Dear Skykomish Valley Residents,
We hope you and your family are staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Please be mindful about what you put in, on and around yourself and your children as well as what you put down your drain. Scientists believe that toxic synthetic chemicals change the body’s defense systems and have a potential of making people more susceptible to viruses.
Scientists are also concerned and alarmed about increasing speed with which viruses have been mutating in the environment of mixed synthetic chemicals.
At the same time, toxic synthetic chemicals can find their way to our surface and ground waterways and to the Puget Sound.
Our watershed is a source of drinking water and should be protected from toxic contamination.
The forest products industry is important in Washington State. It manufactures many useful products, employs 42,000 people, pays $3 billion/year in wages, and does $28 billion/year gross revenue.
At the same time, this industry can use better forest practices that are less damaging to the health and wellbeing of people, the ecosystem and the tourism and recreation industry.
Skykomish River Valley has a high tourism and recreation value with its stunning landscape and close proximity to the metro areas. There is no reason why local rural communities can not benefit economically from bustling tourism and recreation unless there is strong will not to benefit.
Wallace Falls State Park has over 225,000 annual visitors. Creating more non-motorized trails to the east of the park, adequate parking and other facilities for visitors will relieve strain from overused infrastructure of Wallace Falls State Park, improve recreational experience for visitors, and bring more balance and harmony to the ecosystem and local community of Gold Bar.
Recreation will undoubtedly increase in Washington State after the COVID-19 pandemic, as people pay more attention to their health and wellbeing.
WA State Economic Report by Outdoor Industry Association 7-2017 showed that Washington’s outdoor recreation industry
- Employs 201,000 people directly, more than the Washington’s aerospace industry – 136,000;
- Pays $7.6 billion/year in wages;
- Brings $26.2 billion/year gross revenue and $2.3 billion state and local taxes.
72% of Washington residents participate in outdoor recreation each year.
A 2019 study for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office determined that hiking trails alone brought over $8.2 billion to Washington State economy:
- $425.7 million in Island County
- $298.3 million in Chelan County
- $214.5 million in Skagit County
- $196 million in Snohomish County
Foot trail use results in over $390 million in health savings each year. Foot trail-based activities can improve physical and mental health, especially for children and communities at a higher risk of illness and chronic stress.
Additionally, more non-motorized trails mean more economic value to a region. There is no entry fee for hiking on state or federal lands besides the day, annual or lifetime parking-lot pass. The majority of households can afford this entry fee, as it covers a carload of individuals.