Middle Fork Road Grand Opening – speeches

Middle Fork Road opening ceremony in front of Valley Camp

Jon Hoekstra

Good morning, my name is Jon Hoekstra and I’m the executive director of the Mountain To Sound Greenway Trust. I want to thank you for coming here today for the grand opening of the Middle Fork road. In a few minutes we’re going to cut a ribbon for the new road, but what we’re really here to celebrate is the opening up of an entire valley for our whole community.

This road is more than a smooth ride. It means safe and family friendly access to all of the outdoor recreation opportunities that there are to be found in this breathtakingly beautiful valley. It’s fitting that we are here to celebrate this opening on National Public Lands Day. Elsewhere in the country our public lands are under siege by some who would roll back protections, relax regulations, or in some cases even sell off public lands. Trading in the benefits and the long term value that our public lands provide for some short term gain.

Here in the Mountain To Sound Greenway we do things differently. Here, public officials and government agencies work in cooperation with each other and in partnerships with non-profits, community volunteers, and local businesses to invest in our public lands to make sure that our public lands will always be an integral and valued part of our community because when we’re connected to nature, our lives are better.

Today’s great opening of the Middle Fork road and the valley behind it is an inspiring demonstration of what we can accomplish when we work in collaboration with each other and encourage public private partnership. For more than twenty years now, a broad coalition of individuals, agencies, and organizations have worked together to transform a once fragmented and neglected valley into a crown jewel of public lands that defines our local identity and enriches our quality of life.

Right now at this moment there are more than 150 volunteers up in the valley giving back by planting trees and improving some of the well-loved trails that this valley has to offer. And as more and more people come to explore the Middle Fork on the new road, the Middle Fork coalition will continue to safeguard the ecological health of the forest and streams while enhancing safe, sustainable recreation opportunities.

Before I introduce our speakers I want to acknowledge the many partners who have made the new Middle Fork road possible and who will continue to shape the future of this valley in positive ways. First I want to call out a couple of individuals that have been really important for getting us here today. From the Federal Highway administration, Mike Traffalis who led the design and community engagement for the road and Mike Niemi who is the construction manager for the work that’s happened over the last three years. Thank you guys very much.

Other vital government partners that have been critical to the success of this project:

  • The Snoqualmie Tribe, who have lived in this valley since time immemorial
  • The USFS
  • The Washington DNR
  • The Washington DOT
  • The Washington RCO
  • The King County council
  • King County Parks
  • King County Roads
  • The Snoqualmie Watershed forum
  • The city of North Bend

As I said earlier, this is the result of cooperation not just among government, but with the private sector, with non-profits and community members. Our non-profit partners here include

  • Forterra
  • The Alpine Lakes
  • Protection Society
  • The Mountaineers
  • The Washington Trails Association
  • Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
  • The Back country Horsemen of Washington
  • American Whitewater
  • Access Fund
  • Outdoor Alliance
  • Washington Wild
  • Valley Camp

Thank you to all our non-profit partners.

The private sector has also become an increasingly important partner to us

  • REI Coop is going to be hosting the Cheers for Volunteers event back at the end of the valley
  • Waste Management who provided some critical early funding for some of the environmental analysis that have made some of the recommended recreational opportunities possible
  • Green Trails maps who are helping us all get out there safely and get back

Thank you to our private sector partners

There’s a whole community of people who’s neighborhood you all drove through to get here. They’ve been terrific partners. This is not an easy thing for them to have all this construction and then all these hikers and bikers and horseback riders and campers and others coming up though their neighborhood but they’ve become wonderful friends and I think they’re out here because they love this valley just as much. Thank you for being here and for your partnership.

And last there are a number of individuals who have played special roles that I want to call out and acknowledge.

Mark Boyar is one of the people who from a long long time ago had the vision to see what this valley could become and he had the passion that has inspired so many people and so many of us here today to come together and make that vision a reality. Mark’s been nominated as a Cox Conservation Hero in recognition of his decades long commitment and volunteerism in this valley. We want to thank you Mark for your leadership and inspiration.

I also want to thank Greg and Monica Smith who have joined us. Greg’s got long term connections in this valley from his growing up, but Greg and Monica made a leadership gift to what kicked off the Greenway Trust Middle Fork campaign. Greg and Monica have sparked what I hope will be a major new player in this partnership here and that’s the role of private philanthropy to help make our public lands what we want our community to be. Greg and Monica thank you for your leadership in doing something that’s really pretty different and is inspiring lots of other people to come in an join this growing coalition in the Middle Fork.

