Hundreds of volunteers needed to plant trees

October 13, 2009

By Staff

More than 200 Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers will plant trees at Lake Sammamish State Park from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Oct. 17 to kick off the fall tree planting season. The event will begin a campaign to plant more than 25,000 native trees and shrubs in several natural areas in the greenway.Lake Sammamish is important for several species of salmon, many birds and a wide variety of amphibians, insects and other wildlife, and is an entrance point for salmon headed upstream to spawn. The area has been extremely degraded over time by invasive weeds and high levels of foot and boat traffic.

To improve the ecological condition of the site, the state Parks and Recreation Commission and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust have undertaken a multiyear restoration project at the park, bringing volunteers to remove invasive weeds, especially Himalayan and evergreen blackberry, from along the creek and lakeshore.

To date, greenway conservation corps crews and volunteers have pulled invasive weeds and planted native trees and shrubs on more than 20 acres within the park.

Woody debris — large whole trees — was placed along the lakeshore last year to improve salmon habitat. The trees came from clearing for a new park in the Talus development, and were not cut down for this purpose.

This fall, volunteers will plant more than 8,000 additional trees at the lake and along Issaquah Creek to continue this major restoration project.

Native trees are critical to the health of the Pacific Northwest. Trees improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases, shade creeks and streams cooling water for threatened salmon, reduce erosion and filter pollutants, improving water quality, and provide important wildlife habitat.

Additional tree planting events are scheduled Saturdays in October, November and December, and will take place in natural areas between Mercer Island and North Bend. Tree-planting funders and partner agencies for the fall season include Carter Motors; REI; King Conservation District; Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office; Seattle Storm; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; the cities of Issaquah, Mercer Island and North Bend; King County; Washington State Parks; and the U.S. Forest Service.

Get involved

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust runs volunteer events every week. See a list of events or volunteer at www.mtsgreenway.org/volunteer, e-mail volunteer@mtsgreenway.org or call 206-812-0122. Full-day and half-day shifts are available.

The Greenway Trust is seeking volunteers for tree planting events each Saturday.

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