Issaquah History Museums presents ‘Cougar Mountain in the Cold War’ on Saturday

January 17, 2014

NEW — Noon Jan. 17, 2014

The Issaquah History Museums will host its first program of 2014 with its presentation of “Cougar Mountain in the Cold War: Issaquah’s NIKE Missile Base.”

Local expert Doug Bristol will present the story of the strategic missile site that was located on the site of present-day Radar Park in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

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Renamed Whittaker trail honors American climbing legend

October 1, 2013

It may not be Mount Everest, but it’s still an honor.

King County Executive Dow Constantine stood with the first American to climb Earth’s tallest mountain to unveil new names for the Wilderness Peak Trail that winds its way up the southeastern side of Cougar Mountain Sept. 26.

Jim Whittaker, a Seattle native, whipped the burlap off the wooden signs that led the way to the new Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail and the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail, named after Whittaker’s Sherpa, who braved all 29,000 feet with him. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the historic ascent. A year later, Gombu climbed to the summit again, becoming the first person to make the trip twice.

On a simple wooden bridge, extending over a calm stream, Tibetan prayer flags flapped as Constantine praised Whittaker and Gombu’s bravery.

By Peter Clark Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

By Peter Clark
Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

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King County will honor climbing legends Jim Whittaker and Nawang Gombu by renaming trails tomorrow

September 25, 2013

NEW — 1 p.m. Sept. 25, 2013

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine and mountaineering legend Jim Whittaker as King County honors Whittaker and climbing partner Sherpa Nawang Gombu for their historic ascent of Mount Everest 50 years ago.

Meet at noon Sept. 26 at the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Wilderness Peak Trailhead, 10245 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Whittaker-Gombu ascent of Mount Everest, when Whittaker, a Seattle native, became the first American to summit Earth’s highest mountain. It was also Gombu’s first ascent of Everest; a few years later, he became the first person to conquer Mount Everest for a second time.

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Clear-cut looms between Squak, Cougar mountains

March 5, 2013

By Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times Helen Farrington worries about flooding on May Creek (seen at left), which runs past her backyard.

By Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times
Helen Farrington worries about flooding on May Creek (seen at left), which runs past her backyard.

More than two decades after battles over logging in spotted-owl habitat began to die down, plans to clear-cut trees next to a county park near Issaquah have ignited a new controversy.

As with most anything having to do with real estate, it boils down to location, location, location.

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Squak Mountain timber plan concerns conservationists, neighbors

February 8, 2013

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Feb. 8, 2013

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.

Since a timber company purchased the forest and started the process to permit logging on the site, conservationists and nearby residents mobilized to fight the proposal to clear cut the land. The logging opponents said cutting trees on the land could lead to more flooding downhill, damage sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and add a timber harvest site near conservation lands.

The proposal from Eatonville-based Erickson Logging to harvest timber on 216 acres on the mountainside above Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast galvanized residents on Squak Mountain and near May Creek, a destination for runoff from the mountain.

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Explore outdoors in King County Parks Fitness Challenge

February 6, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

Parkgoers can participate in challenges, enjoy the outdoors and burn some calories as King County Parks rolls out a fitness program at Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and other sites.

Countywide, organizers designed 30 challenge locations countywide for the King County Parks Fitness Challenge.

The challenge — initially created through a partnership with Group Health’s Fitness Network for county employees — is available to the public.

“The public can also enjoy the parks fitness challenge as a great way to exercise while enjoying some of the 26,000 acres of parks, 175 miles of regional trails and 180 miles of backcountry trails that we proudly maintain,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement.

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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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Joshua Schaer is first City Council member from Talus

January 8, 2013

Councilman Joshua Schaer moved to Talus late last month and, in the process, became the first City Council member from the Cougar Mountain urban village.

Joshua Schaer

The change offers Schaer a perspective on city issues from the quiet urban village perched above state Route 900.

Construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, both hillside urban villages, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In 2010, Mark Mullet became the first resident from the highlands to join the council. (Mullet, a state senator elected in November, recently resigned from the post to serve in Olympia.)

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How school officials know when to call a snow day

January 1, 2013

All roads come under consideration during winter weather

Issaquah School District buses line up on a snow day. Contributed

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast for a drier-than-normal winter in the Pacific Northwest is good news for local schools, but just in case, Jo Porter and her transportation staff are prepared.

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Lakeside Industries development pact could transform quarry site

December 11, 2012

The gravel quarry on a hillside below the Issaquah Highlands, plus land adjacent to the highlands, could someday transform into businesses and homes, if city leaders approve a long-term agreement to redevelop the site.

The landowner and quarry operator, Issaquah-based Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed a 30-year development agreement last year for about 120 acres on both sides of Highlands Drive Northeast. The proposed pact is scheduled to reach the City Council on Dec. 17, as officials consider a plan to remake the area.

The land under consideration is zoned for mineral resources and single-family residences. The development agreement could change the designation on some areas to urban village, the same rules used for the highlands and Talus.

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