Coming Home View ProtectedThose of us who call the Skagit Valley home have an expression about the mood shift we experience on I-5 as we begin to drop into the fertile, green and rural valley--we call it the Coming Home View. It can be felt coming from the north down Bow Hill--but it is especially felt coming from the south cresting the first green wedge of a ridge after 100 miles of numbing suburban and urban sprawl in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties. We want to keep our coming home view rural and pastoral-and not just for the view's sake. We cherish our agricultural heritage and its role in our region's economy. We understand that our county is one of the last in western Washington that has a viable agricultural component and we are one of the last rural slices remaining on I-5 in the Evergreen ever-growing state. Sure we have our big box stores too-but they're pretty much confined to just a two mile strip in Burlington. Head a half mile west and you're back in farmland=and it will remain farmland! And now our coming home view has just gotten a little closer to remaining the same due to the recent passage of the Agricultural scenic corridor bill. The governor signed it into law today. It states:
"Creating an agricultural scenic corridor within the scenic and recreational highway system" -- designates a portion of state Route 5 in Skagit and Snohomish counties as an agricultural scenic corridor, showcasing the state's historical agricultural areas and promoting their maintenance and enhancement.
Basically a 15 mile stretch of I-5, the first piece of interstate highway in the state to gain this designation. It won't stop development, but it will make it easier to secure funds and teeth for protecting farm lands and in our county folks of all walks of life and political persuasion have repeatedly shown that they support that! It is one of the things that makes living in the Skagit Valley special. You won't get this designation on the Valley Freeway in Kent and Auburn. Forty years ago however-it could have fit. We don't want what happened to the Kent Valley to happen here. We have seen the past and it is not what we want for our future. We've destroyed some of the best farmland in the west all ready in places like the Kent Valley. Let's keep Skagit green and agriculturally viable, not just for my view-but for our health and well being too!