News: In May of 2013, Spokane County acquired the 906-acre Mica Peak Conservation Area. The Parks Department is currently working on public access improvements. Stay tuned for updates, a new trail map, and other important info.
What is the Conservation Futures Program?
The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program was conceived in 1994 with the voters approval of an advisory ballot measure (and the County Commissioners subsequent authorization of) authorizing the County to levy a property tax of (up-to) 6.25-cents per $1000 of property value (currently levied at 4.3 cents per $1,000) to acquire, preserve and otherwise protect the County's open space, streams, rivers, and other natural resources. This levy rate means that a home owner whose property is assessed at $150,000 would contribute $9.00 annually to the Conservation Futures fund.
This tax money is solely for the acquisition of property and development rights to benefit wildlife, conserve natural resources, increase passive recreation and educational opportunities, and improve the quality of life for area residents. Fifteen percent of the annual Conservation Futures levy revenue is dedicated toward maintaining, protecting and enhancing these properties in perpetuity.
As of 2013, the Conservation Futures Program has acquired over 7,000 acres through 30 acquisitions. Spokane County Parks and Recreation manages 15 different properties ("Conservation Areas"), the City of Spokane Parks Department manages an 11 properties, and Washington State Parks and the City of Cheney manage one property each. To find out more about each property, please view the left menu and click on each link (Please note that some recently acquired properties may not appear on the list due to current access issues being address).
How do I nominate property for Conservation Futures?
The 2010 nomination round for Conservation Futures is now closed. To learn more about the program and whether or not your property may compete well in future nomination rounds, please download or print the Program Overview and Nomination Packet, available in Word or PDF format.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Paul Knowles, Park Planner, at (509) 477-2188 or firstname.lastname@example.org or John Bottelli, Assistant Director, at (509) 477-2529 or email@example.com.
In 1971 the Washington State Legislature enacted RCW 84.34.200 "Conservation Futures Enabling Legislation" recognizing haphazard growth and urban development was encroaching upon the state's open areas and spaces. Productive lands, like agricultural and forestry areas were being altered, or even eliminated by continued urban expansion. Scenic, recreational, and aesthetic lands were also at risk.
In 1994, Spokane County Commissioners adopted the Conservation Futures Program for 3 years to protect threatened areas of open space, timberlands, wetland, wildlife habitat, agricultural and farm lands, streams and water supplies within the county boundaries. In 1997, citizens voted to support the continuation of the program for an additional 5 years. When the Conservation Futures program was on the ballot in 2002, Spokane County voters again supported a second 5-year extension of the program implemented by the Board of County Commissioners. Most recently, in November 2007, the Conservation Futures program was put on an advisory ballot and this time for renewal with no sunset date. Spokane County voters again supported extending the program with a super-majority of nearly 63% of voters supporting the measure.