Nestled in an out-of-the-way corner of the southern Cascades of Washington is a pristine mountain hideaway long cherished by backcountry skiers, snowshoers, hikers, and backpackers, not to mention a host of native wildlife such as mountain goats, elk, wolverines, bears, and spotted owls. Cross-country skiers find some of the best backcountry skiing in Washington. Hikers of all ages enjoy a walk up the Pacific Crest Trail through this mountain haven and savor views of nearby Mt. Rainier. Lower slopes of the basin are clad in old growth forests of subalpine fir, mountain hemlock, and Douglas-fir.
The Cascade Chapter is building on our success at helping cities to become “cool” by signing the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Agreement, initiated by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and the beginning of “cool counties” led by King County Executive Ron Sims. Now, the demand for global warming solutions leads us to the state level with the Cool State campaign.
Washington State can take the lead on the fight against global warming and reach our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. By making smarter energy and transportation choices, we can save money, create jobs, reduce air and water pollution and improve the health of our families. Let’s seize this moment and work together as voters, community leaders, businesses and families. Let’s make Washington State a COOL state!
With great sadness we report the tragic loss of our friend, Shannon Harps, a beautiful human being who lived her life with unbelievable integrity and grace. Shannon was a tireless advocate for the environment in which we all live. Her dedication and passion shone through a radiant smile.
Shannon was focused and steady, always a calm and competent voice, guiding volunteers as to the best way to contribute. Even when a political issue got a little heated, or a threat to a wilderness seemed unstoppable, she was thoughtful and deliberate; always assuming an adversary's better nature would prevail.
The Sierra Club was out in force at this years Fremont Solstice parade. We gathered over 700 postcards on global warming for Governor Gregoire. We also had a booth at which we took photo petitions to deliver to the Governor, and took some video testimony for the Governor.
The video clips are below. If you are interested in helping gather future petitions, have ideas to improve the process, or want to submit your own testimony, please contact us.
Check out Vinod Khosla speaking at the Sierra Club Energy Solutions Forum:
FY08 Requests for Lands Funding
The Sierra Club, along with other conservation groups, has asked Congress to fund several important acquisitions this year in the Checkerboard country. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), new chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, a long time supporter of park and forest conservation, crafted a bill that increases allocations for acquisitions, but did not specify which projects.
In early May, an enthusiastic group of Checkerboard volunteers made significant progress in removing invasive species from the forest around the oxbow in the Mid Fork Snoqualmie valley. The group was led by Tor McIlroy, restoration coordinator for the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and MidFORC’s Mark Boyar. The prime target was a lovely but smelly little plant called herb Robert. A native of Europe, it thrives in the shadows under the forest canopy. It is so prolific that it will overwhelm native flowers such as bleeding heart. Blackberry and dandelions were also removed by the work party. Thanks to Checkerboard volunteer Harry Romberg for organizing this annual service trip.
Cascade Checkerboard Project Success:
Improved Ski Facilities but Less Impact on Wildlife
The Sierra Club, Alpine Lakes Protection Society, and Conservation NW have agreed with Ski Lifts, Inc. (SLI) on a revised master plan for the ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass. The company’s earlier proposal was evaluated in a Draft EIS a year ago. After reviewing the lengthy critiques submitted by the Club's Cascade Checkerboard Project and other conservation groups, Dan Brewster, manager of the ski area, approached Checkerboard Project Director Charlie Raines to discuss what type of package might meet the company’s needs while addressing the groups’ concerns. After several months of discussions among the groups, an agreement was worked out based on the preferred alternative (#5) in the DEIS, with key changes at Alpental and Hyak. Thus, most of the upgrading of the facilities proposed by SLI will proceed, as will the purchase of the 480-acre property in Mill Creek for mitigation.
Our region is struggling with how to deal with two huge problems — global warming pollution and traffic congestion. While many of our public officials from cities to the statehouse have acknowledged both problems, few have connected the dots to see that we need to reduce our car emissions and improve our transportation system in order to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Pierce, Snohomish and King County councils will soon review the combined "Roads and Transit" package, including the next phase of Sound Transit (ST2) and a large road infrastructure package from the regional transportation investment district (RTID) Combined, the package will cost $17.7 billion.
There has been a lot of talk about congestion pricing lately. The Sierra Club had an opinion piece in the Puget Sound Business Journal on Friday, 6/8: "Roads, transit package fails to stop greenhouse gas" which talks about the proposed RTID/ST2 ballot measure and why it is not the answer to our problems. (If you are not a PSBJ subscriber, you can link to the text of the article here.)
This spring, King County Executive, Ron Sims, released a study titled Destination 2030 - Taking an Alternative Route which studies stytem-wide pricing for all the limited access freeways in the region.