Saving the CHS Memorial Forest

If we’re to save the Cleveland Memorial Forest, we need your help. Right Now. Here’s the story. And one simple thing you can do to help.

Background

During WWII, enterprising CHS students with an eye to the future raised $300 to purchase property for a memorial forest. To make this dream a reality, they planted 10,000 trees and named it the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest, and dedicated it to CHS alumni who lost their lives during the war.

Today, it’s a beautiful 131-acre virgin forest filled with Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, and Western Red Cedar. It’s located northeast of Issaquah, and today it is worth millions of dollars. The property was given to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) as
a perpetual memorial to “the Cleveland boys who lost their lives during the war.” But now, with the school system always in need of money, alumni fear the property will be sold or used for some other purpose.

The CHS Alumni Association has been promoting a plan for SPS to sell the development rights to the property to a land-conservation group so the land can never be developed for any other use. SPS would still own the property, but this single act would likely protect the property in perpetuity from being developed for other uses.

We are making good progress in saving the forest. Should our plan proceed, it would have to be presented to the Seattle School Board for approval. We can best demonstrate broad-based support to preserve the Cleveland Memorial Forest by presenting letters of support from alumni and military-related
organizations.

Progress

We had a busy spring gathering letters of support from alumni and military-related organizations to protect the CHS Memorial Forest. So far, we have received letters of support from the following national organizations, plus 54 from alumni.

  • The American Legion
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Daughters of the American Revolution
  • American Ex-Prisoners of War
  • The Marine Corps League
  • The World War II Museum
  • Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The American Legion has 21,000 members in Washington State with over 6,000 members in King County. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has 24,000 members in Washington State, with over 7,000 members in King County. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has 2,360 members in Washington State with 600 members in King County.

Failure

While we requested letters of support from the 6,800 recipients of the CHS Alumni newsletter, we’re greatly disappointed that only 54 people responded – less than one percent. To make matters even worse, the very first letter of support came from Diana Hill, a Franklin High School graduate. Diana is the wife of CHS graduate, Bradley Hill ’56 (you made a good choice, Bradley). Such a low response rate will not be persuasive to the School Board. Alumni must step up with letters of support if we are to keep the forest out of the hands of developers.

The CHS Memorial Forest is a beautiful memorial to alumni who lost their lives while fighting for our country. We cannot let it fall to real estate developers.

CHS alumni, we cannot do this without your help. Please step up with your support by downloading the letter-of-support form, and emailing or mailing a signed copy to us. We’ll get it delivered and save our forest.

Remember, CHS is unique. We are the only high school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who lost their lives while fighting for our country during World War II.

Download a Letter of Support Form

 

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