July 2, 2011
Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)
The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.
The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.
June 22, 2011
NEW — 5 p.m. June 22, 2011
Outdoors NW magazine named the popular Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series as No. 1 for novice runners in the inaugural Gnarliest Trail Running Event Awards.
The magazine announced the awards Wednesday. Magazine staffers combed through information about dozens of trail races in the Pacific Northwest to determine the nastiest, gnarliest, toughest and best races.
The magazine ranked the Orcas Island 25K/50K, due to the event’s stunning views of the San Juan Islands, Olympic and Cascade mountains; a heart-pounding single-track course up and down Mount Constitution and the all-weekend race party on the island, including a post-race keg and live music.
May 31, 2011
Plans to acquire land for a Cougar Mountain trail and upgrade trail bridges in the Tiger Mountain State Forest received a last-minute boost from state lawmakers before a special legislative session ended late May 25.
Before sending the $32 billion state budget to Gov. Chris Gregoire, legislators allocated $42 million to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. The slice for the Issaquah area amounts to more than $1.5 million.
In addition to the Issaquah Alps projects, lawmakers directed funds to Duthie Hill Park and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
The proposed budget recommends $500,000 for King County to acquire land for Precipice Trail near Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and $247,870 to upgrade Tiger Mountain trail bridges. In addition, the proposal recommends $500,000 for the East Lake Sammamish Trail project and $317,477 for Duthie Hill Park.
May 26, 2011
NEW — 10:30 a.m. May 26, 2011
Plans to acquire land for a Cougar Mountain trail and upgrade trail bridges in Tiger Mountain State Forest received a last-minute boost from state lawmakers before a special legislative session ended Wednesday night.
Before sending the $32 billion budget to Gov. Chris Gregoire, legislators allocated $42 million to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program for more than 50 projects statewide. In addition to the Issaquah Alps projects, lawmakers directed funds to Duthie Hill Park and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
The proposed budget recommends $500,000 for King County to acquire land for Precipice Trail near Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and $247,870 to upgrade Tiger Mountain trail bridges. In addition, the proposal recommends $500,000 for the county’s East Lake Sammamish Trail project and $317,477 for county-run Duthie Hill Park.
April 26, 2011
Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.
Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.
The grove is set amid hundreds of other saplings in city parkland along Issaquah Creek.
Former Councilman David Kappler, plus environmentalists, Joanna Buehler, Ken Konigsmark and Janet Wall — all past Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community recipients — participated in the planting. Overall, about 20 people joined Mayor Ava Frisinger and the honorees for the ceremony.
Together, city leaders and residents planted conifers to symbolize the 10 Ruth Kees award recipients on a gray morning at Squak Valley Park North south of downtown Issaquah.
April 12, 2011
Help city and state leaders dedicate the Ruth Kees Grove, and commemorate Arbor Day and the 20th anniversary of the state Department of Natural Resource Urban Forestry Program, at Squak Valley Park South.
Join city officials April 16 to plant 10 native conifers to honor the 10 recipients of the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community. The city has invited past recipients to the celebration.
Plans also call for the grove to include a trail, decorative rock features and a small patio or courtyard, featuring recipients’ names engraved on paver stones.
Past recipients received the honor for efforts to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway, blaze trails in the Issaquah Alps and protect Issaquah waterways.
Ruth Kees, a longtime environmental activist, fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer. The award namesake received the inaugural honor in 2003.
April 7, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. April 7, 2011
Sure, spring started last month, but Old Man Winter is back.
Snowfall blanketed Issaquah and surrounding areas — especially neighborhoods in the Issaquah Highlands and on Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains — late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. Residents reported about 1 inch of snow accumulation in some places.
March 21, 2011
NEW — 8 p.m. March 21, 2011
The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.
Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony Monday night.
Mayor Ava Frisinger cited the countless hours McCarry contributed to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe near Issaquah High School and strengthen tree-protection rules.
The mayor and Council President John Traeger selected McCarry for the honor after receiving numerous nominations for the former councilwoman, a Squak Mountain resident.
February 15, 2011
The scrapes from shovels and the metallic ring from pickaxes splitting rock echoed across the morning stillness on Squak Mountain as AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members remade a stretch of trail along a forested slope.
The team from the national service program set up in Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah last week to upgrade trails and carve drainage ditches in the popular hiking destination.
February 15, 2011
Annual pass for parks is not unreasonable
We are not a proponent of willy-nilly user fees to line the coffers of government agencies, but with voters repeatedly saying no to taxes, user fees will become more prevalent. For state parks, we support the implementation of a $30 annual Discover Pass as a solution to keep state parks open.
Washington state parks are in trouble, just as many other state agencies and services are — all part of the proposed budget cuts needed to keep the state out of bankruptcy. State parks are expected to need $64 million in the upcoming biennium.
Squak Mountain State Park atop the middle peak of the Issaquah Alps is already slated to lose funding. But that park is an array of hiking and equestrian trails that will still have public access.