Join Issaquah Alps Trails Club to help clean, prepare Cougar Mountain

November 15, 2011

Cougar Mountain is due for a cleaning.

King County purchased 41 acres on Cougar Mountain almost a year ago, and to prepare the site for addition to a regional park, Issaquah Alps Trails Club members plan to clean up the land Nov. 19.

The effort is a rare cleanup event for the trails club. Members usually focus on trail maintenance projects.

“This property is really important and we figure it’s a good start,” said David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman. “We’ll build some more awareness of the actual potential for this property.”

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See Seattle Storm, help Mountains to Sound Greenway celebrate 20 years

September 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 6, 2011

Join the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust as the organization celebrates 20 years.

The nonprofit organization, founded in September 1991, oversees preservation projects in a greenbelt stretching along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

In order to celebrate 20 years, the greenway is celebrating at KeyArena at 7 p.m. Friday as the Seattle Storm face the Phoenix Mercury.

Tickets cost $20 and $5 goes to support the greenway. Order tickets and enter the password “greenway” at the prompt for special ticket pricing.

Providing the password also means attendees get automatically seated in the greenway section.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway art exhibit launches in Issaquah

August 9, 2011

A total of 21 years have passed since the members of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club led the now well-known hike from Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle.

Since then, according to exhibition organizers, the landscape of Issaquah has been a key part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

With that in mind, Issaquah was picked to host the opening leg of the Mountains to Sound Greenway inaugural traveling photo exhibition.

The exhibition will feature 30 images of the greenway taken by people who live, work and play in the cities, towns, mountains and natural areas between Seattle and Eastern Washington.

The photos represent the work of amateur photographers of all ages and abilities.

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Hikers map future of mountaineering

August 2, 2011

Janet Wall searches in Issaquah’s Berntsen Park for invasive plants that she can electronically mark. Photo by Tim Pfarr

“Are we there yet? How much farther?”

If you’ve gone hiking with a child, you have surely heard these migraine-inducing questions thousands of times. As you take left and right turns up a mountainside, there is often no good answer to give the tired youngster.

After all, how much farther is it to the top? Where in the world are you on that map you brought?

If only you had a map created with GPS data. Every twist and turn on the trail would be recorded with surgical precision.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway comes of age

July 26, 2011

Leaders nurture Interstate 90 greenbelt, acre by acre, year by year

Ken Konigsmark (left), a longtime Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust board member, and founding president Jim Ellis stand near North Bend on Rattlesnake Mountain in 2000 . By Greg Farrar

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid the souvenir shops and seafood restaurants at the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

Issaquah, situated on the route, is not quite at the center, but the city is central in the long effort to create a greenbelt along the major roadway.

The idea for a conservation corridor along the interstate germinated in Issaquah more than 20 years ago. Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

The disparate citizen, conservation, corporate and government interests behind the proposal coalesced to form the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in 1991. Supporters marched from Ellensburg to Seattle in early July to celebrate the 20-year milestone.

“The original vision was, what can we agree on to preserve what’s important to everyone along this corridor?” retired Issaquah City Administrator Leon Kos said.

The corridor stretches for 100 miles, connects 1.4 million acres — or a landmass about 15 times larger than Seattle — and includes more than 800,000 acres in public ownership.

The conservation is enmeshed in cooperation.

The organization is built to foster dialogue among divergent groups. Seattle civic leader Jim Ellis, founding president of the greenway trust, called on rivals to sit down at the same table to create the conservation corridor. So, representatives on the 58-member board include the Sierra Club and Weyerhaeuser Co.

Kos, a longtime greenway supporter and board member, said the Issaquah Alps Trail Club assumed a fundamental role early on.

“The community group that was really very instrumental was the Issaquah Alps Trails Club,” he said.

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Portland run to benefit Issaquah trails club

July 26, 2011

“About two years… and many, many pounds ago, in a doughnut shop in Seattle, I set my very first running goal: to run a marathon.”

That’s the first full line on Douglas Pariseau’s still growing website.

By the way, Pariseau, 44, reached his initial goal. His first marathon was the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon. The achievement came just a year after Pariseau had decided he needed to run a marathon. So, as he says on his site, Pariseau needed a new goal.

He came up with one.

Mostly for fun, but also to raise money for the Issaquah Alps Trail Club and the cross-country team at Mt. Rainer Lutheran School in Tacoma, Pariseau leaves July 27 for a 185-plus mile run from the Issaquah REI store where he works to an REI in Portland, Ore.

Pariseau said he plans to make the trip in seven days.

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$6.2 million pedestrian bridge opens after delays

July 5, 2011

Protesters carry signs to decry the cost of a pedestrian bridge across Interstate 90 the day the bridge opened, July 1. By Tim Pfarr

The pedestrian bridge at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 opened July 1, months after the expected completed date.

Delays related to the bridge pilings and inclement weather slowed construction on the $6.2 million project.

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Excuse me? Uncover fertile dirt behind Poo Poo Point’s name

July 2, 2011

The collection at the Issaquah Train Depot includes a steam donkey. File

The poo poo referenced in Poo Poo Point is not destined for the bathroom.

Instead, the designation for a ridge on Tiger Mountain nods to logging.

Loggers used a winch called a steam donkey to haul logs through Tiger Mountain forests to a loading point.

“There was a steam whistle set up that they would blow before they started pulling these logs through the forest at high speed, which was dangerous,” Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said.

The high-pitched whistle on the steam donkey emitted a “poo poo” sound.

(The history museums’ collection includes a steam donkey parked outside the restored Issaquah Train Depot.)

Maniez said Poo Poo Point is a contemporary designation. The late William Longwell Jr., a longtime Issaquah Alps Trails Club member, described the tale behind Poo Poo Point in a guide to Tiger Mountain trails.

Still, uttering “Poo Poo Point” prompts giggles from outsiders and recent transplants.

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Contentious Interstate 90 pedestrian bridge to open Friday

June 30, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. June 30, 2011

The pedestrian bridge at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 is due to open Friday, months after the expected completed date.

Delays related to the bridge pilings and inclement weather slowed construction on the $6.2 million project. The connector separates bicyclists and pedestrians from the busy roadway. The structure includes a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramp and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing on the state Route 900 overpass.

The city contributed $354,000 to the connector. Federal and Sound Transit dollars covered the remainder.

The bridge is due to open by late Friday, after more than a decade of planning and sometimes-contentious discussions among city officials, transit advocates and trails enthusiasts.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway celebrates 20th anniversary with hikes, parties

June 28, 2011

It’s not too late for hikers, historical buffs and music lovers to register for the hikes and parties scheduled for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s 20th anniversary.

The hikes have a historical precedent.

“In 1990, a group of avid hikers got together and realized that population growth was going to happen,” Mountains to Sound Greenway spokeswoman Erin MacCoy said. “They wanted to make sure we could keep the green places green, so they did a hike from Snoqualmie Pass to the Seattle waterfront to raise awareness about that.”

The group of 100 hikers, including members of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, took five days to complete their trek. One year later, in 1991, environmentalists founded the greenway trust.

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