Washington, DC – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed unanimously the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 1791). Bill authors, Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) applauded this action.
“In Washington State, we know full well that the spectacular landscape of the Mountains to Sound Greenway is worthy of national recognition,” said Rep. Reichert. “This morning’s vote shows that my colleagues here in Congress understand that as well. I am proud to see this bill move forward, so the Greenway receives the official recognition it deserves. The Greenway benefits Washingtonians and visitors from around the world, which is why it is important to honor this beautiful land. I thank Chairman Bishop for his work on this bill, and look forward to its consideration by the full House.”
“I am pleased to see the House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to pass H.R. 1791, legislation I have co-sponsored with Congressman Reichert,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “The designation of Washington’s Mountains to Sound Greenway – over 1.5 million acres of land stretching from Seattle to Ellensburg – as a National Heritage Area will help preserve and promote the area’s scenery, resources and history for future generations. I thank Congressman Reichert for his leadership and the passionate community members with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for their support of this important piece of legislation. I hope to see this legislation brought to the House floor for a vote in the near future.”
This legislation was first introduced by Representatives Reichert and Smith in the 113th Congress as H.R. 1785, the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act. In November of 2014, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bill, but the full House never considered it. In the same Congress, the Senate companion legislation passed out of Committee, but it did not receive consideration on the Senate floor.
After receiving feedback over the past four years, Reps. Reichert and Smith reintroduced an improved and strengthened bill in March of 2017. This new bill (H.R. 1791) includes important protections for individual rights, private property owners, and tribal communities. It has the support of over 6,000 individuals and groups from government agencies and officials, businesses, outdoor recreation groups, and conservation and heritage organizations, including the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Outdoor Alliance.
“Our region is a model for the nation. We’ve built a booming economy, while simultaneously conserving the Pacific Northwest's iconic mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Designating the Mountains to Sound Greenway as a National Heritage Area celebrates this unique approach of economy and environment working in concert, not in conflict." said Jon Hoekstra, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Executive Director. "We applaud Congressmen Reichert and Smith for their dedication to and leadership on this effort over the years and look forward to helping achieve this legacy accomplishment.”
Rep. Reichert and former Washington Senator Slade Gorton testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands last month on H.R. 1791. A bipartisan group of members from the King County Council attended the hearing in support of the legislation, including King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who also submitted a letter of support for the bill.