In May 2005, the Cascade Land Conservancy (later renamed Forterra) outlines the Cascade Agenda, a 100-year conservation plan to protect 1.3 million acres of forest, farms, and other Puget Sound land. Along with preserving wilderness and open spaces, the Cascade Agenda moves to create vibrant urban areas by partnering with developers and public officials. The rough value of the conservation land is about $7 million over the next hundred years.
The Cascade Agenda came out of formal and informal dialogues between several key groups in the Northwest. Builders, developers, Fortune 500 business executives, public officials, environmental advocates, and even neighborhood activists started meeting in 2004 to discuss what the future of the Cascade region should look like. More than 4,500 people participated in planning and brainstorming meetings.
The agenda had two main goals: to conserve nearly 1.3 million acres of land, and to do so while also creating thriving and economically viable cities and towns. Paramount in the strategy was the belief that "the foundation of an outstanding quality of life is a good job, and … conservation and economic development need each other to succeed" ("Cascade Agenda: 100 Years Forward"). The plan (and partners as diverse as Weyerhaeuser, tribal leaders, The Boeing Company, and Seattle Public Utilities) thus focused not just on conservation, but also on ensuring proper and sustainable development.
Now and in the Future
Using population projections and growth analyses, the Cascade Agenda set forth ideas to implement short-, mid-, and long-range plans. The agenda already has helped push forward a Transfer of Development Rights Program that will swap ecologically sensitive land slated for development for land that is more suitable for growth.
The Cascade Land Conservancy and its partners also began Cascade Agenda Cities, which educates cities on how to become "complete, compact, and connected" ("Cascade Agenda Cities Program …"). So far, Tacoma, Kirkland, Issaquah, Shoreline, Ellensburg, Edmonds, Snohomish, Mountlake Terrace, Buckley, Mill Creek, and Lynnwood are Cascade Agenda Cities. Fourteen thousand acres of parkland has been added to the Cascade region, and several cities have chosen to participate in the organization's Green Cities program, which will restore 6,000 acres of forested parklands.
In 2011, the Cascade Land Conservancy announced the Olympic Agenda, a 100-year vision for the Olympic Peninsula. The agenda included a conservation plan for 550,000 acres of land, trail planning, and models for the "new Peninsula town," which while small, plays a role in the global economy ("Olympic Agenda …"). The organization changed its name to Forterra in November 2011.