The first steps on a path to preserving 250,000 acres of land, and lately protecting urban spaces and cultures, were taken a quarter-century ago with a 116-acre beaver dam in a Sammamish Plateau wetland.
The wetland was owned by Weyerhaeuser. Homeowners did not want it developed. Developers didn’t want plans held up. County and state money was available, but needed to be pulled together. How would the wetland be maintained once it was preserved?
A fledgling group called the Cascade Land Conservancy, now Forterra, pulled off creation of the Hazel Wolf Wetland. It offered an early definition for how Forterra would go about the public good from estuaries of the Olympic Peninsula to ridges overlooking the Kittitas Valley, to redevelopment at 23rd & Union in Central Seattle.