Finally I want to say thanks to our congressional delegation. There’s a lot of days when Washington D.C. feels far away and not doing things that touch us on a day to day basis, but this is a place that’s been directly touched by our congressional delegation. So I want to thank them for their bipartisan commitment to public land and their support for what we’re doing here in the Middle Fork. Former senator Slade Gorton was instrumental back when he was in the senate in securing the original funding that helped pay for this new road. And senator Patty Murray made sure that that funding stayed in place until this rather complicated and challenging road construction was able to be completed. So we’re grateful to our senators.

Senator Maria Cantwell, congressman Dave Reichart and congresswoman Susan DelBene also teamed up a few years ago with a number of you as advocates to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River as Wild and Scenic. This is a super big deal and a culmination of what has been an amazing transformation of this once neglected valley that was chopped up and a place where most people didn’t want to go. It’s turned into a wild and scenic wilderness valley that’s welcoming us here today.

Susan DelBene – Congresswoman, 1st District

It was just a couple years ago that a few of the folks here today were out here driving and got to put up the sign for the expansion of the Alpine Lakes wilderness. That’s very exciting but also to see all the work that’s was happening and coming together to provide access. I tell everyone that I represent the most beautiful district in the country. I know all of you understand why. You might have some other Washington state districts you support too, but this is a beautiful area and one reason it’s so beautiful is because of our incredible public lands. We have an incredible opportunity and I think an obligation to make sure we protect those. Today is National Public Lands day. It is so important because it makes the quality of life here so amazing. But people need to be able to get out here and experience our lands and get out on the trail. If people don’t have that ability to come out and experience and participate in our beautiful areas they may not be strong advocates or able to support it and that’s why access is so important and people’s ability to get there and having a road and a path has meant a lot to this region and will in terms of people’s ability to see how lucky we are to have spaces like this. This is also a big economic driver for us in our region. Outdoor recreation is over 200,000 jobs in our state, adding over $20 billion to our states economy. These are beautiful resources but they also have a big role to play in our economy. I want to thank so many of you for long term work. This is the vision and a lot of work to protect the Mountain To Sound Greenway, to protect the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, to protect our beautiful region. I want to thank you for all the work you’re doing and I’m excited to be here today. As someone said there’s nothing better than a ground breaking and a ribbon cutting because that means we actually got it done. Thank you. After today, and I know all of will, remind other people about the incredible opportunities out there and encourage everyone to come out here and see our beautiful spaces right here in this area. Thank you.

Sandy Otto – Division Director of the Western Federal Lands Highway Division with the Federal Highway Administration

I’m very fortunate to work for an organization whose mission is to provide access to Federal lands. Roads projects just like this. As I understand it, and you guys know more than me because you lived it, and I haven’t been involved in this project as long as you all have, that it was a pretty bad road and it was pretty bumpy with a lot of drainage and safety issues and it was hard to get there and it’s the only motorized access to the valley. We had a collaboration with our partners at King County and the DNR .. inaudible .. makes it possible to bring more people, many more people than have been able to do it before. It gets everyone to the things that they love to do, the hiking and the camping and the fishing. That’s the kind of project we love to have. I know there were some obstacles, but we persevered right? We got over them and we have this beautiful project. So I want to say congratulations to all of you and thank you for the work you’ve done and the help that you gave our staff. Thank you to my project staff. Craig Sanders is our construction operations engineer. You mentioned Mike Traffalis of course, and Mike Niemi who was unflagging in his work out here. Thank you to my staff as well for the delivery of this project. Again, congratulations, thank you for having me.

Dianne Guidry, Deputy Regional Forester, USFS region 6

Good morning everyone and happy Public Lands day. I am thrilled to be out here and celebrate today. I took an opportunity to look up last year’s National Public Lands day and there were over 200,000 volunteers and people celebrating National Public Lands day last year at 2,600 sites. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of this with you all. I’m sure there will be as many if not more this year. It’s part of being .. inaudible .. , and that’s what I want to talk about. For the Forest Service, we value our partnerships. We have traditional partners we work with all the time and over the years and we’re looking for new partners all the time. We know that those new perspectives, the new innovations, the new ideas, give us an opportunity to broaden our thinking and do more with more. Not more with less that we hear so much when we talk about budgetary constraints and things along those lines, but doing more with more. The beauty of this area, which you all can see and know and experience, and even the Pacific northwest, draws many new visitors every year and many returning visitors and new and returning residents. And I’m pleased to say that just two years ago I was that. I was a returning resident to the state of Oregon and I spent 9 1/2 years previously Washington State as well. I’m very happy top be back. I’m very happy and grateful for all of you and for the partnership and for the chance to celebrate this day today. Thank you again.

