lighthawk

Except for those intrepid mountaineers experienced in summiting Washington’s peaks, very few Washingtonians get the chance to take a literal top-down view of conservation in our great state. So, we jumped at the opportunity to take a look at the impact of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the Cascades.

Thanks to the generosity of LightHawk, Coalition Board Member Charlie Raines led an aerial tour earlier this month over the Central Cascades to see the impact of past LWCF investments and future opportunities for land protection for Senator Patty Murray’s Deputy District Director Sheila Babb Anderson.

Pilot Hunter Handsfield’s Cessna 182 Skylane took off from Boeing field and soared over the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Raines pointed out a few of the many places the Land and Water Conservation Fund has protected, including Mt. Si, Silver Creek, the Monahan Family’s Cabin Mountain working forest, and the sites of new I-90 wildlife bridges which will help north to south migration of elk, deer and more while preventing vehicle collisions with wildlife.

Soaring up the Cascade Crest to Highway 2, the plane flew over the majestic Mt Stewart in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Flying near the town of Skykomish, Raines explained years-long efforts to connect the town to the surrounding public lands by a new trail network.

Seeing the sights from the air allowed passengers to see just how close urban borders are to these essential outdoor areas, underlining the continued importance of LWCF for maintaining high-quality recreation access as our population grows.