A message from President and CEO Bob Davidson:
Whether it’s spending time on our beautiful Puget Sound, hiking a mountain trail or visiting the park down the street from your home—everyone should have the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature. As a lifelong Pacific Northwesterner, I have many fond memories of enjoying the greenspaces that are all around us with my kids, friends and family.
Parks and open spaces contribute to our quality of life and play a critical role in protecting our local waters. King County is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. As our population grows and our cities become denser, there are less places for our local wildlife to flourish. Ecosystems become disrupted and it becomes more difficult for local species to thrive.
Some of the most important habitats that help determine the health of our ocean are on land. Rivers and streams provide critical habitats for wildlife, estuaries are important nurseries for many birds and fish, and our beaches and shorelines are populated by a vast array of creatures that play a vital role in our marine ecosystem.
What we do on land matters in the ocean. Our greenspaces help filter stormwater by removing toxins that can hurt local water quality and impact our food chain. Preserving forests reduces air pollution and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. And natural spaces help reduce CO2 outputs, which contribute to ocean acidification and warming waters.
Our local salmon population provides great example of the connection between land and sea. Forests and open spaces help ensure healthy rivers and streams, essential habitats for juvenile salmon. Our salmon not only provide food for us and jobs in our communities, they play a critical part of our greater food chain. Salmon are prey for land-based wildlife like eagles, seabirds and bears. They are a vital food source for many types of predatory fish, seals and of course our critically endangered southern resident orcas.
How we manage our greenspaces is important to the overall health of our environment. It is because of this link that the Aquarium is proud to support the renewal of the King County Parks levy that will be appearing on your election ballot this August.
The parks levy will invest in conserving open spaces, parks, pools and playfields in every community across King County. It will protect habitat and clean water, provide active recreation, and increase opportunities to connect people with the beautiful green (and marine) spaces throughout our region. It will also provide funding to help expand the Aquarium and deepen our conservation impact, and invests in environmental education programming and free admission programs at Woodland Park Zoo.
The measure, which renews and replaces our existing levy, is supported by King County Executive Dow Constantine, a bipartisan King County Council majority, and many great organizations including: Cascade Bicycle; Forterra; Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association; The Nature Conservancy; The Trust for Public Land; The Wilderness Society; Washington Bikes; and the Washington Trails Association. It is a well-crafted and accountable measure that the Aquarium is proud to endorse.
We hope you will join us in preserving our region’s greenspaces and protecting our marine environment by voting yes on August 6. To learn more, visit kcparksforall.com—and please be on the lookout for your mail-in ballot in July.
We can all do our part, so remember: vote early and vote like our planet depends on it, because it does.