Explore outdoors in King County Parks Fitness Challenge

February 6, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

Parkgoers can participate in challenges, enjoy the outdoors and burn some calories as King County Parks rolls out a fitness program at Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and other sites.

Countywide, organizers designed 30 challenge locations countywide for the King County Parks Fitness Challenge.

The challenge — initially created through a partnership with Group Health’s Fitness Network for county employees — is available to the public.

“The public can also enjoy the parks fitness challenge as a great way to exercise while enjoying some of the 26,000 acres of parks, 175 miles of regional trails and 180 miles of backcountry trails that we proudly maintain,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement.

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King County deputies start safety patrols on regional trails

June 26, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies started fanning out on regional trails June 2 in a summertime safety exercise.

Deputies patrol stretches of regional trails across King County to provide trail users with information about proper conduct, including posted speed limits, leash laws and other rules.

“Trail use increases when the school year ends and summer weather begins, so now is the right time to remind everyone about the basic rules of conduct,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said.

Deputies patrol the trails on bicycles and on foot, and could issue either a warning or fine for observed violations. Some of the most frequent observed violations include cyclists and other wheeled trail users exceeding the trail system’s 15 mph speed limit, failure to follow pet leash laws and alcohol use.

The enhanced enforcement effort is scheduled to continue along portions of trails through Labor Day weekend.

The program cost is estimated at about $20,000, and is funded through the King County Parks budget.

Join hike, barbecue to celebrate Grand Ridge Park milestone

April 3, 2012

The effort to link the High Point Trail to Duthie Hill Park on the Sammamish Plateau consumed almost a decade and more than 40,000 hours from Washington Trails Association volunteers.

The public is invited to join King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association on April 5 to celebrate the yearslong push to complete the trail connection. Citizens can join a hike through Grand Ridge Park and a barbecue at Duthie Hill Park.

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Swedish/Issaquah does not expect layoffs amid budget crisis

March 27, 2012

Swedish Medical Center executives defended the decision to open a $365 million Issaquah hospital as the health care system loses $250,000 per day and girds for possible employee layoffs.

Systemwide, Seattle-based Swedish lost $16 million so far in 2012. Executives attributed the loss to higher health-insurance deductibles and the anemic economy. Both factors cause commercially insured patients to delay health care.

Swedish is also treating more uninsured and underinsured patients as the state and federal governments cut health care funding.

Swedish has more than 11,000 employees at hospitals in Edmonds, Issaquah and Seattle, plus a network of standalone emergency rooms and clinics in the Puget Sound region.

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Few changes for patients in Providence-Swedish affiliation agreement

March 27, 2012

The partnership between Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services should not affect services at Issaquah health care facilities, officials said as the organizations completed a groundbreaking affiliation agreement.

Through the affiliation, Providence and Swedish plan to operate as the Western Washington Region of Providence Health & Services. The organization encompasses all Swedish operations in King and Snohomish counties, plus Providence operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties.

The entities operate Providence Marianwood, a 25-year-old nursing home, and 8-month-old Swedish/Issaquah in the city.

“Swedish/Issaquah is a community hospital focused on the community needs here,” Chuck Salmon, chief executive for Swedish/Issaquah and ambulatory care, said after the Feb. 1 announcement. “At this point, my direction is, ‘Don’t change a thing. You guys are doing fine.’ There should be really no change at all as perceived by the public.”

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No changes for local patients as Providence, Swedish complete affiliation agreement

February 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 10, 2012

The partnership between Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services should not affect services at Issaquah health care facilities, officials said as the organizations completed a groundbreaking affiliation agreement.

Through the affiliation, Providence and Swedish plan to operate as the Western Washington Region of Providence Health & Services. The organization encompasses all Swedish operations in King and Snohomish counties, plus Providence operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties.

The entities operate Providence Marianwood, a 25-year-old nursing home, and Swedish/Issaquah, a 7-month-old hospital, in the city.

“Swedish/Issaquah is a community hospital focused on the community needs here,” Chuck Salmon, chief executive for Swedish/Issaquah and ambulatory care, said days after the Feb. 1 announcement. “At this point, my direction is, ‘Don’t change a thing. You guys are doing fine.’ There should be really no change at all as perceived by the public.”

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King County Parks unveils ‘green’ campsite design in Issaquah

September 14, 2011

NEW — 7 p.m. Sept. 14, 2011

Campers in a King County park might notice a sustainable place to spend the night soon.

The parks agency challenged entrants to design a “green” camping space to create a comfortable and durable sleeping area from a cargo container.

County officials announced the top design in the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” contest at the Built Green Conference in Issaquah on Wednesday.

The top design — selected from a panel including County Executive Dow Constantine and other judges — came from a Seattle firm, HyBrid Architecture.

The design features a flexible floor plan, queen-sized bunk beds, and a multipurpose cabinet fashioned from recycled and reclaimed materials.

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King County seeks users’ opinions about parks, trails

August 16, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and ideas about how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

The schedule for in-person surveys includes a session on Cougar Mountain near Newcastle from 8-10 a.m. Sept. 8.

People interested in providing feedback online can do so starting Aug. 17 at the agency’s website, www.kingcounty.gov/parks.

The agency is also scheduling workshops to gather input from younger park visitors.

Site Story, a local consultant specializing in community outreach, and cultural and public open space planning, is conducting the survey. The project is funded in part by a grant from the National Center for Civic Innovation.

Citizen input is sought to shape King County Parks

August 12, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 12, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle, Marymoor Park in Redmond and along the Soos Creek Trail in Kent.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

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King County Parks seeks fan to serve as judge for camping contest

August 10, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 10, 2011

King County Parks needs a fan to help judge a quirky camping contest.

County parks managers selected a team of boldface names to choose the winning design in the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition — a contest to create a camping shelter from a 20-foot-long shipping container — but they need one more judge.

In order to enter the drawing to be a judge, people must like King County Parks on Facebook and leave a post on the wall naming their favorite camping cuisine. The entry deadline is 4:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

The deadline to submit a design for the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition is also Aug. 22. The selected designer receives $4,500 and a chance to see his or her work become part of King County Parks’ award-winning system of parks and open space.

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