Brock Milliern, DNR Division Manager for Conservation, Recreation and Transactions

Thanks again for having me. I’m obviously really excited to be here today. I want to start off by sharing a story. About four years ago before I worked for the DNR, my wife who was pregnant and myself and another couple decided we were going to do a weekend backpacking trip and our original plan was to head out to Shi Shi beach. For anyone who’s been out there, it’s a pretty mellow and short hike. Some last minute change of plans sent us scrambling to find a new place to head out. We only had one night and we decided to head out to Snoqualmie Lake. The other couple had a nine month old. I was a little nervous about our new plan. It wasn’t because of the physical limitations of our group. I felt we could overcome that. It wasn’t for spending a night in the woods with a nine month old who’d never been camping. It was this road. This terrible, terrible road that we all became accustomed to. I also wasn’t worried about my car — I was driving an outback from Carter Subaru, a supporter of the Greenway. It was that I was certain that one of those potholes would be the one that would throw my wife into labor. And as an expecting father I would be expected to now deliver my child into the northern woods. I was terrified about this. So as I drove along and vigilantly stared down each and every one of those potholes I wondered to myself “Can’t somebody do something?”. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t working for the DNR yet. A few months later I started here and my first time out in the woods was with Doug McClelland in the Middle Fork area and he gave me a good lesson that for decades many people had been doing something. And this is the culmination of a lot of that work. So I’m really excited to be here today and celebrate this with everybody on National Public Lands day. This is the completion of a lot of work and a lot of new access in this area that is so close to Seattle, just 30 miles and anywhere between 30 minutes and 6 hours away .. laughter. It’s another step for the DNR in providing public access to this valley and public access across the state which we are so dedicated to doing. Just shortly up this valley we enter the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA which was dedicated in 2011 and this place, this wonderful place, where you can hike to the most iconic mailbox in the state, dip your toes in the water, or for anybody who’s been to a waterway with me, you know you have to skip at least one rock … at least one rock. Even my now 15-month old knows that you have to skip at least one rock. He’s not good at it yet, but he tries. This area’s not a secret anymore right? People are coming here in droves and I’m excited to work with so many partners to help put these opportunities together. I did eventually have that child, not in the woods, but in a hospital like many other people do. And I had another child, a 15-month old, and I’m really excited that our world is the great outdoors, my world is them, but the universe is the great outdoors. Our goal at DNR and our goal with many partners here is to not have just my children or your children be close to the outdoors but everybody. This road is part of our work but our work continues as a group and as a team, to continue to connect people. I’m really thankful for the partners that John went through, but I want to mention the Forest Service, the Greenway, King County, and all of those volunteers who spent the last couple of decades doing something and educating me about the something that’s been going on for many many years here. Thanks for letting me be a small part of it, thanks for letting DNR be a huge part of that. I’m excited to be here and celebrating with everybody on National Public Lands day.

Jon Hoekstra

Something that sets the Middle Fork apart from so many other wildernesses in the country is that it’s not set apart from the community. Brock hinted at it. It’s very very close. .. noisy food truck driving by .. As much blood, sweat and tears has gone into making that part of the valley come back to life we now have huge opportunities and some challenges in how do we make these connections work for our communities, to connect to our communities successfully. So I’m pleased to welcome one of our chief partners in that endeavor,

