RIDGE's History

RIDGE is a grass-roots citizens' group formed in the summer of 1988, when community residents realized they shared common concerns about the harvest of forested lands surrounding Upper Kittitas County (UKC) communities.

RIDGE initially responded to Plum Creek Timber Company's plan to harvest all of the merchantable timber within Kittitas County. We quickly moved from responding to a single timber corporationís plans into addressing the larger issue of what constitutes sustainable forestry, ecologically and economically.

In the early nineties, RIDGE expanded its focus to include broader concepts community and ecological sustainability, and began to participate in local and regional land use planning.

Since its inception, RIDGE has:

  • Served as the citizens' advisory committee on forestry issues for the city of Roslyn.
  • Addressed forestry issues on state and private lands as a participant in the Sustainable Forestry Roundtable (a state wide forum) by invitation of the Washington State Land Commissioner.
  • Monitored, mapped, and provided specific recommendations on Forest Practice Applications (FPA's) in Upper Kittitas County.
  • Facilitated development of SUSTAIN, a State-wide Coalition of twenty diverse groups seeking a sustainable rate of harvest.
  • Taken legal action to protect valuable resource lands in the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.
  • Sponsored town meetings.
  • Acted as regional clearinghouse on forestry issues in Upper Kittitas County (ecological and economic).
  • Offered testimony and led public participation in local and county planning.
  • Contributed to public hearings on a variety of land-use issues.
  • Received grants and many public donations to support our efforts.

Early RIDGE activities 1988-1990 Cut and Run Logging

RIDGE began by taking on Plum Creek Timber Company's plans to harvest all of the merchantable timber on its 150,000 acres within Kittitas County. These Plum Creek holdings included the ridge-to-river corridor surrounding the towns of Roslyn and Ronald. RIDGE was successful in altering some local logging performed by Plum Creek and other private and public landowners. In doing so RIDGE learned to advocate for better forest practice regulation at the state level.

RIDGE activities 1990-2001 The Growth Management Act (GMA) Comes to Kittitas County

In the early 1990s, many lands that had been logged were then proposed for development. RIDGE expanded its focus to include a broader concept of land use planning. This included advocating for appropriate zoning of commercial timberlands, and minimizing rural and semi-urban sprawl.

Kittitas County opted in under Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA) in the early 1990s. RIDGE used the GMA, other planning regulations, and legal action to advocate for designating traditional forest, mining, and agricultural lands as "resource lands of long-term commercial significance." RIDGE also worked to promote zoning and other land use regulations and policies that limit non-urban sprawl, promote vibrant urban areas, block over-allocation of precious water resources, and secure wildlife habitat.

From 1990-1992 RIDGE also formally appealed logging plans in the Washington State owned L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. Our goal was to have the Forest Practice Act explicitly address the cumulative effects of inter-related and adjacent Forest Practice Applications. We gained on-the-ground changes in logging practices as these lands shifted from private logging to public management.

RIDGE takes on Major Development 1992-2001

As Kittitas County designated its "forestlands of long-term commercial significance," Plum Creek Timber Company was allowed to pull 7,600 acres out of the Countyís standard planning process. Plum Creek then filed application for the state's first Master Planned Resort on these lands. It sold these lands (and the proposed development) to Trendwest, which became MountainStar, and then Suncadia. RIDGE rallied community participation to identify potential impacts to our human and natural communities. In addition, RIDGE continued to advocate for comprehensive planning policies and regulations that support our community and its forested environment.

Historical Legal Action and Mitigation 2001 The RIDGE-Trendwest Agreement

RIDGE, on behalf of the local community, signed a legal settlement with Trendwest in 2001. This document and its subsequent amendments, mitigate many of the impacts of this development on the resources within Suncadia's 6,000-acre MPR, as well as the MPRís, its 1,600-acre Cle Elum Urban Growth Area (UGA), its secondary developmentís impacts in Upper Kittitas County. Please see our Current Projects for more details on the Agreement.

RIDGE's recent work 2001- Present

Monitoring and enforcing the terms of the RIDGE-Suncadia Agreement has taken a huge amount of work. As Suncadia's predecessors began platting and construction of the first Master Planned Resort (MPR) in Washington State, a variety of mitigations were triggered. For more about the status of the RIDGE-Suncadia Agreement please see our Suncadia contract compliance page, which is under Current Projects.

RIDGE continues to participate in regional planning. For more detail about current regional planning issues, please see Current Projects.

RIDGE has also supported and sponsored local cultural programs and projects, including the Heritage Project. Please see the Heritage Project page, under Current Projects. RIDGE and the Roslyn Library co-sponsored Roslyn University, helping to arrange free community classes on everything from composting to wine making.

In 2009, RIDGE underwent a friendly, proactive transformation. Several Board members chose to return to our roots of community organizing. They are forming a new group, R-Town, which encourages "new endeavors and increased participation in community networks; supporting one another; and celebrating our community."

RIDGE continues to support our community as we all contribute our best efforts, and to believe that each of us can and does make a difference.