King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday 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.

“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.”

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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.

King County plans summer timber harvest near Issaquah

June 12, 2012

King County announced June 1 a summer timber harvest on Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

The planned harvest encompasses about 66 acres in the 1,845-acre forest. Officials said the harvest includes poor-quality maple, and overmature and dying alder trees. Plans call for crews to then plant a mix of Western red cedar, Douglas fir and Western hemlock.

Officials said most of the conifers within the identified harvest area should not be cut, except for trees severely infected with root rot.

Eatonville-based Erickson Logging Inc. is conducting the harvest operation. The timber sale is expected to generate $75,000 for county officials to manage forestland.

The activity is expected to start in June or early July, depending on rainfall, and should last up to six weeks.

Hikers should prepare for a closure along a portion of Holder Creek Trail through the harvest area. Crews expect to reroute the trail after the harvest.

The county plans to post signs about the trail closure along the trail network and at the Holder Creek parking area along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, south of the state Route 18 interchange.

King County officials urge river safety as temperatures rise

May 22, 2012

More sunshine and balmier temperatures in the forecast mean more people heading to area rivers.

King County officials urge recreational river users to use caution due to the effects of significantly greater-than-average mountain snowpack on waterways.

Even though air temperatures continue to rise, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound all remain cold, and recreationists should use caution around open water.

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

“Rivers are dynamic systems, and they are always changing,” King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director Christie True said in a statement. “Warm weather and cold water can be a dangerous combination, and we urge all river users to exercise a high degree of caution and awareness when recreating on any of King County’s beautiful rivers.”

King County leaders adopted a measure last spring to require personal flotation devices for users along the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skykomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas. The measure expired in October.

“If you’re looking to swim, there are much safer places to be than in the rivers, such as our local pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “If you choose to enjoy the rivers for other recreational activities, we want you to return home safely. Please use caution and wear a PFD on the water.”

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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King County seeks youth sports facilities grant applications

March 13, 2012

The Parks and Recreation Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks are seeking applications from qualified groups for the King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant Fund.

The YSFG program helps build and renovate public sports amenities, including skate parks, athletic fields and playgrounds.

“Through strong partnerships with community groups, we are able to stretch limited resources to provide new or improved recreational facilities in the areas that need them the most,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a press release.

YSFG matches grant funds up to $75,000 and the requests range from $5,000 to $75,000.

Applications are being accepted through June 15 and letters of intent are due May 4. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/parks or call Program Manager Butch Lovelace at 206-263-6267 for more information.

Holiday gifts can benefit King County Parks

December 20, 2011

King County Parks leaders encouraged people to consider holiday gifts to support the county parks system.

Shoppers can browse King County Parks’ online store to create custom holiday cards, purchase parks-themed stamps or donate to the King County Parks Legacy Fund.

Sales benefit King County Parks’ 26,000 acres of public land, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Duthie Hill Park near Issaquah, plus hundreds of miles of regional and backcountry trails systems.

The online retailer Zazzle donates up to 27 percent of net sales from purchased items back to King County Parks.

The agency has also joined www.41pounds.org, a nonprofit organization formed to reduce waste and pollution by helping people to limit the amount of junk mail they receive, to raise dollars for parks and programs.

The organization has pledged to donate to King County Parks for every subscriber referred through the King County Parks page, www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks.aspx.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance seeks $15,000 in stolen tools

December 13, 2011

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members need help to recover $15,000 worth of equipment and tools stolen from Duthie Hill Park near Issaquah.

Thieves broke into the nonprofit organization’s storage boxes and trailer late Nov. 29 or early Nov. 30, and then stole chainsaws and other trail building and maintenance equipment.

Mike Westra, project manager for the nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, learned about the incident Nov. 30, after another staffer called to report the gate to the equipment storage area had been left open overnight.

“He called me while he was driving down the access road to get into the central clearing where all of our stuff is to tell me, ‘Hey, somebody left the gate open last night,’” Westra said. “Immediately, alarm bells went off in my head, because he didn’t know it, but I was the last one out on the night before.”

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Dump post-feast grease to protect pipes from damage

November 29, 2011

Holiday 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.

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

General Biodiesel is offering 10 locations countywide to dump leftover cooking fats and grease. The closest 24/7 drop-off location is Safeway, 630 228th Ave. N.E., Sammamish. The tank is located behind the store.

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.

In May, City Council members adopted regulations for grease and other oily discharges from Issaquah businesses. Supporters said cutting out the fat could lead to reduced maintenance costs from clogged and damaged pipes.

Dump post-feast grease to protect pipes from damage

November 23, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2011

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.

General Biodiesel is offering 10 locations countywide to dump leftover cooking fats and grease. The closest 24/7 drop-off location is Safeway, 630 228th Ave. N.E., 
Sammamish. The tank is located behind the store.

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