Environmental activist Ruth Kees dies
May 7, 2009
By David Hayes
NEW — 3:05 p.m. May 7, 2009
Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died this morning. She was 84.
Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”
Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award Monday night. Kees did not attend the ceremony.
City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.
“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club.
Kappler said Kees was not only known for her efforts to protect the Issaquah Alps — the peaks surrounding the city — but for her understanding how it all fit together with the water, the forest and the streams as a habitat for the salmon.
Kappler was presented with the Ruth Kees Award in April 2006, which he said was a fitting tribute to name an award after someone as dedicated to the environment as was Kees.
“As someone who received the award, it is a real honor,” he said. “I still have a picture on my refrigerator of Ruth hugging me when I received the award. That award is very meaningful.”
The award was established in 2003, with Kees as the first recipient. The same night, she was presented the state’s highest environmental honor — the Department of Ecology’s Environmental Excellence Award — for her more than 40 years efforts to project the Issaquah Creek watershed.