November 6, 2012
Residents can explore the outdoors for free as state and national parks waive entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12.
Lake Sammamish, Squak Mountain and other state parks do not require a Discover Pass during the holiday weekend. The waiver also applies to lands run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, including Tiger Mountain State Forest.
The fee waiver encompasses all 398 national parks — including Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks.
November 6, 2012
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning to release some of those big rainbow trout you may have seen in a rearing pond at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. In fact, you may have fed them through the fence with fish food provided by the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery during Salmon Days.
Beaver Lake in Sammamish will be the fortunate recipient site. The department announced it will release about 2,000 rainbow trout weighing from 2-3 pounds, and open the lake for fishing at sunrise Nov. 8. The lake was to be closed for fishing Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the reopening.
The daily limit for Beaver Lake is five fish of which only two may exceed 15 inches in length. Two of those big trout should be more than enough to feed most families.
Now, here is an easy-to-access, urban lake that is close by and only 15 minutes from downtown Issaquah. To cast and wade from shore, do so from Beaver Lake Park, maintained by the city of Sammamish. It has a lot of parking and is accessible from Southeast 24th Street that intersects 228th Avenue Southeast at Discovery Elementary School.
October 30, 2012
Tiger Mountain is a destination for hikers, mountain bikers and loggers, and the official responsible for acting as a referee to balance the competing interests is the state commissioner of public lands.
Republican Clint Didier is challenging the incumbent, Democrat Peter Goldmark, to serve as the top natural resources official in Washington.
The commissioner of public lands leads the state Department of Natural Resources, and oversees about 3 million acres of forests, agricultural land and other properties, as well as about 2.6 million acres of shorelines, tidelands, lakes and rivers.
The position carries outsized influence in the Issaquah area. The agency is often a factor in local policymaking, due to the connections among the Department of Natural Resources, Issaquah City Hall and outdoor recreation groups.
October 30, 2012
Anglers can soon catch large trout in Beaver Lake, due to the release of about 2,000 hatchery rainbow trout averaging about 2 to 3 pounds each.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to release the fish Nov. 7. Beaver Lake access closes at sunset Nov. 6 and reopens at sunrise Nov. 8. Beaver Lake remains open to fishing while the access site is closed.
The trout were part of an educational display at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
Beaver Lake is best fished by small boat, although anglers also can be successful fishing from shore, said Justin Spinelli, fishery biologist for the department.
The lake’s access site is most easily reached by way of East Beaver Lake Drive Southeast, off Southeast 24th Street in Sammamish.
Parking for vehicles and boat trailers is limited, and a valid Department of Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass or Discover Pass must be visible in vehicles parked at the access site.
October 23, 2012
Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.
The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.
The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.
October 2, 2012
On Oct. 20, the Bellevue-Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited is presenting the inaugural Run with the Kokanee at Lake Sammamish State Park.
Parking for this event is available near the main gate, at 2000 N.W. Sammamish Road, and will require a $10 fee or a Washington State Parks Discover Pass.
Those registering for either the 5k or 10k walk/run can save $10 on the entry fee when registering for the race on or before Oct. 7. Those entering the day of the race will be charged $40 and $45, respectively. Those wishing to enter early online may do so at www.tu-bi.org.
September 25, 2012
Washingtonians can celebrate National Public Lands Day in the Tiger Mountain State Forest, other state forestlands or at national parks.
The state Department of Natural Resources said the lineup for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, includes a mountain bike trail construction event on Tiger Mountain.
September 11, 2012
A free, guided walk at Lake Sammamish State Park on Sept. 19 will help visitors discover dozens of different kinds of birds in the diverse ecosystem found at the south end of the lake.
A typical walk in the park in September encounters about 50 different bird species, from various grebes on the lake to spotted sandpipers at creekside, from red-breasted sapsuckers and orange-crowned warblers in the woods to Savannah sparrows in the meadows.
Eastside Audubon guides Sharon Aagaard and Stan Wood lead a walk each month at Lake Sammamish State Park, always midweek during the quiet morning hours when birding is best. The Sept. 19 walk is from 8 a.m. to noon.
August 14, 2012
The annual salmon fishing season will open in Lake Sammamish beginning Aug. 16.
There will be a daily limit of four salmon, of which an angler may retain up to two chinook or king salmon and complete the catch limit with other salmon species. Silver or coho salmon may be part of the catch. Sockeye salmon must be released so barbless hoods are required.
Of course, the smaller kokanee salmon are still illegal to have in one’s possession and must be released.
All fishing is closed within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. You will find that area well-surrounded by a parade of trolling boats.
To park at the Lake Sammamish State Park boat launch you must have purchased a Washington State Discover Pass. If you launch your boat there, you will pay an additional $7 launching fee using the pay box at the ramp.
Because the feeding portion of these salmon’s lives is over, you either have to appeal to their instinct to bite what once was food, or trade on their aggressive nature. The former is touted by those who use bare, red, size 4/0 hooks trolled behind a Dodger flasher.
August 7, 2012
If it’s a few hours of fresh air free of people and noise pollution you want, but you aren’t willing to chug up the Interstate 90 corridor, then the May Valley Loop could be just the ticket.
“It’s really beautiful. I like that it’s not a crowded hike,” Debbie Simmons said.
She lives nearby in High Valley and often walks her Bernese mountain dog Rogue around the trail system of Squak Mountain, one of the lesser-visited triplets better known as the Issaquah Alps. “Rogue likes that it’s shaded most of the way.”
It doesn’t take long to reach the shade, where even on a hot day in mid-July the air along the trail is cool under the high-reaching big leaf maples. After parking at the Squak Mountain State Park entrance off Southeast May Valley Road, follow the only trailhead, which has a sign for Squak Mountain Trail.