Dear City Leaders,
The Seattle Nature Alliance has repeatedly said that our natural area policies should be fair, sustainable, and wise. Of the three, “wise” may be the most important. Without wise leadership, we will never be assured we’ll have natural areas at all, much less fair access to them.
The City Council has shown considerable support for natural areas. Most recently, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen posted an in-depth Update on the Cheasty Mountain Bike/Pedestrian Trail Pilot Project. His writing indicates he has taken the time to look deeply into the issues, to look beyond the hype, and to see the far-reaching consequences.
Other Council members have also shown a willingness to look closely at the entire issue, and offer opinions in person and on the record, indicating they regard nature as more than just a backdrop for a photo op.
As a result of the Cheasty fiasco, the City Council directed the Seattle Parks Department to formalize their natural area policy, which has always been understood, but never made official. As Councilmember Rasmussen states:
“I anticipate a more comprehensive discussion of how this project correlates to our existing policy on Greenspaces and of whether the policies should change.”
Parks seems to have taken this as an opportunity to start the discussion with how the policy will change, not whether changing it in the first place is the wise thing to do. Parks needs to understand that our remnant forests and natural areas are more than just a setting in which to recreate, they are an irreplaceable part of Seattle’s heritage. Their greatest value lies in the fact that they remained undeveloped—preserved for the greater good of the citizens of Seattle. And most of all, Parks needs to recognize that nature itself is a community that we all belong to. We are all living beings depending upon one another for life, health and well-being. We all need each other.
All people should share equal access to natural areas.
We offer a huge thank-you to Councilmember Rasmussen for acknowledging that those of us who see the wisdom in reserving natural areas for passive-style, low-impact recreation have shown “strong support”.
Thankfully, he debunked the oft-repeated myth that we are merely a “small but vocal group.“
In fact, we are not a group at all. We’re just regular people—no particular age, background, income level, or special ability. We’re the largest piece of the population pie.
We’re pretty much everyone.