Lake Sammamish earns federal designation

September 17, 2013

Lake Sammamish is one of only two places in the nation to earn a new federal designation. While the details of the program are unclear, it seems to mean that local officials will get some federal help in explaining the importance of the lake and its ecosystem.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has placed Lake Sammamish, and Masonville Cove in Baltimore, in its Urban Partnership Program, according to Denise Hawkins, of fish and wildlife.

The idea for the program came from the group that designates wildlife refuges. Typically, that means designating huge tracts of land as a refuge in order to protect wildlife habitat, Hawkins said. These typically end up in more rural areas, so in order to allow more people to be able to visit an area and learn about it, they decided to work in more populous settings.

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Squak Mountain logging plan concerns neighbors

February 12, 2013

Proposal could lead to clear cut timber operation

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.

Downhill, 15-year resident Helen Farrington is concerned about how a plan to clear cut the forest above could impact a fork of May Creek.

In September, after a long permitting process and almost $100,000 out of pocket, the Farringtons replaced a crumbling culvert with a passage easier for fish to cross.

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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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County seeks proposals for youth sports facilities

February 7, 2013

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 7, 2013

Local youth sports organizations can apply for King County grants to build or upgrade recreation facilities.

The county Youth Sports Facilities Grants Program provides matching grant funds from $5,000 to $75,000. Past grant recipients include playgrounds and athletic fields, including the Issaquah Little League’s Dodd Fields near Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

Other local grant recipients in the Issaquah area include city-run Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands and county-run Duthie Hill Park in Sammamish.

Overall, officials awarded $12 million through the program in the past 20 years.

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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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Department of Ecology fines King County for trail work violation

December 18, 2012

State regulators fined King County $1,500 after workers failed to follow rules to stop sediment discharges into a municipal storm drain during construction on the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

The state Department of Ecology said crews from the county Facilities Management Division repeatedly did not install the proper controls outlined under the storm water permit to prevent sediment discharges.

The agency issued the fine July 20, but did not announce the penalty until Nov. 27, as the Department of Ecology detailed all fines issued statewide between July and September. Officials typically do not issue individual media releases unless a penalty reaches $10,000 or more.

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Parks task force recommends 2013 property tax measure

December 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 10, 2012

King County voters could decide next year on dollars to complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail, add a Cougar Mountain trailhead in Issaquah, and continue funding parks and trails countywide.

Late last month, King County Parks Levy Task Force members unanimously recommended continuing a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks, trails and open space. Voters overwhelmingly approved the most recent pair of park levies in 2007.

The voter-approved levies fund the bulk of park operations, but the property tax measures expire in December 2013. In June, King County Executive Constantine convened the task force to explore options future funding.

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More kokanee return as community works to restore species

December 4, 2012

Homeowner funds $175,000 culvert project

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon swim Nov. 27 in the restored stretch of Ebright Creek at Wally Pereyra’s property in the 100 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon — a landlocked cousin of sockeye and a species noted for distinctive red coloration — dwindled in recent decades, since before Wally Pereyra moved into a house along Ebright Creek in 1973.

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Dump post-feast grease to protect pipes from damage

November 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 22, 2012

Thanksgiving grease is notorious for causing slippery situations in local sewer systems.

Grease can cause the same problems in municipal sewer systems as in human arteries. The goop sticks to the inside of sewer pipes, leads to blockages and, maybe, expensive cleanups.

So, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks joined Seattle-based General Biodiesel to offer residents with a safe way to toss cooking oil and grease. The material is then recycled, and does not end up in drains or landfills.

Officials recommend putting cooled cooking fats and grease into a sealed container for transport to the drop-off locations. Then, slowly pour the grease into the collection container to avoid splatters. Close the community lid tank and take containers home.

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King County launches geocaching at parks

October 16, 2012

King County Parks launched a GPS-driven treasure hunt Oct. 6 to recognize land protected in the past 30 years.

Participants can join the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour. The treasure hunt to 20 King County Parks cache sites is designed to raise awareness about the 111,000 acres of land the Conservation Futures Program has preserved in the past 30 years.

The initial 190 people to fill a GeoTour Passport with 20 unique stamps found in cache boxes earn a commemorative coin.

Learn more about the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour at http://1.usa.gov/Q1Nvwm.

The first parkland purchased using Conservation Futures Program dollars consisted of 1,400 acres on Cougar Mountain.

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