Renamed Whittaker trail honors American climbing legend

October 1, 2013

It may not be Mount Everest, but it’s still an honor.

King County Executive Dow Constantine stood with the first American to climb Earth’s tallest mountain to unveil new names for the Wilderness Peak Trail that winds its way up the southeastern side of Cougar Mountain Sept. 26.

Jim Whittaker, a Seattle native, whipped the burlap off the wooden signs that led the way to the new Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail and the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail, named after Whittaker’s Sherpa, who braved all 29,000 feet with him. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the historic ascent. A year later, Gombu climbed to the summit again, becoming the first person to make the trip twice.

On a simple wooden bridge, extending over a calm stream, Tibetan prayer flags flapped as Constantine praised Whittaker and Gombu’s bravery.

By Peter Clark Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

By Peter Clark
Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

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King County will honor climbing legends Jim Whittaker and Nawang Gombu by renaming trails tomorrow

September 25, 2013

NEW — 1 p.m. Sept. 25, 2013

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine and mountaineering legend Jim Whittaker as King County honors Whittaker and climbing partner Sherpa Nawang Gombu for their historic ascent of Mount Everest 50 years ago.

Meet at noon Sept. 26 at the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Wilderness Peak Trailhead, 10245 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Whittaker-Gombu ascent of Mount Everest, when Whittaker, a Seattle native, became the first American to summit Earth’s highest mountain. It was also Gombu’s first ascent of Everest; a few years later, he became the first person to conquer Mount Everest for a second time.

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There’s still time to complete your GeoTour of King County parks, trails

August 4, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 4, 2013

Discover a King County park or trail you’ve never explored before — and earn a commemorative geocoin, too — by taking King County Parks’ GeoTour this summer.

The tour began in 2012 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the county’s first use of Conservation Futures funds to purchase land threatened by development, according to a news release from King County Parks.

All 20 sites on the GeoTour are part of King County Parks, thanks to Conservation Futures.

Numerous GeoTour participants have provided feedback to King County about their experiences:

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Keep parks clean while listening to music

June 25, 2013

See some of your favorite bands at no cost at Marymoor Park this summer while helping King County Parks keep the concert venue clean.

King County Parks is seeking volunteers for its Marymoor Recycling and Composting Crew at this summer’s Marymoor Park Concerts. As in past years, volunteers receive free entry and parking for the shows at which they volunteer.

Prospective volunteers must be at least 18; no experience is necessary. Volunteers will be able to watch the show before or after their shift and are able to hear the entire concert. Shifts last about three hours and start times vary. Groups and families are encouraged to volunteer together.

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Keep parks clean while listening to music

June 24, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. June 24, 2013

See some of your favorite bands at no cost at Marymoor Park this summer while helping King County Parks keep the concert venue clean.

King County Parks is seeking volunteers for its Marymoor Recycling and Composting Crew at this summer’s Marymoor Park Concerts, according to a press release from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. As in past years, volunteers receive free entry and parking for the shows at which they volunteer.

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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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Final Cougar Mountain trail run offers 20-mile, 50-kilometer races

October 23, 2012

Organizers of the popular SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park have saved the toughest day of racing for last.

After runs of five, eight, 10 and 13 miles earlier this year, trail-run enthusiasts will have their choice of participating in races of 20 miles or 50 kilometers (31.06 miles) Oct. 28.

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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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