King County hosts discussion about Cedar River watershed

October 9, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 9, 2012

Residents from along the Cedar River and people interested in recreation on the waterway can learn more about long-term plans for the river soon at a King County open house.

The county and the Cedar River Council, a stakeholders group, planned presentations, a question-and-answer session, and opportunities for citizens to meet county staffers involved in the management of the river and nearby environs.

The county launched the “I Love the Cedar River” meetings last year to launch a conservation about the waterway. The watershed for the Cedar River stretches north to encompass local streams, including Coal and May creeks between Issaquah and Newcastle.

The meeting is from 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Lake Wilderness Lodge, 22500 S.E. 248th St., Maple Valley.

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Join ‘Gill’-iver’s Travels at Salmon Days to experience salmon migration

October 7, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 7, 2012

In addition to the Roving Fish Fan hunt at the Salmon Days Festival, the downtown Issaquah Salmon Hatchery features “Gill”-iver’s Travels — a chance for children and adults to assume the role of a migrating salmon.

(Trust us, nobody dies at the end of the journey.)

The experience starts at the entrance of the hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way. Then, participants head to booths to answer questions about salmon, the environment and water quality. Show the passport to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at the end of the journey to receive a fishy treat.

The program comes together through the efforts of the state fish and wildlife agency, the state Department of Natural Resources, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and King County.

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King County parks host GPS-driven treasure hunt

October 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 4, 2012

King County Parks is launching a GPS-driven treasure hunt on Cougar Mountain to recognize land protected in the last 30 years.

Starting Saturday, 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 last 30 years.

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Citizens can comment on proposed Grand Ridge trailhead

September 18, 2012

King County parks planners asked the public for input on a proposed trailhead facility to add access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest near Preston.

The county Parks and Recreation Division is hosting a public meeting on the proposal Sept. 27.

The meeting includes a public question and comment period. Staffers intend to provide a summary of comments received to date, plus information about possible access and road improvements.

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Planners seek public input on proposed Grand Ridge trailhead

September 13, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 13, 2012

King County parks planners asked the public for input on a proposed trailhead facility to add access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest near Preston.

The county Parks and Recreation Division is hosting a public meeting on the proposal from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. The meeting includes a public question and comment period.

Citizens can also submit comments to the county through Oct. 12.

Officials said developed access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest is limited to two locations meant to serve only Grand Ridge Park.

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Leaders laud land program for 30 years of conservation

August 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 28, 2012

King County leaders highlighted the program used to preserve 111,000 acres of farmland, forests, parks and open space countywide, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

In a recognition Monday, King County Council members marked 30 years of milestones in the Conservation Futures Program — a long-term effort to expand and maintain a open space.

In 1982, King County became the first county in the state to use Conservation Futures Funds. Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“It is important to preserve our open and natural spaces for recreation and reflection on our environmental heritage,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement.

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Conservation Futures Program celebrates 30 years

July 31, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space is turning 30, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

In the past 30 years, county officials used $300 million in Conservation Futures Program funds and more than $150 million in matching funds to preserve land, including the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park near Issaquah.

Overall, program dollars enabled the county to conserve 108,600 acres countywide, add 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways, and protect 4,700 acres of watershed and salmon habitat.

Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems and preserved beautiful open space for us — and future generations — to enjoy,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

The county and open space partners also launched a website, www.kingcounty.gov/conservationfutures, to explain the program’s history.

Landowners can receive tax incentives for creating public trail links

July 17, 2012

Landowners could receive tax incentives for allowing public access to trails to link to points of interest and existing public trails.

In a decision June 11, King County Council members approved implementation strategies to expand trail linkages through a program created in October 2010. The program expands the Public Benefit Rating System — a program for private landowners to receive incentives to conserve and protect land resources and open space.

“With more people throughout King County using trails for recreation and transportation, finding low-cost options for increasing access and connections to our trail system makes sense, especially for taxpayers,” Councilman Larry Phillips, trail legislation sponsor, said in a statement.

The system program provides incentives to encourage landowners to conserve land. In return for preserving and managing resources, the land is assessed at a value consistent with “current use” rather than the “highest and best use.”

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Officials launch summertime water safety campaign

July 10, 2012

County mailers, signs remind public of rivers’ risk

Summer arrived last month, but despite balmier temperatures and abundant sunshine, King County rivers still run cold.

Revelers heading to the Raging River near Preston or the Cedar River south of Issaquah — and other local rivers — should exercise caution, and King County safety officials urged caution. Even a quick swim or a short jaunt on a raft can pose risks.

Officials from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Public Health – Seattle & King County and the King County Sheriff’s Office joined forces to urge recreationalists to use common sense and follow safety tips.

Officials recommended for kayakers, boaters, rafters and other recreationalists to check conditions and scout rivers thoroughly for hazards before getting in the water.

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Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

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