Fred Jarrett, Senior Deputy County Executive

It’s interesting that I’ve been blessed to have this job for some years now and it’s been a real education to learn things you never expected to learn. Like I never really understood until I got here today that this was National Public Lands day. And yesterday was National Coffee Day. I want to talk a minute about two things and it’s basically about how dysfunctional we aren’t. We think a lot about how we don’t do well in politics and how we don’t do well in government. But we come and see things like this and we realize that as a community it isn’t just whats in it for me, it’s what’s in it for the community. That we do work together to make things happen that make this a better place to live. And it’s all about partnership. One of the names that I want to make sure we remember is Jim Ellis. I don’t know how many of you remember Jim Ellis. Jim was one of the people who made the Greenway happen. And I remember when Jim came to our council, I was a city council person at the time, and told us about this idea about the Mountains to Sound Greenway. And we sort of sat back in our swivel chairs and said “Yeah, Jim, Yeah … that’s not going to happen”. But we signed on and others signed on and now, how many years later, 40 years later, we are starting to see wonderful things occur. And the things that are occurring are small. We’re not seeing big huge projects happen. We’re seeing lots of little incremental projects. Projects like this. One of the things that Dow [Constantine, King County Executive] has challenged us with and our parks department and roads department especially, is how do we protect what needs to be protected for future generations? Not just for us, not just for our kids, not for our grand kids, but for kids beyond that. And so he’s asking how in a generation can we protect the rest of the lands that need to be protected in this region so that we can keep these opportunities alive. And he wants to do it not just because of the opportunity, not just so you can have recreation, but we’re making the case that it’s about public health. It’s about how do we give people access to wild spaces because that makes them healthier. It makes them healthier mentally, it makes them healthier physically, it helps us deal with all of the big problems that we have in society. So I wanted to say thanks to all of you for coming out today. I want to say thanks for the work that everybody has done to make this happen and I want to challenge all of you to hike up this road to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness that the congressional delegation has made available to us and to enjoy and live in the wild. Thank you so much, I appreciate being here.

Trevor Kostanich, North Bend City Council

Good morning. I feel like we’re probably the most fortunate of those up here because we adjoin this beautiful recreation valley. I wanted to share our appreciation and our excitement for the future. In North Bend we’re a small livable town that also is focused on being the premier outdoor destination for .. inaudible ... We’re becoming more and more aware of how important the land around us is for why we all love living here. I think part of that is growing more collaborative with our public land managers. And we couldn’t have a better scenario about how to do that successfully than what the Greenway has done here in the Middle Fork. I feel very fortunate to be a part of that and to be the kind of city where people are going to first hit as they approach the Middle Fork, and then hopefully where they stay a little bit after they’ve recreated in the Middle Fork. I did want to share that we are currently working with Jones & Jones, a pretty popular NW architect that helped us here in the Greenway. We are working with them to come up with a more aesthetic sense of arrival when you get off at exit 34. It’s still in the preliminary conceptual stages. I’ll say that group is very talented and they literally are taking some of the Middle Fork and are going to help line the street in the medium with that sense of arrival. it’s a really exciting thing for us. Lastly, I want to thank all the different members involved and really a special shout out to Jon Hoekstra and his team at the Greenway. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a lot of collaborative groups and continue to be impressed with your success in merging multiple stakeholders.

Jon Hoekstra

I’d like you all to remember though, that here in the Greenway we do things differently and we’re here to celebrate collaboration. So I want us to think about as we go to this ribbon cutting doing two things at once this morning. We’re going to cut a ribbon to open a new road and mark the completion of an effort that is literally decades in the making. There are some people here who have been in it from the beginning. I can only imagine what you must be feeling at this moment to have this kind of moment so lets make sure that we are celebrating with all of them in getting to be part of this moment of kind of finish on something. But we’re also cutting a ribbon that opening something up so I also want us to take the sense of accomplishment and confidence and satisfaction and goodwill that has been built through 20+ years of collaboration and know that we have 20+ years of new opportunities and new challenges to keep tackling together as we go from a neglected fragmented valley to an integrated connected valley and welcoming more and more. I like the “do more with more” idea. I hope that the next time we have a big significant mark to do we see all of you and more people as more people from our community find their connection to nature here. We want to keep building that sense of momentum that these are our public lands. They’re ours to enjoy, they’re also ours to care for. I want to say thank you again for all of you for being here and for everything all of you have done to make today possible. And also to thank you in advance for making tomorrow and the next year and the next decade possible. Thank you very much for being here.

Ribbon cutting

Mark Boyar, presenting Mike Niemi with a thank you gift

Years ago, talking with Mike Traffalis over and over about how we’re going to get this thing done I made this commitment that when the time comes for the ribbon cutting I was going to bring up a good bottle of wine and we’re going to toast this thing. There’s too many people with badges around to do that. I found this beer, Rambling Rat .. hard to hear .. beer, where is Mike? There we go. I also have a beautiful new Green Trails map for you.

