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Middle Green River Coalition starting new project

By Bryan Bowden

National Parks Service

The board of directors of the Middle Green River Coalition is initiating a project to develop a coordinated management structure for the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway. The goal of the project is to put in place a management organization that will be the most effective for the Greenway. Initially MGRC will research other organizations that have developed similar management structures such as the Mountains to Sound Greenway and the Nisqually River Council.

After that, MGRC will work with landowners and regional stakeholders to develop and implement the management entity.

MGRC was started in 2000 by Greg Wingard and Lisa Parsons to create a conservation voice in southeast King County to protect the Green River Gorge and other key areas in the Middle Green River Watershed. Since then MGRC has developed a working group that convenes monthly meetings to coordinate land management, conservation and recreation in the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway. Creating the management structure for the Greenway will build on this initial working group.

The MGRC board of directors is particularly interested in making sure the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway has a management structure that can implement the Greenway vision and keep the project moving forward into the future. They are also working to ensure that there is coordination between key landowners and other stakeholders in developing the Greenway Vision.

To help facilitate the process, MGRC successfully applied for assistance from the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program of the National Park Service. Rivers and Trails is a program of the National Park Service that provides nonfinancial grants of planning assistance to public agencies and organizations working to protect local open space resources and enhance close to home connections to recreation and nature.

“The Middle Green River Coalition has come a long way,” said Greg Wingard, president of MGRC. “The time is right to develop a more sustainable organization for the good of the Greenway.”

With National Park Service assistance, the MGRC board will be working through a process over the next several months to develop the management plan. Key steps in the process will include the following:

• Prepare a ‘Management Vision and Goals’ document

• Prepare a case study document about the history of the MGRC

• Conduct an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing management structure

• Research and prepare case studies about the organizational structure of similar organizations (e.g., the Mountains to Sound Greenway, the Nisqually River Council, and the Yakima Greenway Association)

• Conduct a retreat to determine a management structure for the Green River Gorge Greenway

• Document decisions and required implementation actions

• Obtain approval/endorsement from appropriate agency leaders and elected officials

• Announce and implement the new management structure

For more information please contact Lisa Parsons at 206-902-8305.

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