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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King County Parks unveils ‘green’ campsite design in Issaquah

September 14, 2011

NEW — 7 p.m. Sept. 14, 2011

Campers in a King County park might notice a sustainable place to spend the night soon.

The parks agency challenged entrants to design a “green” camping space to create a comfortable and durable sleeping area from a cargo container.

County officials announced the top design in the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” contest at the Built Green Conference in Issaquah on Wednesday.

The top design — selected from a panel including County Executive Dow Constantine and other judges — came from a Seattle firm, HyBrid Architecture.

The design features a flexible floor plan, queen-sized bunk beds, and a multipurpose cabinet fashioned from recycled and reclaimed materials.

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Gardeners grow community spirit in pea patches

August 30, 2011

Issaquah-area community gardens offer bounty, camaraderie

Summertime in the Mirrormont Pea Patch resembles a slice of Eden on Tiger Mountain.

Linda Jean Shepherd (above) points to some of the plants growing in a raised garden plot at the Mirrormont Pea Patch. By Greg Farrar

Pathways crisscross the ground among the lush leaves and verdant vines reaching out from bean, potato, tomato and dozens of other plants. Colorful blooms and delicate herbs greet guests at the garden gate.

“It’s about growing food, but it’s also about growing community,” Linda Jean Shepherd, a longtime Mirrormont resident and lead figure in establishing the pea patch, said on a stroll through the garden.

Some plots contain plants in neat rows. The plants in others bend and coil to Mother Nature’s whims.

“It’s so fun to see how people’s personalities are expressed in their gardens,” Shepherd said.

In Mirrormont and elsewhere in the Issaquah area, community gardens continue to sprout on empty lots and unused corners. The pea patches offer opportunities to grow produce, sure, but also a chance to grow community as neighbors join to dig and plant.

Gardeners from the pea patches often donate fresh, and often organic, produce to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank and other food pantries.

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King County seeks users’ opinions about parks, trails

August 16, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and ideas about how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

The schedule for in-person surveys includes a session on Cougar Mountain near Newcastle from 8-10 a.m. Sept. 8.

People interested in providing feedback online can do so starting Aug. 17 at the agency’s website, www.kingcounty.gov/parks.

The agency is also scheduling workshops to gather input from younger park visitors.

Site Story, a local consultant specializing in community outreach, and cultural and public open space planning, is conducting the survey. The project is funded in part by a grant from the National Center for Civic Innovation.

King County Parks needs a judge for camping contest

August 16, 2011

King County Parks needs a fan to help judge a quirky camping contest.

County parks managers selected a team of noteworthy names to choose the winning design in the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition — a contest to create a camping shelter from a 20-foot-long shipping container — but they need one more judge.

In order to enter the drawing to be a judge, people need to like King County Parks on Facebook, www.facebook.com/iheartkcparks, and leave a wall post naming their favorite camping cuisine by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

The deadline to submit a design for the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition is also Aug. 22. The selected designer receives $4,500 and a chance to see his or her work become part of the county parks system.

Contest organizers encourage all architects, designers, hobbyists, students, builders and creative people to apply.

The challenge is to design a “green” camping space to create a comfortable and durable sleeping area from a cargo container.

The selected design is due to be announced Sept. 14 as part of the Built Green Conference and Festival, a gathering in Issaquah for building industry professionals.

Citizen input is sought to shape King County Parks

August 12, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 12, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle, Marymoor Park in Redmond and along the Soos Creek Trail in Kent.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

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