Granite Creek trailhead

Jon Hoekstra

For those of you that have been here all morning, thank you for coming to volunteer for National Public Lands day and help fix up and plant the new Granite Lakes trailhead. How many of you are volunteering this morning? Thank you again. You all are a part now of the Middle Fork coalition and making this extraordinary valley that we’re in our public lands that we take care of together. We really appreciate you all being out here. A whole bunch of us were just further down the road cutting a ribbon because you all came out a brand new road that makes this valley accessible for people to come out and explore the outdoors, and to recreate, to go for hikes, to fish, to camp, to ride horses, to ride bikes etc. And so now we all gathered here today to celebrate this new trailhead. We’ve got a trail that goes up into the high country. There’s some river access if you want to go for a swim or some fishing. It’s really easy to come here. You can find a place to park and we’ve got a sanitation facility etc. We’re really excited to get to cut a ribbon on this new facility. I want you to know how this one came to be. It didn’t just pop out of the forest. This is a project that was a collaboration between King County and the WA DNR with a bunch of help from staff on the Mountain To Sound Greenway who’ve done a lot of work here over the last couple of years. We’re here to celebrate that partnership as well as the opportunity that that partnership is providing to all of you.

Kathy Lambert – King County Councilmember

It is a pleasure to be here today. This has been decades in the making. For those of you that are younger, some of these projects started before you were born. That goes to show that you have to keep up with what you’re doing. For me today the word is “together”. This is happening because lots of people got together. And not everybody was on the same page at the beginning. Is this road 12′ wide? 14′ wide? 16′ wide? 10′ wide? There were lots of decisions. How’s the traffic going to go through my neighborhood? What’s going to happen? But everybody came together. There were concessions made all the way along. But we did it together. And that’s the really important message. Fred Jarret, our deputy executive said earlier, this is about health, lots of kinds of health. We all need to get away from the hustle bustle. And where can you be healthier than right here breathing this amazing air and being with your friends. This is the the place that when your friends say “One more day of doing X and I’m going to go crazy”, take them by the hand and you know where to go on the Middle Fork. Because we need to be healthy together. The other thing is that my remaining concern is the safety of people out here because the cell sites are not what they need to be out here. I know that a lot of you know that there are no cell sites out here. You’re in good shape to run back five miles to get help. For those of us that my friend might be in trouble if I have to run back five miles to get help. We are looking at how we can do that. That for me is the next step in making sure that together we’re going to solve that problem too. As you see people in the parking lot I know there’s been issues with security in the past at parking lots, together we are going to watch and make sure that everybody is safe, everybody is healthy, that we have created a beautiful thing together. As Rod said earlier, that this is our place and what we can do together. We’ve finished the first 20 years about, and now we’ve got the next 200 that we can start to enjoy it and make sure that we look at what chapters come next and make it even better. Thank you for all you’re doing if you’re volunteers. You are an important integral part of keeping this forever. Thanks for being here.

Monica Leers – King County capital planning section manager

Thanks everybody for being here. Happy National Public Lands day. It’s really great to be here. King County parks stewards over 28,000 acres of open space lands in our region. Improving public access to those lands is a huge priority. Thanks to a wonderful partnership with WA DNR and the Mountain To Sound Greenway there’s now this beautiful brand new trailhead to provide safe and secure parking and access to incredible recreation opportunities in the Middle Fork. State DNR identified this particular location as one of the only develop-able places in the corridor and they completed the design, the permitting and the construction and King County parks is happy to contribute the land and a portion of the funding from our voter approved parks levy. The new trailhead provides needed access to King County parks land on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie to trails and land also owned by state DNR and even into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This particular trailhead is one of eleven new trailheads that King County Parks has promised the voters through our current levy. We’re on track to complete all eleven of them by the end of the levy in 2019. Again a huge thanks to our partners state DNR, Mountain To Sound Greenway, all the volunteers. This is just a great project and it’s really great to be here to celebrate with you all.

Lori Benson – DNR South puget sound assistant region manager for conservation, recreation and transactions

I’m newer to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie valley and to the coalition that spent so much time here. Since the very first time I drove down the new road it’s been clear how much collaboration and creativity goes into all the projects along the road that you’ll see today. Right here is the perfect spot to celebrate that because where else can you drive down a road that was paved by the Federal Highways, park on land owned by King County, walk through a forest owned by DNR, on a trail built by the Greenway, cross Forest Service land and end up in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The other interesting thing has been to start to see the Middle Fork Snoqualmie valley through the eyes that all of our partners see the valley. The slope behind us — some people would have just seen as a forested slope that was extensively logged through the mid 1900s. But my predecessors at DNR and this whole coalition saw it for habitat and recreation and conserved it as part of the NRCA. The logging road and trail conversion that’s an awesome walk through the woods. They’re down to the very details. The glacial erratic, which for the non geologist is that big rock, could have just been seen as an unexpected, not very welcome installation in the middle of this parking lot that could have messed up the grading. But instead it’s a unique centerpiece to this beautiful trailhead. I think it’s clear the partners and the collaboration and the creativity that make this spot and other spots exactly what they are going to be used for. A huge thank you to the hard work of King County, MIG and SBR, Micheal Klug construction, the trail crew, the project manager from DNR, and the Mountain To Sound Greenway who brought all of us together. And then all the volunteers who are here in the rain making this beautiful place even more beautiful.

