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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City Council approves controversial Cougar Mountain subdivision

September 11, 2012

City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.

Stacy Goodman

In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.

The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.

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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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Lindbergh High School’s Max Ferguson wins Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series

August 14, 2012

Skyline High School’s Keegan Symmes finishes second

Marlene Farrell, of Leavenworth, runs toward the finish line to post her winning time for women on the 13-mile course with a time of 1 hour, 56 minutes, 9 seconds. By Greg Farrar

People take interest in running for a lot of reasons. They do it for the health benefits, the stress relief and even the runner’s high. But for Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series 13 Mile winner Max Ferguson, he had only one thing in mind.

The ladies.

“I guess I started in eighth grade because I wanted to be better at the mile in P.E.,” Ferguson said. “I thought that me being better at the P.E. mile would help me do better with the ladies than I was doing at the time.”

Ferguson attended Lindbergh High School where he ran as a member of the cross-country team. After going to college on the East Coast, Ferguson returned home and, like a certain Tom Hanks character, kept running.

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Underground cable issue leads to Issaquah power outage

August 7, 2012

Puget Sound Energy blamed a problematic underground distribution cable for a power outage Aug. 3.

The outage affected about 800 customers in the Issaquah area in the early evening. The outage affected customers downtown and in southeast Issaquah along state Route 900, including the Talus urban village on Cougar Mountain.

Residents reported the power going out and coming back on before the prolonged outage. Crews eventually located the problem with the underground distribution cable and restored power after a brief interruption.

The outage prompted cancellation of “The Music Man” at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre. Patrons impacted by the outage can get a refund.

Cougar Mountain Trail run series continues Aug. 11

August 7, 2012

The fourth installment of the SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run series will take place Aug. 11.

“The course builds on itself throughout the series, and brings runners through a lush forest of fern-lined, single-track trails, over hills and along marshes and wetland habitats,” according to the Northwest Trail Runs website.

The series will culminate in October with at 20-mile event.

The only distance option for this race is 13 miles. Runners can register online at www.ultrasignup.com or by mail.

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.

County leader celebrates 30 years of conservation

July 23, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. July 23, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space turns 30 in 2012, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

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

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Runners break course record at 10-mile leg of trail run series

July 10, 2012

Beating the course record by nearly two and a half minutes, Seattle resident Eddie Strickler crossed the finish line of the latest installment of the Cougar Mountain Trail Run series July 7 with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes and 54 seconds.

Iliana Sach (right), the first woman to cross the finish line at the 10-mile Cougar Mountain Trail Run on July 7, narrowly beats her husband Eric Sach. By Christina Lords

The previous record for the 10-mile run was held by Matt Messner’s 2006 time of 1:17:28.

Strickler, a 28-year-old software engineer who ran track and field and cross country for Seattle Pacific University, said he participated in each of the Cougar Mountain Trail Runs last year and plans to run in each of the five events this year.

This was Strickler’s first first-place win in the Cougar Mountain series.

“I probably run five days a week,” he said. “For me, it’s a good switch from sitting at a desk all day.”

Keegan Symmes, the race’s second-place finisher, and Gareth Jones, the runner who took third place, also beat the course record with times of 1:16:20 and 1:17:23, respectively.

“I love the park,” Strickler said. “I’ve run out here since being in college. I just love the trails … on a day like this you just want to get out into the woods and enjoy the day.”

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Boy Scouts tackle three Issaquah Alps in one day

July 3, 2012

Local group climbs mountains in less than 12 hours

A troop of Boy Scouts recently set what might be a world record when they climbed all three of the Issaquah Alps in one day.

Mason Jones, 11, the youngest of the group to complete the full hike, approaches the summit of Tiger Mountain, with the summit of Squak Mountain, climbed earlier in the day, at the right. By Rob McAdams

The 20-mile hike began behind schedule on a misty Saturday morning.

Roughly 10 minutes after 7 a.m. June 9, the hikers began their long walk from Newcastle to Issaquah.

The handful of Scouts accompanied by their parents had their work cut out for them. They called it the “Three Peak Challenge.” The troop was accompanied by experienced hiker Paul Mitchell.

The challenge was to hike Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains within 12 hours. The Scouts finished the hike in 11½.

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