Late trails club pioneer Harvey Manning wins top environmental award

May 4, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8:01 p.m. May 4, 2009

Harvey Manning — the late conservationist who coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe the peaks surrounding the city — was honored tonight with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lobbied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain.

City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors people who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space.

His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

In addition to his conservation efforts, Manning was a prolific writer. He wrote several books and guides about hiking trails throughout Washington and the Northwest. Manning is noted for creating the “100 Hikes” series of guidebooks to trails in the Cascades, Olympics and other natural areas. The standard textbook for climbing — “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” — also bears his imprint. Manning helped edit the first edition of the book.

But Manning is perhaps best known for his efforts to preserve Cougar Mountain and establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park — 3,115 acres of forests, streams and wetlands. Known as the “Wilderness Warrior,” Manning also helped preserve North Cascades National Park.

Doug Simpson, a trails club vice president, said the slopes of Cougar Mountain would be crisscrossed with houses without Manning’s preservation efforts.

In honor of his efforts to preserve the mountainside, City Council members voted last month to name a slice of Cougar Mountain parkland Harvey Manning Park at Talus.

Manning helped to found the trails club in May 1979. Members have commissioned an artist to sculpt a statue of his likeness. Simpson said the bronze statue would be unveiled at the Trails House during a September ceremony.

Kees has been a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. City officials recognize others in her honor if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

William Longwell Jr., a co-founder of the trails club, was honored posthumously with the award last year. Simpson said he was pleased another longtime club member would receive the honor.

“The right person at the right time: that’s the inspirational story behind our beloved Issaquah Alps,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a news release. “Thanks to Harvey’s strong leadership, passion for writing and immense dedication to preserving local wilderness, breathtaking amounts of forest still surround Issaquah.”

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