Ribbon Cutting

Gateway bridge

Jon Hoekstra

Welcome to the iconic Middle Fork river bridge, this is one of the landmarks in the valley. This bridge was built with blood, sweat and tears of volunteers 20+ years ago. Mark Boyar — 24 years ago. Who else was here when this bridge got built? Find these people and they can tell you stories about what it took to build this bridge including hand digging the footings, and mixing concrete over there, and getting it over here before it hardened up to make this bridge. An extraordinary demonstration of what volunteers can do when they work to help take care of our public lands. We’re here to celebrate at this place because this is a really magical important spot. You’ve got this iconic bridge and then we have two trails that look similar on the face but they’re quite different in important ways. This way is the Pratt River trail that takes you right into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The wilderness comes right down to the wild and scenic river here and that means that there are only certain uses and certain size groups of people that are allowed to go this way. This way is the Middle Fork trail. This is a multi-use trail. Thanks to the cooperation of lots of different user groups, mountain bikers, hikers, horseback riders, all get to come use this and still be part of this great same valley. This is a great example of how when we come together we can sort through some of the differences and seemingly competing interests and find ways to make this amazing place an opportunity for everybody. So we’re here to celebrate that cooperation.

I’m going to turn it over to Jamie Kingsbury and Marty Schram but I want to recognize that one of the reasons we’re celebrating this particular trail is that a decade ago there was a major washout back here. And it took a partnership to bring this together. Thanks to REI Coop who sponsored the Every Trail Connects campaign across the whole country, this is one of ten trails that received funding thanks to REI Coop members to help repair this trail and that enabled Fores Service and the WTA and the Greenway Trust to work together and put this trail together again. We’re here to celebrate this finally coming together after a whole decade of happening.

Jamie Kingsbury – supervisor of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Best job in the world! Hi everybody. I want to take one moment to be selfish and thank 24 years of Forest Service hard work and dedication in helping get this done. Because I know that they stalled and borrowed and lied and told the truth day after day to get us to this point. We don’t make it easy a lot of the time. I know that we had more than one district ranger through the 24 years and I know that those district rangers were also huddled up in a room with you figuring this out and putting this all together. Now today Marty Schram our district ranger for the Snoqualmie ranger district really brought this home. And her employees, I know Brian McNeil is here. Is Alice here? Let’s do one more round of applause for all of these dedicated Forest Service employees. I’m handing it over to Marty.

Marty Schram our district ranger for the Snoqualmie ranger district

Just so you know, it’s not intentional that we make it hard for you to get some of the work done. We’re here to work with you not work against you, obviously. There are many groups that have helped with many of the projects on National Forest Lands within the Middle Fork. I’d like to recognize a few of the groups that especially helped with the Middle Fork trail.

Presentation of a framed photo of the Gateway bridge to key contributors

  • Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance – Yvonne
  • Washington Trails Association – Leanne accepted because she was with the trail crew on site
  • REI was very instrumental in helping raise some money to do some work – Eric
  • Back Country Horsemen – they were instrumental in helping with the multi-use trail

And last but not least. I don’t think I was on my job for more than two weeks and an individual from Mountain To Sound Greenway was in my office saying we need to get the environmental documents done. And he rattled off about six different projects. And I was kind of like “uh-huh?”. But obviously a lot of this work would not have been done without the help of Mountain To Sound Greenway — Jon, Amy, everybody else with your organization. You guys have been wonderful to work with. We’ve gone back and forth on a couple of things, again it was not intentional. I’m not going to accuse you of lying about anything (Jamie — that was 20 years ago!). I’m sure you followed all the rules and regulations. Thanks very much to you and with all due respect to you Jon, I’d like to present this to Tor and you can pass it around.

Jon Hoekstra

Alright, everybodies got their hands full but we’re going to still figure out a way to cut a ribbon.