Offer ideas for future of Lake Sammamish State Park

December 4, 2012

Lake Sammamish State Park, a 512-acre urban oasis surrounded by Issaquah and a destination long overdue for a makeover, is in the spotlight again as city and state officials seek residents’ ideas for the park’s future.

Issaquah and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission leaders scheduled a Dec. 10 open house about the state park. The event is meant to restart the conversation about options for the park, including a stalled plan approved in 2007 and meant to guide upgrades to aging facilities and the expansion of recreation opportunities.

Options to revive the plan could include a partnership between the state parks agency, city and a nonprofit organization to help the park. The state parks agency is also open to commercial ventures on parkland as a potential way to generate funds for the facility.

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State adds flexible start date to Discover Pass

November 23, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

State agencies encourage holiday shoppers to consider a Discover Pass as a gift for family and friends interested in the outdoors.

Officials added a feature recently to allow purchasers to choose the pass’ start date. The option is available to customers who purchasing the pass at, or in person from authorized retailers through the Washington Interactive Licensing Database, or WILD, system.

The pass is available in Issaquah at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Fred Meyer and Sports Authority.

The buyer can activate the pass immediately or on any day within one year of purchase.

State legislators passed the option into law in 2012 to allow greater flexibility to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, including people interested in giving the pass as a gift.

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Parks waive fees for all on Veterans Day weekend

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.

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Head to Beaver Lake for hatchery rainbow trout

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.

Dallas Cross

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.

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Tiger Mountain is test for commissioner of public lands candidates

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.

Clint Didier

Peter Goldmark

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.

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Beaver Lake to receive 2,000 hatchery trout

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.

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Gubernatorial hopefuls support hatcheries, parks

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.

Jay Inslee

Rob McKenna

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.

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Kokanee fun run is Oct. 20 at Lake Sammamish State Park

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

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Celebrate National Public Lands Day on Tiger Mountain

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.

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Lake Sammamish State Park tour offers beginning birding

September 11, 2012

The red-breasted sapsucker is one of the birds seen in September on the monthly bird walk at Lake Sammamish State Park. By Mick Thompson

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.

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