Coalition looking at plan to further benefit Green River Gorge

The Middle Green River Coalition is joining forces with a National Park Service program, looking to form a management program to ensure the longterm health of the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway.

The MGRC board of directors successfully applied for assistance from the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program of the Park Service. The program exists to provide nonfinancial grants of planning assistance to public agencies and organizations working to protect natural resources.

“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.”

MGRC was started in 2000 by Wingard and Lisa Parsons to create a conservation voice in southeast King County, all in the name of protecting the Green River Gorge and other key areas in the Middle Green River watershed. MGRC has since developed a working group that convenes monthly to coordinate land management, conservation, and recreation in the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway.

The new effort to create a management structure for the Greenway will build on the efforts of that group.

Initially, MGRC will research other organizations that have developed similar management structures. Local examples include the Mountains to Sound Greenway and the Nisqually River Council. After that, the MGRC will work with landowners and regional stakeholders to develop and implement the management program.

Key steps in developing a management plan will include:

• preparing a "Management Vision and Goals" document;

• considering the strengths and weaknesses of the existing management structure;

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

• obtaining approval and endorsements from appropriate agency leaders and elected officials.

For more information, contact Parsons at 360-802-4618.

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