More parks needs to preserve habitat, corridors

From The Olympian
December 3, 2015

Letter to the Editor, by Daniel Einstein

OlyEcosystems enthusiastically endorses the Yes Olympia Parks campaign to pass Proposition 1 for the creation of the Olympia Metropolitan Park District (MPD). Our city is at a crossroads. Over the past twenty years, our city has lost about 3,500 acres of habitat, or approximately one third of its total. Parks not only provide open space critical to our mental health and economy, parks also represent critical habitat for our wildlife. In order to preserve connected corridors and functional ecosystems we need to make strategic purchases now. A strong MPD, characterized by accountability, is a critical tool that we need to ensure that Olympians enjoy a balance between urban growth and urban wildlife. Olympia is a special place, not just because of our vibrant arts and music community but also because the city forms the intertidal zone between the Deschutes River and Budd Inlet – one of the most productive ecosystems for juvenile salmon in the world.

Yet that larger interconnected ecosystem is in trouble. No amount of conservation in the upper Deschutes and its watershed will positively affect dwindling salmon if Olympia does not take responsibility for and honor its own shorelines and watersheds. By preserving open space, we will not only create an important legacy for our children but will also preserve our greatest economic asset, making Olympia truly the gateway to Puget Sound, the Olympics and the Pacific Ocean. We urge all Olympians to support the Yes Olympia Parks campaign. The livelihood of our region depends on it.

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