As my aunt says of her real estate investments, there’s nothing like having land since they’re not making any more of it. Not only is no more land being made, undeveloped land is being lost all around us.
If you look at Badger Mountain, preserving it as a park has been an unexpected success. Tens of thousands of people use the mountain every year to walk with their families, their youth groups or even by themselves. Anyone who really looks at the Tri-Cities from the top will learn more about the natural history of the region, the impact of Hanford and the Columbia River project, and local land development than they ever expected before taking that first step on the trail. I still remember stopping at the Lake Lewis markers and watching my son realize that the Ice Age Floods really did flood the Basin and leave our little mountains as small islands.
I think it’s very important that we preserve other lands for similar lessons about the natural world and our place in it. Doing that will require funds to buy land, perform restoration and put in trails and access points. Those needs cannot be met by local volunteers alone, it will take real funding to preserve areas that will become the next Badger Mountain, Amon Preserve, or Tapteal Greenway. At this time we’re even going backwards, as the State and Corps of Engineers close parks or severely restrict their operating hours.
Only we in Benton County can make sure that we have access to natural areas in Benton County. I am going to vote FOR the conservation tax and urge you to do the same.