Community honors Harvey Manning at statue unveiling

September 22, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning, who dubbed the mountains around the city the Issaquah Alps, is now immortalized in bronze at the Issaquah Trails House.

Manning, known as the “Wilderness Warrior,” founded the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and helped establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Elected officials, residents and friends of the late conservationist, more than 100 people in all, turned out Sept. 20 to dedicate the life-sized statue. The artwork depicts Manning in his signature wide-brimmed hat and thick-rimmed glasses seated atop a boulder. The rocks included in the statue installation were hauled from the Manning property.

Artists Sara Johani and her husband, Tom Jay, used a photo of Manning seated on a rock outcropping as inspiration for the statue. The sculpture was installed at the trails house Sept. 10.

City Councilman David Kappler, who spoke at the ceremony, later recalled his first visit to the statue, a few days before the unveiling ceremony.

“It was almost eerie having Harvey staring at you,” Kappler said. “I wanted to say, ‘Stop staring at me, Harvey, and go save some open space.’”

Kappler said the ceremony served as a reminder of what Manning accomplished and a call to complete still-unfinished efforts to preserve open space.

Organizers raised about $65,000 to cover costs of the statue and installation. Most of the contributions arrived in the form of small donations, though the charitable arm of outdoor retailer REI kicked in $10,000 and the city Arts Commission pledged $8,000.

Doug McClelland, the state Department of Natural Resources official whose territory includes Tiger Mountain, worked with Manning to help create Tiger Mountain State Park.

McClelland recalled how he received typewritten letters from Manning — always sent on a sheet of recycled paper — every few months with suggestions about how to protect wilderness and increase public access.

McClelland said the people at the Sept. 20 unveiling consisted of conservationists who had worked with Manning for years. He recalled working with Manning from 1980 to until he died in 2006.

“The crowd was full of people who had worked with Harvey since the beginning,” McClelland said.

He challenged young people in the crowd to continue the work to preserve open space.

McClelland said, without intervention from Manning, houses would dot large expanses of Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. He said Manning would help in “any way, shape or form” to protect natural resources.

Manning wrote several books and guides about hiking trails throughout Washington and the Pacific Northwest. His well-known titles include the “100 Hikes” guidebooks of the Cascades and the Olympics. Manning also helped edit a seminal book on climbing, “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.”

The statue is the latest commemoration for Manning, known across the region for his lifelong efforts to protect wilderness.

In May, city officials honored Manning with a top city environmental award — the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community. The honor is awarded to people who work to protect natural resources. Besides founding the trails club, Manning lobbied to protect Cougar Mountain and preserve North Cascades National Park.

City Council members voted in April to rename Talus Park on Cougar Mountain as Harvey Manning Park at Talus.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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