See the Pearl Garden
Thursday, August 22, 1997

Not all rock musicians are into destruction, as members and friends of rock giants Pearl Jam and Soundgarden pitched in $400,000 to save a prime spot of wilderness in the Cascade Mountains.

In its first partnership with rock musicians, the Land Conservancy of Seattle and King County recently closed the deal with United Cascade Mining. By buying the large parcel, the conservation group saved 220 acres of prime habitat. The property, which abuts the federally protected Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Hardscrabble Creek, was slated for development when it was saved by the rocker's generosity.

"Many of the musicians have been up in the Cascades and are aware of its natural beauty," said Gene Duvernoy, the Conservancy's executive director. "These folks are just really committed artists."

The property is home to eagles, bear, mountain lions and elk. "It offers many varieties of trees, flowers and other vegetation...," Duvernoy said. "At its highest zone of 5,000 to 7,000 feet, glades and meadows mix with dense forests and jagged peaks. Snow depths can range to 20 feet and the summer season is short."

The sale of the parcel, the last privately owned piece in the upper region of the Mid-Fork of the Snoqualmie Valley, was three years in negotiation. "Our purchase of this strategically important property will forever protect this extraordinary region from the impact of development," Duvernoy said.

Duvernoy called this conservation partnership "exceptional" as it is the first time the Conservancy has worked with musicians since its 1989 inception.

The interest was first shown by the bands' friend, Gerry Amandes, who recruited the musicians and Soundgarden manager Susan Silver. "Gerry spends a lot of time in the wilderness, heard about the sale, and knew the preservation would have an impact on the Mid-Fork Valley; a domino effect on preservation of that area," Silver said.

Amandes was unavailable for comment as he was "in the wilderness," Silver said. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, who disbanded in April, have been involved in a number of charitable endeavors concerning human rights to ecology (Soundgarden recorded an album for Greenpeace where the studio was completely solar powered).

-- Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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