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.

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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Dodd Field gets new turf, opens to Little League

June 26, 2012

Project Manager Greg Crockett and son Torin Crockett cut the ribbon June 9 at the opening of Dodd Field. By Juan Gonzalez

On June 9, Issaquah Little League celebrated the opening of two new artificial turf fields at Dodd Field behind Issaquah Valley Elementary School. The fields are named after Terry Dodd, former league president and 30-year volunteer.

The dedication included baseball-themed music provided by the Issaquah High School marching band, a ribbon cutting ceremony, three championship baseball games, and a variety of attractions including a dunk tank and speed pitching booth.

Issaquah Little League began the $320,000 project to add turf to Dodd Field in October 2010.

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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 Council creates tax incentives to promote trail links

June 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 16, 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 Monday, 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.”

Read more

Celebrate National Trails Day on Tiger Mountain

May 22, 2012

Join the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and REI on Tiger Mountain to celebrate National Trails Day.

The annual event, scheduled for June 2, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Potential volunteers can learn more and sign up at www.mtsgreenway.org.

Tiger Mountain is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Its trails bring visitors through the remains of old growth forests left over from Tiger Mountain’s logging past.

Volunteers plan to repair overused trails by resurfacing, brushing, fixing drainage issues and repairing trail structures.

Sponsored by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is meant to inspire hikers to visit a favorite trail or try something different.

Volunteers play a key role in keeping state and regional recreation areas open and safe for the public.

The public helps maintain trails and facilities, picks up litter, participates in work parties, provides information to visitors and alerts law enforcement to illegal activities.

In addition, King County Parks hosts more than 100 volunteer trail work events on projects to complement work done by the agency’s full-time backcountry trails crew.

King County could outlaw smoking in public park areas

April 17, 2012

King County could join almost 600 local governments across the United States in creating no-smoking zones in county parks.

Legislation before the County Council aims to prohibit tobacco use in parks’ busiest areas, such as athletics fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds and trailheads.

The proposal calls for voluntary compliance, so, just like littering, failing to keep a dog on a leash or using alcohol in a park, enforcement occurs only if a problem is reported. Officials plan to use a federal grant to pay for signs denoting tobacco-free areas.

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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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