King County bolstered its reputation as a national leader in the effort to confront climate change in 2017, delivering on Executive Dow Constantine’s commitment to protect the region’s natural environment while creating more resilient communities.
Whether it’s a pledge to operate one of the nation’s largest zero emission battery bus fleets, expanding non-motorized transportation options, or investing in alternative energy sources, King County’s efforts are helping people, neighborhoods and even cities adapt to a changing world.
The Department of Natural Resources and Parks coordinated much of the County’s work to respond to the unique and widespread threats that climate change present. Here are some of the highlights:
Expanding our world-class regional trail system to offer more non-motorized transportation options
Our continued work to expand and improve regional trails offers future opportunities for recreation and alternative commuting options in communities across King County.
In March, we opened a 1.5-mile-long segment of the Lake to Sound Trail, which will stretch 16 miles from the Puget Sound shoreline in Des Moines to the southern end of Lake Washington in Renton, while also passing through the cities of Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila – and linking to several existing trails along the way.
The Eastside Rail Corridor runs nearly 20 miles along the bustling eastern shore of Lake Washington, and this year workers have been busy removing outdated train tracks and installing an interim trail surface at the southern and northern ends of the County’s portions. By year’s end up to 5 miles of interim trail could be opened in this corridor.
At year’s end work was nearing completion along a 1.3-mile stretch of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, where crews are converting the interim gravel surfaced trail to a master planned trail. With just one more stretch of interim trail left to develop into a finished trail, the County is closing in on completing a 44-mile-long recreation and non-motorized commuting corridor that stretches from Puget Sound to the Cascade foothills.
Making progress toward planting 1 million trees to improve air quality, neighborhoods, and green spaces
A partnership that Executive Constantine created in 2016 made significant progress this year toward planting 1 million trees throughout King County by 2020. DNRP brought together businesses, cities, and community organizations to host volunteer work parties where trees were planted to beautify parks and natural lands, improve habitat and neighborhoods and help combat climate change.
Volunteer tree plantings took place along rural wetlands, in urban parks, and in suburban communities.
Installed more than 300 solar panels at County parks
We installed more than 300 solar panels at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center and Marymoor Park near Redmond to further reduce the County’s energy consumption. The panels will soon generate enough electricity to power the historic community center and light the nearby sport court.
Joined partnership that power County buildings with clean wind electric
King County is partnering with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in a program called Green Direct, to power 98 percent of the County’s buildings and facilities in PSE’s territory with clean wind electricity generated by a new western Washington windfarm, starting in 2019.