Issaquah Alps club announces scholarship topics

April 15, 2014

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club has announced the topics for its annual Bill Longwell Memorial Scholarship.

Longwell was a longtime club member who taught English at Hazen High School for many years. He was an avid hiker and trail builder who, often with the help of his students, was responsible for building and maintaining many of the trails on Tiger and Squak mountains.

Each year since his death in 2007, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club has offered a $1,000 scholarship available to graduating seniors at Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline and Hazen high schools. Often, runners-up qualify for smaller awards.

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Celebration is May 10 for Squak Mountain land

April 8, 2014

A public celebration is set to commemorate preservation of 226 acres of high-quality forestland in the Issaquah Alps — the result of a partnership between King County and The Trust for Public Land.

The acquisition adds to King County’s Cougar-Squak Corridor parkland. The area was set for logging more than a year ago.

“Our partnership to protect Squak Mountain’s irreplaceable fish and wildlife habitat is cause for celebration,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release. “I want to thank The Trust for Public Land and the people of King County on behalf of generations who will enjoy hiking, viewing wildlife and other recreation in this forest.”

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The green necklace: a gift to the city and the environment

February 21, 2014

More and more, people within the city are talking about the planned “green necklace.” It isn’t a gift of jewelry to citizens, but many see it as a gift to residents nonetheless.

The green necklace refers to a circle of parks and open spaces around the city, allowing easy pedestrian and bicycle access. It includes Lake Sammamish and the Issaquah Alps in the goal to surround the city and provide interconnected pathways between open spaces.

By Peter Clark Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

By Peter Clark
Anne McGill, Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department director, visits the future Phase 3 site of Confluence Park, in an area she hopes the city will name ‘Margaret’s Meadow’ in honor of late park planner Margaret Macleod.

Though the idea has existed for decades, the Issaquah City Council expressly outlined a plan to create the network of open space in the Central Issaquah Plan, approved in December 2012.

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Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series / June 8, 2013

June 12, 2013

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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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

December 25, 2012

Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences

City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.

The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”

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Central Issaquah Plan proposes shift from suburban to urban in business district

December 11, 2012

Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.

The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.

Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.

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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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Issaquah unveils salmon-centric city logo

August 21, 2012

The triangle is out. The salmon is in.

Issaquah leaders plan to phase out the longtime city logo — a triangle and stylized As meant to evoke the Issaquah Alps — and use a salmon-centric emblem instead.

Issaquah’s updated city logo (above) replaces 11 former logos used to represent the city, and municipal departments and boards.

The shift comes as the city and a contractor complete a monthslong effort to overhaul the dated municipal website and forge a more modern image for city government.

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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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