Levies could fund Cougar Mountain trailhead, other projects

January 15, 2013

King County voters could decide soon on dollars to complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail, add a Cougar Mountain trailhead in Issaquah, and continue funding parks and trails countywide.

Late last year, King County Parks Levy Task Force members unanimously recommended continuing a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks, trails and open space. Voters overwhelmingly approved the most recent pair of park levies in 2007.

The voter-approved levies fund the bulk of park operations, but the property tax measures expire in December 2013. In June, King County Executive Dow Constantine convened the task force to explore options for future funding.

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Parks task force recommends 2013 property tax measure

December 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 10, 2012

King County voters could decide next year on dollars to complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail, add a Cougar Mountain trailhead in Issaquah, and continue funding parks and trails countywide.

Late last month, King County Parks Levy Task Force members unanimously recommended continuing a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks, trails and open space. Voters overwhelmingly approved the most recent pair of park levies in 2007.

The voter-approved levies fund the bulk of park operations, but the property tax measures expire in December 2013. In June, King County Executive Constantine convened the task force to explore options future funding.

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Final Cougar Mountain trail run offers 20-mile, 50-kilometer races

October 23, 2012

Organizers of the popular SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park have saved the toughest day of racing for last.

After runs of five, eight, 10 and 13 miles earlier this year, trail-run enthusiasts will have their choice of participating in races of 20 miles or 50 kilometers (31.06 miles) Oct. 28.

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King County launches geocaching at parks

October 16, 2012

King County Parks launched a GPS-driven treasure hunt Oct. 6 to recognize land protected in the past 30 years.

Participants can join the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour. The treasure hunt to 20 King County Parks cache sites is designed to raise awareness about the 111,000 acres of land the Conservation Futures Program has preserved in the past 30 years.

The initial 190 people to fill a GeoTour Passport with 20 unique stamps found in cache boxes earn a commemorative coin.

Learn more about the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour at http://1.usa.gov/Q1Nvwm.

The first parkland purchased using Conservation Futures Program dollars consisted of 1,400 acres on Cougar Mountain.

King County parks host GPS-driven treasure hunt

October 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 4, 2012

King County Parks is launching a GPS-driven treasure hunt on Cougar Mountain to recognize land protected in the last 30 years.

Starting Saturday, participants can join the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour. The treasure hunt to 20 King County Parks cache sites is designed to raise awareness about the 111,000 acres of land the Conservation Futures Program has preserved in the last 30 years.

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Leaders laud land program for 30 years of conservation

August 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 28, 2012

King County leaders highlighted the program used to preserve 111,000 acres of farmland, forests, parks and open space countywide, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

In a recognition Monday, King County Council members marked 30 years of milestones in the Conservation Futures Program — a long-term effort to expand and maintain a open space.

In 1982, King County became the first county in the state to use Conservation Futures Funds. Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“It is important to preserve our open and natural spaces for recreation and reflection on our environmental heritage,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement.

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Conservation Futures Program celebrates 30 years

July 31, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space is turning 30, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

In the past 30 years, county officials used $300 million in Conservation Futures Program funds and more than $150 million in matching funds to preserve land, including the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park near Issaquah.

Overall, program dollars enabled the county to conserve 108,600 acres countywide, add 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways, and protect 4,700 acres of watershed and salmon habitat.

Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems and preserved beautiful open space for us — and future generations — to enjoy,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

The county and open space partners also launched a website, www.kingcounty.gov/conservationfutures, to explain the program’s history.

Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

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Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series returns

April 24, 2012

Annual event benefits King County parks

A Pacific Northwest tradition returns next month to King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park: The 10th-annual SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series.

The series gets under way May 12 with a 5-mile run – the first of five races on various stretches of Cougar Mountain’s scenic, 36-mile trail network. Runs of eight, 10, 13.1 and a final race of 31 miles (with an option to run a 20-mile race instead) are scheduled in the following months.

Produced by Northwest Trail Runs and the Seattle Running Club, the race series not only introduces hundreds of people to Cougar Mountain’s 36 miles of fantastic trails, but it also benefits King County Parks.

Volunteer work groups from the trail-running community spend an average of 150 hours each year doing trail restoration work, including improving trail surface conditions, invasive weed removal and picking up trash.

Such work has contributed to Cougar Mountain’s status as one of the nation’s best trail-running locations, according to Runners World magazine.

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