Happy New Year from Executive Director, Christine Mahler

January 8, 2020

Dearest Coalition Partners & Friends,

A year ago, I sat at my computer and wrote a similar “New Years Note” to you. In it, I set a goal to visit 30 WWRP projects in 2019—30 pearls for 30 years, marking the 30th anniversary of the Coalition (pearls being the traditional 30th anniversary gift).

At the time, my partner thought I was being a bit ambitious, but resigned himself to constant refrains of “did you know this is a WWRP project?” Lucky for him (or is it?), I didn’t drag him along to ALL the projects I visited, as I was lucky enough to integrate a lot of them into this wonderful day job I have! I’m pleased to say that I visited at least 41 projects this year… and I’m pretty sure I’m still missing some in my tally!

In true WWRP fashion, the project visits ranged from amazing inclusive playgrounds in Bremerton, Bellevue, and Selah to wonderfully scenic habitat areas like the Heart of the Cascades, Merrill Lake, and the Middle Ohop Valley. I visited family farms, cross-country ski trails, and riparian habitat restoration projects. And just about every week it included a visit to a WWRP project right in my community—the Longfellow Creek Trail—which provided a bit of respite and connection to nature right in the middle of urban (West) Seattle. I’ve included my full list (and links!) below. There’s not a bad one in the bunch, so I encourage you to check them out!

So what’s next? What is 2020 bringing?

Well, for the Coalition, it’s bringing the celebration of 30 years of WWRP funding (the first funding allocation was in the 1990 supplemental budget!), a strategic planning process, brainstorming ways we can help more communities make their outdoor dreams come true, and the launch of a new round of advocacy for WWRP funding (among much else)!

For me, it’s bringing the opportunity to focus on the quality of my time outside, as well as the quantity. My goal in 2020 is to look to the healing power of time in nature while I’m outside. Too often I’m focused on the goal, such as getting to my campsite (and let’s be honest, when you’re half-way up the mountain with a pack on your back, that goal is all that keeps you going sometimes!). But this year, I will make more time to stop and smell the trees, pick the berries, listen to the rushing water, enjoy the views, and generally reconnect with myself and with mother earth. I can do this on my morning walk with the dogs just as easily as I can while hunting turkey or backpacking. I just have to take the time and remind myself. I will do better about that this year, and I hope you will too.

After all, the Coalition is working to ensure every Washingtonian has the opportunity to experience the outdoors by preserving and protecting the great outdoors, both near to home and in the backcountry. But it’s up to each of us to make the time, put aside distractions, and actually do the experiencing. I hope you’ll join me in doing that more often this year!

Happy New Year!


WWRP Projects I visited in 2019, in roughly chronological order of visit:

  1. Tiger Mountain*, King County
  2. Deception Pass State Park*, Whidbey Island
  3. Ebey’s Reserve Farmland*, Whidbey Island
  4. Double Bluff, Whidbey Island
  5. Vancouver Lake*, Vancouver
  6. Whipple Creek*, Clark County
  7. Saddle Rock*, Wenatchee
  8. Kiwanis Methow Park, Wenatchee
  9. Yakima Randall Park, Yakima
  10. Volunteer Park, Selah
  11. Palouse to Cascades Trail, Statewide* (fka Iron Horse/John Wayne Pioneer Trail)
  12. Merrill Lake*, Cowlitz County
  13. Reiner Farm, Snohomish County
  14. Heart of the Cascades*, Kittitas County
  15. West Hylebos Park, Federal Way
  16. Cashmere Canyon, Chelan County
  17. Ferry County Rail Trail*, Ferry County
  18. Mission Ability Ballfield, Spokane
  19. Centennial Trail*, Spokane
  20. Reardan Audubon Lake*, Reardan
  21. Covington Community Park, Covington
  22. Foothills Trail*, King & Pierce Counties
  23. Evergreen Rotary Park, Bremerton
  24. Harry Todd Waterfront, Lakewood
  25. Mount Tahoma Ski Trail System, Pierce County
  26. Bud Blancher Trail, Eatonville
  27. Middle Ohop Protection, Pierce County
  28. Duwamish Head Greenbelt*, Seattle
  29. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle
  30. Longfellow Creek*, Seattle
  31. Inspiration Playground, Bellevue
  32. Puyallup Valley Sports Complex, Puyallup
  33. Bradley Lake Park*, Puyallup
  34. Middle Fork Snoqualmie*, King County
  35. Raging River Forest Mountain Bike Trails,* King County
  36. Mount Si*, King County
  37. Port Gamble Bay Coastal Protection, Kitsap County
  38. Port Gamble Ride Park*, Kitsap County
  39. Point Defiance Missing Link, Tacoma
  40. Wapato Park*, Tacoma
  41. Cougar Mountain*, King County

*These areas actually include multiple WWRP projects—sometimes this was for the land purchase and then the development of a park, other times it was for multiple acquisitions over the years (like the 10 on Tiger Mountain!)