In 1997, Western Rivers Conservancy embarked on one of its most exciting projects in the past decade: creation of Robe Canyon Historic Park. Within an hour northeast of Seattle, the South Fork Stillaguamish River, a premier salmon and whitewater stream, tumbles through Robe Canyon. Western Rivers Conservancy spent seven years working the local watershed group, the Stillaguamish Citizens Alliance, the landowner, and Snohomish County Parks to generate support for a $25 million land preservation bond measure.
In 1997, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased 880 acres of land along seven miles of the South Fork Stilly from Hancock Timber Resource Group, and then conveyed the lands to Snohomish County Parks and Recreation as their lead acquisition for a bond issue. An old railroad grade passes through six tunnels along the river canyon. With the help of several local groups, the railroad grade was restored to serve as a hiking trail and boating access was improved along this famous stretch of whitewater.