Dear King County Council:
I live a mile from downtown Woodinville, WA. Before living here, I lived on 3 acres in a semi-rural part of South Carolina. When I first moved to Puget Sound 12 years ago, I was immediately drawn to this spot because of the country feeling it has, yet is so close to everything in the city. My commute to work has consisted of riding the 1 mile down to the Sammamish River bike trail, then 10 miles on a quiet, scenic ride along the trail to Marymoor Park, then 1 more mile up to my office. Even in the winter, this is a pleasant ride.
On my ride in the mornings, the air smells clean and fresh. There are no roads or houses anywhere close to the trail. I see lots of wildlife: rabbits, beavers and herons are always there. But the wilderness experience goes far beyond that. I have seen a coyote catching a rabbit. I have seen an eagle catch a duck in the middle of one of the farms; I have had an owl fly along beside me as I rode home in the winter night. This place is surprisingly quiet and devoid of noise pollution. A great comfort for people and an absolute necessity for creatures like owls which depend on hearing to catch their food. This corridor is a great sanctuary for people as well as wildlife from the growth and expansion of urban life and an important reason why I choose to live here.
At night, this corridor is one of the few places not flooded with light pollution, yet open enough to see the sky. I sometimes take my daughter here to see the stars. Earlier this year we were able to go down to the bike trail near the St. Michelle winery to watch the meteor shower and another time to watch the lunar eclipse. During the day, this is one of the few places near my home where I can get an unobstructed view of Mt Rainier. Most evenings throughout the summer, a pair of hot air balloons can be seen drifting down the valley where they will land in a field within the valley. These balloons are as much the trademark of the City of Woodinville as the Space Needle is of the City of Seattle. (see the city logo in the top right corner of the City of Woodinville website). These experiences will all be gone permanently, when you open this area up to development.
I support protecting our farms, forests, and rural lands. These lands are important, not only to Woodinville’s wine and tourism industry, but to everyone who lives here or passes through. Many thousands of cyclists use this corridor daily. To quote from your own website:
“The Sammamish River Trail (SRT) runs 10.9 miles along the Sammamish River from Bothell to Marymoor Park in Redmond as part of the “Locks to Lakes Corridor.” The SRT is paved its entire length and is one of King County’s most popular regional trails. The trail offers extraordinary views of the river, the broad Sammamish River Valley, Cascade foothills and Mt. Rainier. Bicyclists, joggers, skaters, walkers, and others enjoy the trail as a regional recreation resource. The SRT is also used extensively by commuters as a nonmotorized corridor between suburban cities and Seattle.”
To develop this land will not only diminish the value of the valley itself, but also destroy the very reason many people are drawn to this area to begin with. Please protect our lands by keeping King County’s designated urban growth area right where it is.