View of Skykomish Valley and the Great Northern Corridor from Maloney Rock
Photo by Darcey Hughes

Skykomish River Valley

A Look Ahead

Imagine a rigorous mountain bike ride in Skykomish Valley followed by a brew at the local pub in a historic railroad town. Or a stop at the Maloney Rock Overlook for that spectacular vista all visitors seek when they make the trek to the Northwest.

 

On August 8, Forterra hosted an excursion with U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene and others working to make this vision come true. The outing connected diverse organizations, agencies and businesses working together to revitalize the economy of Skykomish and nearby communities along Highway 2 and the old Great Northern Railroad.

“Forterra’s passion and understanding makes us feel like we’re not in this alone,” said Debbe Koch, owner of the Skykomish Toot Sweet, a candy and gift shop in downtown Skykomish.

“Our vision of success is for Skykomish to be a recreation hub—a thriving center for outdoor activities that offers amenities like lodging, food and entertainment for visitors. Instead of stopping for a few minutes on their way to another town, families will choose to spend their weekends here,” Debbe said.

Through our Skykomish Initiative we’re working with various partners, from active community business owners like Steve and Debbe Koch to large agencies like the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Our joint vision is to rebuild the economy of Skykomish and nearby communities by conserving natural resources, providing a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and revitalizing the town of Skykomish.

Forterra’s passion and understanding makes us feel like
we’re not in this alone.
Debbe Koch, Skykomish business owner

The Skykomish celebration we coordinated with U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene highlighted initiatives already under way in the Skykomish Valley and opened up conversations for possible new joint ventures. “Forterra’s unique ability to bring together a diverse group of partners creates an exciting opportunity for the town of Skykomish,” said Skykomish Mayor Tony Grider.

Forterra convened Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and Alpine Lakes Protection Society around the idea of building trails from Maloney Rock to the town, with protection of the adjacent forested Maloney Creek valley. This pairing of recreation and land conservation also brought the Sierra Club and American Whitewater together on a proposal to acquire a piece of land along the churning Foss River for both habitat and boating access.

 

Partners join Representative Suzan DelBene and Forterra's Charlie Raines on Maloney Rock, above the Town of Skykomish. Front, left to right: Connie Blumen (King Co.), NF Supervisor Jennifer Eberlien, Don Parks (ALPS), Rebecca Lavigne (WTA). Back, left to right: Glenn Glover (EMBA), Mayor Tony Grider, DelBene, Raines, Tom O’Keefe (AW), Vinny Arora (Sierra Club)
Photo by Darcey Hughes

“Touring Skykomish Valley highlighted the dedication of our local stakeholders, who are working together to achieve land conservation, recreational improvements, and historic rebuilding,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. “I have often said that our proximity to lands and natural resources provides us with an incredible economic opportunity that is uniquely Northwest, and this recent collaboration, led by Forterra, demonstrates all that can be accomplished through economic development, recreation and conservation efforts.”

The Skykomish Initiative, adopted by the King County Council in April, is a key component of the Great Northern Corridor. Stretching from Everett to Stevens Pass, the Corridor focuses energy to protect landscapes for recreational access, wildlife habitat, wild lands, working forestland, and scenic views. Our work drives toward four key outcomes: an engaged and activated community; economic development; land conservation and restoration; and increased access to natural areas and recreational opportunities.

We believe that one day towns like Skykomish will become a destination. Or as one visitor passing through Skykomish said, “Someday people are going to come here on purpose.”

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