Washington state officials seek to preserve open space land

(Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com)

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials in Washington state plan to buy or preserve areas of forest, farmland, trails and urban green space by the end of next year.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the initiative is part of an effort by King County to protect the region’s open spaces from development.

The plan calls for the purchase of 7.8 square miles (20 square kilometers) through 61 individual projects at a cost of $64 million.

Officials say they cannot publicly announce the details yet because they are in various stages of negotiations with landowners.

The purchases require approval by the Metropolitan King County Council, which has already approved the framework of the plan.

Officials say some projects will include land purchases, while others will involve the county buying easements to permanently prohibit development.