Join Issaquah Alps Trails Club to help clean, prepare Cougar Mountain

November 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Cougar Mountain is due for a cleaning.

King County purchased 41 acres on Cougar Mountain almost a year ago, and to prepare the site for addition to a regional park, Issaquah Alps Trails Club members plan to clean up the land Nov. 19.

The effort is a rare cleanup event for the trails club. Members usually focus on trail maintenance projects.

“This property is really important and we figure it’s a good start,” said David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman. “We’ll build some more awareness of the actual potential for this property.”

The cleanup event is open to the public. Issaquah Environmental Council members plan to participate, too.

How to help

Issaquah Alps Trails Club Cougar Mountain cleanup

  • 9 a.m. Nov. 19
  • Participants should meet at the Issaquah Transit Center, 1050 17th Ave. N.W.
  • RSVP for additional directions to Trailwork Volunteer Coordinator Scott Semans at trailwork@issaquahalps.org or call 369-1725.

The land contained homeless encampments, and organizers need to remove discarded tarps and other refuse from the land as the initial step before crews can add trails and wetlands.

“It’s to clean it up before too much of this trash gets more difficult to deal with,” Kappler said.

King County acquired the 41-acre site near Issaquah to add to 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park late last year. The deal closed Dec. 3, 2010.

The county used $1.55 million from the King County Parks expansion levy and the Conservation Futures open space program levy to purchase the land.

The county and city — plus the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Cascade Land Conservancy and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club — long considered the land as a high priority for conservation.

“That was one of the areas we were leading hikes in, before the trails club was formally formed, to build awareness of it,” Kappler said.

The city eyed the property for decades. In addition, a municipal trails plan completed in 1992 identified the parcel as a key piece in the regional trails network. The land is just beyond city limits.

If King County or Issaquah can acquire additional land, plans for the site call for a trailhead and a parking lot on county land near the 41-acre site — and close enough to walk from the Issaquah Transit Center along state Route 900.

The cleanup event is essential to prepare the land for future use, organizers said.

“It helps us in the long run,” Issaquah Environmental Council member Barbara Shelton said. “We need the green spaces to regenerate and replenish our own sense of self and sense of community.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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