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Help Protect Heybrook Ridge

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Jun 03, 2008 02:10 PM |

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how people can make a difference.

WTA volunteer Jan Klippert, who passed away earlier this year, showed me and many others that if you get a group of passionate people together, you can solve any problem or build something lasting for future generations. Jan helped build WTA into the organization it is today, and his vision and hard work helped create the annual Washington Coast Cleanup.

WTA volunteers--1,850 of them last year--have proven that people working together can make a difference for our trails.

Now, a group of neighbors in the mountain town of Index is demonstrating that if you have a vision and present that vision with passion and energy, you can build a movement.

What's going on in Index? Well, in this historic town known for logging and mining, they've made a proposal to the W.B Foresters company to purchase scenic Heybrook Ridge outside of town, on the fringes of the new Wild Sky Wilderness. It seems the town residents thought a planned clearcut on the hillside would mar the view from their town, contribute to erosion and diminish the quality of life in this idyllic spot along the Skykomish River.

So, partnering with the Cascade Land Conservancy, the group, which called itself  Friends of Heybrook Ridge, made a deal with W.B. Foresters: if they could raise $1.3 million by June 30, 2008 the logging company would sell the land for conservation. And then, an anonymous donor stepped forward with a match of $500,000. Meaning the residents need to raise $800,000 to save this scenic ridge to the south of town.

It's a great area worth saving. Many hikers know the trail to Heybrook Lookout, on Forest Service land adjacent to the timber company land. In fact, on National Trails Day, June 7, WTA crews will be working on trails at Heybrook (a last-minute change from Barclay Lake, where snows are still too deep on the trail). can you make a difference? Visit the Friends of Heybrook Ridge website and make a donation before June 30.