Shelton View Forest Stewardship Association (SVFSA) members and supporters packed the room at two recent Bothell City Council meetings, appealing to the city to help preserve the wooded land in northern Bothell.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which currently owns 26 acres of the forest, had given the city until 2018 to raise the funds to buy the land. The price tag is between $2.6 million and $3 million, according to figures provided to Bothell’s parks and recreation department last year.
Facing financial challenges in its 2019-2020 budget, the council decided not to set aside any funds for the purchase of Shelton View in the next biennium.
More than a dozen Shelton View supporters spoke at the Nov. 27 meeting against that decision, describing the need for green space and urban forests, and the importance of protecting natural lands for future generations. Many said that residents in the northern part of the city and Snohomish County feel forgotten by the council at times. They want the city to help them preserve their park, as Bothell has done with the North Creek Forest and Wayne Golf Course.
Hillary Sanders, SVFSA president, noted that Shelton View has “been in Bothell’s Comprehensive Plan for over 10 years,” and it “would be an injustice to the community to let it go now.” She said that SVFSA understands the city’s budget situation and wasn’t asking for money, just support from the city. She said that the association is committed to volunteering, fundraising and requesting money at the state level.
The group has already worked with Snohomish County to secure a $1 million grant to help purchase a 16-acre parcel of the forest owned by MC Coast, which was looking at developing the land.
At the Dec. 4 meeting, City Manager Jennifer Phillips announced that she was working on a two-year extension with DNR that wouldn’t require a financial commitment from the city. The council approved the extension unanimously.
Councilmember James McNeal, who founded the OneBothell group that helped protect Wayne Golf Course, said that the Bothell community now has a track record of preserving open space, but that it takes a lot of work and positivity.
“Just because it can’t happen today doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen at all,” Bothell resident Jackie Sanders told the council on Nov. 27. “We need to think about where our children are going to play and what will draw people to Bothell.”
Hillary Sanders said her group is interested in working with the city on a volunteer stewardship plan for the various open spaces in the community.
See www.bothellwa.gov for more.
Correction: The original version of this story stated that the city had rescinded its letter of interest for the DNR parcel. The council did not rescind its letter, but did not request an extension originally. This story was updated at 9:15 a.m. on Dec. 17.