Support Land Conservation Initiative to protect Weyerhaeuser campus

Being outside in parks and wilderness and enjoying natural resources is a way of life for us all in King County. However, with a projected King County population increase of 1 million residents by 2040 and pressures of development, we need greater investment in preserving farmland for local food production, in saving forests, open space, rivers and wetlands for outdoor recreational opportunities, and in conserving fish and wildlife.

For nearly half a century, the historic Weyerhaeuser campus has been a keystone of our state’s economy and is nationally recognized for its landscape and architectural design that melds its buildings with the surrounding rich natural environment. With over 300 acres of forest and meadow, a healthy lake that is the headwaters of the Hylebos and public access to over seven miles of trails, not to mention the world-renowned Rhododendron Botanical Species Garden and Pacific Bonsai Museum, the campus is a regional natural gem that has provided millions of people a nearby outdoor wonderland to enjoy.

The new campus owner’s current plan is to build large scale warehouse and distribution facilities — clear cutting about half of the campus’s healthy forest. With development and new tenants, access to the seven miles of forest and lakeside trails could be lost.

Approval of the King County Land Conservation Initiative could change that.

Weyerhaeuser campus open space is one of “the saves” identified in the county-led Land Conservation Initiative, as the city of Federal Way has designated the campus as a high-conservation land that needs to be protected.

Conservation of the campus property will not only preserve the longest undeveloped lakeshore in South King County, but also will provide an accessible gateway to nature experiences, walkable trails and refreshment from the rat race for the increasing number of people living in Federal Way and surrounding area’s high-density urban cores.

The proposed Land Conservation Initiative is a proactive effort to conserve and protect 65,000 acres of high conservation lands throughout King County over the next 30 years, before it’s too late.

Let King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer and King County Executive Dow Constantine know that you support the Land Conservation Initiative. Let them know that King County’s high-conservation areas like the historic Weyerhaeuser campus are critical to our health and quality of life and to our economy. Tell them we need them behind this powerful initiative. Help make a legacy impact on our quality of life — not only for yourself, but for your children, your grandchildren and your community.

Cindy Flanagan, Auburn

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