What, exactly, are "open spaces" by your definition?
If you refer to the as-yet-to-be-developed-landscape surrounding the Tri-Cities, then this question should have been asked 50 or 60 years ago and every month thereafter with some serious discussion as to how extensive the countryside be chewed up in favor of malls, housing, and roads. Then, as now, I suspect not much effort beyond a letter to the editor or a few plaintive voices at a public hearing would make much difference once these untrammeled areas have been surveyed by the dollar-minded (not bunch grass-minded) brokers and CAT machines rumble in.
We hate to stand by and see the Amazon forests decimated for commercial causes and yet by our own standards set a poor example to others for conservation. Anyone been to Love Canal lately? How's the fishing around Valdez?
The one thing which seems to work to preserve natural settings is putting them off limits to people who'd put up Badger Mountain Amusement Park where Badger Mountain used to be. You stop these profiteers by preserving scenic spots with a national or state park designation, like Juniper Dunes.
I'm not so much worried about the "open spaces" of southeastern Washington as I am about the "closed spaces" between the ears of exploiters (and their apologists) who would have us believe all they're doing is good and "natural" under the guise of progress.
-- BINK OWEN, Walla Walla