Catalyzing A Big Idea For The Puyallup-White Watershed

It has been an exciting several months for those of us involved in developing the Puyallup-White Watershed Open Space Strategy (WOSS). Thanks to the collaborative approach and broad participation from many of you, a vision is beginning to take shape. The WOSS process is emerging as a possible springboard for a Big Idea that has lived in the watershed for years: a coalition of organizations, businesses and agencies coordinating across a broad range of projects to ensure the watershed as an ecosystem is healthy and continues to deliver the broad range of benefits to the region. Some refer to this Big Idea as a “Greater Rainier” or “Mother Mountain” vision, and that is exactly what it is: a partnership to create an intact natural system that would benefit all involved.

The partnership would represent the full range of open space beneficiaries working towards a shared vision of an intact natural system supported by the required conservation, restoration and policy tools. A vision where the iconic park’s glaciers and headwaters and the lands and rivers they feed are appreciated for the multiple benefits they offer to all members of our communities – from public safety and human health to ecologic and economic vitality; a vision to build on what is already one of the Pacific Northwest’s richest, most popular outdoor recreation destinations and economic engines for local communities.

We at the ROSS are excited by the opportunity to work in support of, and hopefully catalyze, this vision. We can look to the east for inspiration, where a similar coalition formed around another of our nation’s prized natural assets: Yellowstone.

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is celebrating 30 years of success as a collaborative, multi-interest initiative spread across traditional jurisdictions and working at the local, regional, even national scale to ensure the prized forests, streams, wildlife and other natural resources are protected for present and future use.

A number of other Big Ideas are on the table as well – stay tuned for future developments.

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