Northwest NEWS

December 21, 1998


Be the grain of sand that tips the scales

Farmland Perservationists should take a look around the Sammamish Valley. If you're like me, you'll notice a new kind of farmer in the valley, one with a nice home, lots of fences, maybe a few horses, and a really nice "farmland" tax rate.

   Only time will tell what kind of farming we'll see from these new "farmers." Unfortunately, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink, and apparently the same is true with suburban farm owners and farmland.

   Farmland Preservation means something different to everyone. To some, growing sod is farmland preservation, or growing noble fir trees is farmland preservation. To some, even a park with grass fields is farmland preservation, because what it really means is preserving the open space of the valley and soil.

   I don't know who thought of creating the 60-acre park down south, but it was a brilliant idea and I thank whoever had a hand in it. I have played there and my kids have played there--maybe even some kids from Duvall have played there. Today, this park is in such demand that it is suffering from overuse.

   We have an opportunity for a park at the north end of the valley. There lies the county-owned un-farmed farmland known as the "South Gateway Park." Not only will it be a wonderful asset to our community, but it will preserve the "farmland" of the valley!

   Our county council members support this park, but they must see it through the legal land use process and the challenges and opposition of a few with narrower definitions of "farmland preservation" and a Chicken Little outlook.

   This land isn't even part of the restrictive Farmland Preservation Program, so with its development rights intact, it is both more palatable for conditional recreational use and more attractive to developer speculation, hence, more in need of the protection that public ownership can provide.

   Send a Christmas card, or an e-mail with a greeting and message of support, especially to King County Executive Sims. Be the grain of sand that tips the scales toward this new park. They won't know what you want unless you tell them. Maybe we'll have that new park in 1999.

   Executive Ron Sims' e-mail: County Council Chair Louise Miller's e-mail: Regular mail to: 516 3rd Avenue, Rm. 400; Seattle, WA 98104.

Diane Clayton, Hollywood Hill Resident, Woodinville Soccer Club