A 25-year shared vision of conservation connects public lands for trail connections and wildlife corridors along I-90.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently acquired 24 acres of land in the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area. Rattlesnake Mountain provides an important connection between the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound lowlands by protecting critical wildlife corridors and recreation in the lower Snoqualmie Valley.
Co-managed by DNR and King County, this Scenic Area is a 1,771-acre Natural Resource Conservation Area that protects wildlife habitat and numerous riparian systems.
The acquisition completes a cluster of protected lands between the Raging River State Forest, Cedar River Watershed, Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area, Meadowbrook Farm, and Three Forks Natural Area.
“This makes the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area a true example of partnership in the Snoqualmie Corridor for conservation and recreation opportunities,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who leads DNR. “The completion of this conservation will benefit our local communities and economy by providing connecting trails on public lands and wildlife corridors.”
“This conservation acquisition represents the final piece of a 25-year effort to connect public lands, enable trail connections, and protect wildlife habitat on beautiful Rattlesnake Mountain, a popular recreation destination just outside North Bend,” said Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “These incremental conservation success stories are ones we need to celebrate and diligently pursue in order to stitch together a landscape that will ensure ecological integrity and livability of our region.”
The 24-acre acquisition was funded by a grant from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund Program through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It represents a coordinated effort by both DNR and King County, as well as Forterra, Trust for Public Lands, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to conserve the scenic and ecological character of Rattlesnake Mountain.
The Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area represents one of the first conservation acquisition efforts within the Mountains to Sound Greenway. In 1993, DNR and King County, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, purchased 1,800 acres on the northern flank of the mountain. Over the last 25 years, the Trust for Public Land has partnered with DNR, King County, and the U.S. Forest Service to purchase 2,150 additional acres of conservation land, working forest, and easements along Rattlesnake Mountain and the Raging River State Forest.
Natural Areas Program
Under the oversight of the Commissioner of Public lands, DNR conserves nearly 159,000 acres of lands and ecological features in designated natural area preserves and natural resources conservation areas, protecting the highest-quality examples of natural Washington and providing opportunities for research, environmental education and low-impact recreation. In addition, the Commissioner manages 2.5 million acres of trust lands for public benefit to ensure forested watersheds for clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation access, and wildfire protections. Commissioner Franz also oversees the state’s 3 million acres of aquatic lands, as well as industrial activities within forested areas, statewide geologic information and forest health efforts.