State of the Forest
On November 4th voters rejected Bothell's Levy, Proposition 1. The $42M levy had about one third dedicated to parks and two thirds dedicated to the downtown area. Of the parks portion, the exact amount dedicated to purchasing the last 22 acres of North Creek Forest was $1M. The total amount needed to complete forest acquisitions is around $1.3M. So now what?
Last summer we scored first place in Washington on our most recent Land and Water grant application for $500,000.
On another acquisition grant application (Local Parks) we scored 6th place on a $1,000,000 request.
If both of our grants are funded the failure of Proposition 1 won't matter.
The $500,000 Land and Water grant needs to be funded by Congress before anyone gets paid. Even though we won 1st place in Washington State, Congress may decided to eliminate this funding. It will be up to the people we elected to decide if the premiere fund for Conservation and Recreation in the USA receives any money. The fund was created 50 years ago with a small tax on offshore oil drilling. Unless renewed by Congress it will completely disappear next year.
The $1,000,000 Local Parks grant must be funded by the State Legislature. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has submitted a request for $93M for needed projects all over the state. Our acquisition grant is in 6th place. This means if the Legislature funds Local Parks at $60M or more Bothell will get the $1M. Any less and the North Creek Forest grant will not be funded.
We need both grants. We need the US Congress and the State Legislature to support Recreation and Conservation funding before the forest is saved. A purchase option, willingly offered by the owner on 2 of the 3 remaining forest parcels, expires July 31, 2015. After that time the owner is under no obligation to delay logging and development.
We have enjoyed the good will of landowners. We do not intend to block owners from their right to develop their property. We have said from the beginning, "Everyone must win." Owners are as hopeful as we are. But if we are not able to compensate owners fairly we will have to stand back and say... we tried our best.
We will work hard to raise awareness about this priceless forest. That is ours to do. We appreciate your continued interest and support. We will keep you updated.
In our next news article you will see the University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network break ground on their latest forest wildlife enhancement project. Woodinville Montessori gave a big assist while a local Eagle Scouts project is creating better access to the site. And Soundview International Baccalaureate School put the final 2014 maintenance work in on last years site.