RIDGE Dream is Realized

By Peg Bryant, RIDGE President
April 2004

Since our inception, RIDGE has worked to protect and preserve the physical borders of our community. RIDGE was formed due, in part, to a rumor that Plum Creek was prepared to clear cut the ridge. The ridge that connects the towns of Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald was the symbol we chose for our name, in order to convey the importance of land use planning to the future of our communities. Now that this amendment has been signed, we know that the forested boundaries of Roslyn will always provide a distinct perimeter between our physical community and the natural world. RIDGE has come almost full circle.

In 1988 shortly after forming and as an official Citizen's Advisory committee to the City of Roslyn, we submitted to Plum Creek a sustainable forestry plan for the ridge to river area, including Section 17. This was consistent with our vision for sustainability: *sustainable economies (small businesses, forest-based jobs, tourism), *sustainable ecosystems (wildlife, air, soils, water, spiritual renewal), and *sustainable communities. Unfortunately, Plum Creek did not accept this proposal.

RIDGE has never been anti-logging. In fact, we participated for over a year between 1989 and 1990 in the statewide Sustainable Forestry Roundtable. At a series of all-day meetings, RIDGE met with the Tribes, large and small timber companies, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Natural Resources, Audubon, and others to search for solutions in order to create sustainable forestry in Washington State. We worked actively through the nineties to keep the lands in the ridge to river area maintained as forest lands of long-term commercial significance. In 1993, we submitted a grant to the Trust for Public Lands. Our dream, at that time, is represented on the back of your handout. Our vision was ìa living envelope surrounding the communities of Roslyn, Ronald, and Cle Elum...a corridor that (would) preserve and enhance wildlife patterns, human use patterns, spiritual connections and connections to surrounding lands. Though we have received funding for many other projects, unfortunately this grant was not funded.

Yet, RIDGE continued to envision a ridge-to-river corridor. Now our dream will look differently than what we hoped to create almost two decades ago. We have a new neighbor: MountainStar Resort Development. And instead of no houses and no people between Roslyn and the River, there will be many houses and many people. Yet because of the Settlement Agreement between RIDGE and MountainStar and two subsequent amendments, we have shaped these lands to maintain many of the historic use patterns that we have all come to think of as our own. We have forever protected the forested perimeter of Roslyn on all sides. We have forever guaranteed public access at no charge from Section 17, along the Stream C Corridor, along the River in a looped trail system, and up to Easton Ridge. We have dark skies and fish preservation. We anticipate the construction of a trail head for the Stream C corridor in the downtown area that will connect with the Coal Mines Trail. People will then have to drive into downtown, perhaps have a latte at the drive-through, and then park downtown and walk. Maybe they will have lunch at Lefties or the Pastime, or dinner at the Roslyn Café or the Pioneer Restaurant and Sody- Licious Bar, or a beer or soft drink at Marcoís, the Brick, or The Roslyn Brewery and then take a hike. Later, they can relax and see a movie at the Roslyn Theatre or rented from Roslyn Video. And there will also be time to shop at Central Sundries, Lost in Roslyn, The Roslyn Bakery, and the Cicely Gift Shop. People will be excited to visit Roslyn and to spend their money. And we know that 100 years from now, future generations can stand on Pennsylvania Avenue and have the same view of the ridge and the lands bordering the cemetery that we have today...only the trees will be bigger!

Our vision continues to expand. RIDGE looks forward to working on an even broader basis with groups in our communities. These include the Land Trust that was formed as a result of the 2001 Settlement Agreement between RIDGE and MountainStar and the MountainStar Conservation Trust who manages the Stream C Corridor and the River Corridor, as well as the many other groups who are interested in the Cle Elum Ridge and the recreational opportunities it provides. This transfer of the land to the City, if accepted, will supply the impetus for the creation of even more opportunities for recreation and further acquisition of lands to assure connectivity between Upper County communities. This opportunity to work together to create solutions is VERY exciting. RIDGE and MountainStar have worked to resolve our different priorities, our different world views, and our different perspectives in order to realize each otherís interests in an outcome that is great for the community. Now, all things are possible. As different groups unite, we can keep our shared vision and our goals at the forefront of our interactions. Just think of the power we will have if all our groups unite to ask for grant or other types of funding to assure this connectivity forever. Now is the time for all of us to honor and appreciate the diversity of nature, of our surroundings, of our ideas, and of each other and to explore ways to continue preserving these ridge lands as corridors of connectivity for people and wildlife. We can do this! Look at the progress we've made since the Olsen Brothers submitted their proposal for "Roslyn Heights" and 90 homes only one year ago. We can realize a shared vision for ourselves and for future generations. This will be our legacy. Let's SAVE THE RIDGE together and continue to preserve the uniqueness of our home! And let's have some fun while we are coming together as a community.