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.”

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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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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.

Volunteers complete Grand Ridge Park boardwalk

March 6, 2012

The boardwalk in Grand Ridge Park is complete, after more than 4,600 hours donated by volunteers.

Washington Trails Association volunteers added the last spike to the 600-foot-long boardwalk Feb. 24. The boardwalk is the last link the trail. The trail network connects King County-run Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill parks.

The completion marked a milestone for the organization. Washington Trails Association volunteers spent a decade building and upgrading the 9.5-mile trail network inside the park. The group joined the effort to complete a 40-foot-long footbridge near on the park’s main trail in 2010.

Grand Ridge Park — a 1,200-acre park featuring groves of Western red cedars — rises 1,100 feet in elevation above Issaquah along Interstate 90.

The trails organization and King County Parks enjoy a long partnership. Washington Trails Association volunteers provide about 10,000 hours of service on backcountry trail projects in county parks each year.

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.

Cougar Mountain ranks among United States’ top trail-running locations

October 25, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list in a recent issue.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine noted.

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Cougar Mountain ranks among nation’s top 25 trail running destinations

October 5, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine notes.

The mountain boasts a 36-mile trail system. King County Parks and the Seattle Running Club produce a popular trail running series on the mountain each year.

Cougar Mountain is the only Washington destination on the list.

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