April 9, 2013
County should buy south Squak parcel
The clear-cut logging of 95 acres on the steep south slope of Squak Mountain should not be permitted, even after the property owner resubmitted a plan, reduced from the original plan to log 195 acres of the 216-acre parcel.
On the other hand, if the county allows logging there, the new owner of the property that was formerly the Highlands Camping Club has the right to proceed within county guidelines.
The solution is clear. King County needs to tap into its reserve account for the purchase of sensitive areas and buy the property.
While the trees are lovely and home to much wildlife, and the hiking opportunities are many, we respect the rights of the property owner to make money. However, it’s not the trees that the fuss is all about, it’s what lies at the bottom of the slopes — May Creek.
King County has already invested millions of dollars in the past decade to solve flooding of land and homes along May Creek. The harvesting of trees will certainly wash away — literally — the work that has been done to alleviate flooding.
Purchase of the land will stop degradation of the May Valley watershed basin, and preserve the forest for wildlife and humans to enjoy forever. Leasing the former camp clubhouse for a retreat center or similar use and selling future development rights could help offset the purchase price.
King County representatives Reagan Dunn and Kathy Lambert should take the lead in fighting for this open space, and do it fast — the logging permit cannot be withheld for long.