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.
February 1, 2011
Mountains to Sound Greenway trails and habitat received a boost from AmeriCorps in recent weeks, as a team arrived to help on Tiger and Squak mountains and elsewhere in the greenbelt
AmeriCorps has sent 22 crewmembers to assist in trail work in the Issaquah Alps, Mount Si and Rattlesnake Mountain. The group is also participating in ecological restoration in Redmond and the Snoqualmie Valley.
The crew is working alongside Washington Conservation Corps crews to help local land managers restore natural areas, maintain parks and trails, and improve access to recreation.
The greenway is arranged along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington. The greenbelt links natural areas, trails, farms and forests, communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.
February 1, 2011
Salmon and other creatures in the Issaquah Creek basin receive a boost soon from citizens and the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.
The nonprofit organization has planned creek habitat enhancement projects for Feb. 5. Friends of the Cedar River Watershed needs Issaquah-area residents to participate in the effort.
The restoration is scheduled to take place inside the Log Cabin Reach Natural Area on a section of creek upstream from Issaquah and near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.
The daylong program is the inaugural Issaquah-area effort for the Seattle-based Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.
Friends of the Cedar River Watershed is in the process of expanding efforts to restore habitat and educate residents throughout the Cedar River and Lake Washington watersheds. The local project is a collaboration between the nonprofit organization and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.
January 25, 2011
Forecasters aim to reduce confusion about flood data
Information from the city and the National Weather Service offered a study in contrasts as rain-gorged Issaquah Creek spilled onto city streets in early December.
Issaquah Creek data from a gauge upstream in Hobart indicated a creek running high, but not enough to cause more than localized flooding. Information from a downstream gauge and a notice from National Weather Service meteorologists, on the other hand, cautioned residents to prepare for widespread flooding in the city.
The arrangement caused some confusion among floodplain residents.
January 25, 2011
My weather knowledge was a little foggy
Every morning, when I get off Interstate 90 to drive into Issaquah, I look up at Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains to get a glimpse of their surreal greenery. Mostly, I just see a bunch of fog.
That dense, whitish-gray stuff isn’t on my A list. It reminds me of Harry Potter’s dementors. It’s gloomy and makes me feel claustrophobic. Fog hides the sun — which, I guess means I don’t have to wear sunscreen, but it shields all of the vitamin D I could potentially be making from those ultraviolet rays.
And don’t even get me started on literary metaphors. Charles Dickens used it to set a dismal scene in “Bleak House.” In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” fog causes Huck and Jim to miss a turn, making them head south into slave country, away from the freedom of the North.
Still, it turns out my understanding of fog was, well, foggy.
January 21, 2011
NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 21, 2011
Nominate environmentalists for the top city eco-honor — the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.
The annual award recognizes people for a record of outstanding commitment to natural resource preservation. Kees, a teacher, mentor and role model, advocated open space preservation and environmental protection.
The city put out a call for applications Friday. Submit nominations until 5 p.m. Feb. 25.
Then, a committee reviews nominees and recommends a group of finalists to Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Council President John Traeger for selection.
The award is usually presented at a spring or summer council meeting.