Editorial — Turns out you can fight City Hall after all

April 15, 2014

By Staff

Turns out you can fight City Hall after all

While it may be true that you can’t fight City Hall and win, you might be able to win it over.

So, it seems, is the case with Save Squak in its battle over Squak Mountain land that was set for logging a little more than a year ago.

In January 2013, 15-year Squak Mountain resident Helen Farrington was concerned that clear-cutting 216 acres of forest could impact a fork of May Creek. Salmon had just returned to the area, and residents feared that with logging, they would be gone again.

Not so fast.

Residents like Farrington and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club launched Save Squak, a campaign/group to save the parcel. They hoped to get the attention of the logging company and King County, and preserve the land. Maybe the county could buy it?

It looked like an uphill battle. The county was having financial difficulties and had many other priorities. But “the little group that could” didn’t take no for an answer.

Fast forward to July 2013, when King County reached a deal with the Trust for Public Land to purchase the land for $5 million.

Wyatt Golding, staff attorney at the Washington Forest Law Center, praised the trails club and Save Squak.

They “made an enormous difference in this process by reviewing forestry applications and working … to help ensure enforcement of state forestry laws,” Golding said. “Their members are people who live and work in the area immediately surrounding the forest. They used their local knowledge to explain the drastic environmental impacts that would result from logging. We believe those efforts ultimately helped to incentivize a sale.”

Fast forward again to last week, when it was announced that there would be a public celebration May 10 for people to take guided hikes in the area.

King County Parks will prepare the site — cleaning up, removing infrastructure, establishing trail routes and ensuring the property is safe — before opening it for hiking-only use in 2015. A public planning process is also expected next year to help determine future uses for the site.

You have more power than you realize. So, like Save Squak has done, make your voice heard and make a difference.


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