No one person can carry a conservation initiative but it often takes the vision of an individual or a group to get the momentum going. Without the vision of Wolf Bauer the Green River Gorge would surely have been privatized and people's yards would have reached down to the river. By it's very nature it made sense that the original catalyst for conservation was a boater. The Green River Gorge's remoteness makes it such an unusual and special place and yet has been a road block to it's conservation simply because it isn't well known. Without future efforts on conservation by myself, Pat Sumption, Doreen Johnson, Tom O'keefe, and others, work (to be added as research continues) would not have continued on various aspects of water and land conservation and advocacy.
As it is, even with his vision, much of the gorge is difficult to access and 20% of the shoreline remains in private ownership. Many houses are clearing the trees to improve their views along the Gorge. Without a focused effort the trend towards development of the uplands and degradation of the water quality as a result of development and deforestation will continue.
The history of conservation of the Green River Gorge can serve as a road map of where we have come from, what has been accomplished, and help direct the efforts in the future. As far as who will be the next champion of Green River Gorge conservation; that is up to you!
This is a general outline of the history of conservation of the Green River Gorge Greenway. More details to come.
Timeline History of Conservation Efforts of the Green River Gorge
- 1966: Wolf Bauer wrote a newspaper article that became a call to action to preserve the gorge.
- 1968: Advocacy by Wolf Bauer that resulted in a study by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission recommended a conservation area to protect the gorge. RCW 79A.05.700.
- 1970s: Washington State purchased the Flaming Geyser Resort and turned it into Flaming Geyser State Park.
- 1983: Kanaskat-Palmer State Park was formed.
- 1995: Settlement Agreement between Friends of the Green, City of Tacoma, and King County regarding mitigation measures for construction of Pipeline 5.
- 1995: Waterways 2000 (Bob Fuerstenberg was involved with this; county-wide effort).
- 1996: Washington State Parks developed the CAMP Plan.
- 2001: Formation of the Middle Green River Coalition (MGRC) to advocate for the Green River Gorge and middle Green river watershed.
- 2002: Last Best Places in the Green River Watershed (Focus on middle Green sub-basin).
- 2001-2013: Coordinated effort to add key lands to Green River Gorge Greenway conservation area.
- 2001: Creation of “Working Group” by Trust For Public Land and MGRC to coordinate conservation efforts along the Green River Gorge.
- 2004: Creation of the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway Initiative.
- 2005: Acquisition Greenprint (county-wide effort).
- 2009: Flaming Geyser Lodge renamed the Wolf Bauer Lodge in honor of his efforts.
- 2009: Recreational Flow Study on Green River Gorge
- 2010: National Parks Rivers and Trails Grant to research and develop management structure for the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway.
- Green River Gorge CAMP Plan Long Term Boundary expanded to include additional key lands for protection of wildlife habitat and water quality.
- 2010: Motion approved by the Washington State Senate to recognize Wolf Bauer for his his dedication to outdoor education and safety, as well as his steadfast commitment to the preservation of Washington rivers and shorelines.
- 2011: Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway Map created.
- 2011: Green River Gorge Greenway Council Proposal developed and published.
- 2012: Addition of the language in the updated 2012 King County Comprehensive Plan Community Plans.
- 2016: Wolf Bauer passes away at age 103.
- 2016—Ongoing: Green River Gorge Conservation Documentary.
- 2017: King County renames a Green River Natural Area property to the Doreen Johnson Natural Area in her honor.
- 2017: What next? Update on current efforts.
Links to Supporting Information
- Wolf Bauer
- Washington State Parks CAMP Plan process: http://parks.state.wa.us/268/Planning-Public-Input
- King County Comprehensive Plan Update 2012. Tahoma / Raven Heights Plan, CP-1106: http://www.kingcounty.gov/~/media/property/permits/documents/GrowthManagement/CompPlan2012/11_Chapt10_121203.ashx?la=en
- King County Greenprint: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/stewardship/sustainable-building/greenprint.aspx
- American Whitewater info on Green River: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Project/view/id/43/
- National Parks Rivers and Trails Program: http://www.nps.gov/orgs/rtca/index.htm