SEATTLE, WA — Forterra met its fundraising goal of $275,000 by October 30 to save the beloved Lake Serene Trail off U.S. Highway 2, near Index. A section of the lower part of the trail is privately owned and was scheduled to be logged this fall. Forterra will now purchase the 190-acre property from the landowner, Weyerhaeuser, who is willing to sell the land for conservation.
The effort to save the Lake Serene Trail kicked off in mid-August and mobilized quickly thanks to support from the community of hikers and climbers, and active partners in the nonprofit and outdoor retail sectors who helped to publicize the effort. The Washington Trails Association, The Mountaineers, Washington Alpine Club, Outdoor Research and REI played an especially pivotal role.
Over 600 community members contributed to the campaign, which was propelled by a $75,000 matching challenge gift from an anonymous couple for whom the Lake Serene Trail was their first hike together and a particularly generous last-minute gift from an anonymous Seattle Foundation donor in memory of a friend who deeply loved the trail.
The total cost of the project is just over $800,000. Roughly half this amount has been pledged by the Snohomish County Conservation Futures program, and other planned funding proposals should take the raised amount to approximately $525,000. The community stepped up to close the remaining gap of $275,000.
The Lake Serene Trail is one of Washington’s most popular day hikes. Lake Serene is described in Ira Spring and Harvey Manning’s “100 Classic Hikes in Washington” as a “jewel of the first order.” More than 45,000 people of all ages and abilities enjoy its stunning beauty each year.
WORKING FOREST NEAR THE TRAIL
Acquiring the Lake Serene Trail parcel of forest land from Weyerhaeuser will protect the beautiful and tranquil experience of hiking an unspoiled Lake Serene Trail.
This parcel is just part of a large expanse of forest that Weyerhaeuser owns in the area. Some of that land will be logged over the next year, and as part of that operation, the trails to Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene will be closed in the interest of safety. The Forest Service will close the trail when work starts in November and reopen it in late spring 2018.
(One upside to the closure: the Forest Service will be using the closure to make much-needed improvements to the trailhead parking lot and facilities.)
Going forward, once the land has been acquired, public access to the trail will never again be restricted.
For the latest information on the trails, visit wta.org.
THE GREAT NORTHERN CORRIDOR — SKYKOMISH VALLEY TO THE SALISH SEA
Saving the Lake Serene Trail is part of a larger, newly-launched campaign to preserve, create, and enhance recreational opportunities along what Forterra calls the Great Northern Corridor — Skykomish Valley to the Salish Sea. The explosively-growing population around Puget Sound needs new places to escape, relax, and play. Done right, these opportunities can also revitalize struggling rural towns like Skykomish and Index.
The next project in the campaign is to secure the 320-acre Maloney Creek property in the town of Skykomish. Our partners Washington Trails Association and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance have flagged a suite of new hiking and mountain biking trails that depart from an in-town trailhead and work up the scenic Maloney Ridge. Forterra’s role is to acquire that keystone land that includes old growth, critical habitat for endangered species, and protects the watershed above the town of Skykomish and the creek that flows through the town and into the Skykomish River.
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Forterra secures the places—urban, rural and wild—that are keystones of a sustainable future for all. Its mission ranges across Washington, from iconic wild landscapes, to working farms and forests, to lands in our cities for parks, the arts, and affordable housing. Our work includes stewardship and restoration projects, often performed by volunteers. We champion policies that marry sustainability and economic development.