Explore state, national parks at no cost for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Washingtonians can observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Lake Sammamish State Park and other state facilities, Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state forestlands, or in national forests and parks.

Officials at the agencies responsible for state and national public lands waived admission fees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Visitors do not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks, including Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain near Issaquah.

Mount Rainier National Park waived entrance fees to the 235,625-acre park. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is waiving fees at more than 74 day-use sites in the forest.

Throughout the year, state and national parks waive entrance fees to promote outdoor recreation.

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Dave Reichert takes oath of office for 113th Congress

January 3, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Jan. 3, 2013

Dave Reichert

The lawmaker serving Issaquah and a large swath of Central and Western Washington in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dave Reichert, took the oath of office Thursday to join the 113th Congress.

The former King County sheriff and Auburn Republican defeated Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield in November for a fifth term in the House.

In 2011, redistricting shifted Reichert’s 8th Congressional District from eastern portions of King and Pierce counties to a diverse expanse stretched from Auburn to Issaquah to Wenatchee. Reichert’s district office is in Issaquah.

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January 1, 2013

2013 goals are imperative for Issaquah

Our news staff and editorial board put their heads together each year to create a list of 2013 goals for the Issaquah area. Some are repeats from former years, but are still waiting to be accomplished.

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Parks waive fees for all on Veterans Day weekend

November 6, 2012

Residents can explore the outdoors for free as state and national parks waive entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12.

Lake Sammamish, Squak Mountain and other state parks do not require a Discover Pass during the holiday weekend. The waiver also applies to lands run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, including Tiger Mountain State Forest.

The fee waiver encompasses all 398 national parks — including Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks.

Change in geography alters landscape for congressional race

October 23, 2012

Karen Porterfield

Dave Reichert

The showdown in the 8th Congressional District is far different from the most recent contests for the seat.

Incumbent Republican Dave Reichert held on amid spirited challenges from Democrats in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Redistricting last year reshaped the landscape for the district, and the 2012 race is not attracting the same kind of attention — or money — as the earlier battles.

Reichert’s opponent is Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield, a nonprofit professional and adjunct instructor at Seattle University.

Porterfield grew up in Seattle, in a family active in Democratic politics, and settled in Issaquah more than a decade ago. She said the expertise she gained in affordable housing development and in leadership roles at nonprofit organizations means she could offer a unique perspective in Congress.

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Celebrate National Public Lands Day on Tiger Mountain

September 25, 2012

Washingtonians can celebrate National Public Lands Day in the Tiger Mountain State Forest, other state forestlands or at national parks.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the lineup for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, includes a mountain bike trail construction event on Tiger Mountain.

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Celebrate National Public Lands Day in Tiger Mountain State Forest, national parks

September 19, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. Sept. 19, 2012

Washingtonians can celebrate National Public Lands Day in Tiger Mountain State Forest, other state forestlands or at national parks.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the lineup for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29, includes a mountain bike trail construction event on Tiger Mountain.

The annual event is meant to encourage people to head outside and enjoy the outdoors.

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark invited the public to join volunteers to celebrate the event on Department of Natural Resources-managed lands across Washington.

Statewide, hundreds of volunteers plan to join the agency and partner organizations to repair trails, clean up litter, clear brush, remove invasive plants and complete other projects in recreation lands and conservation areas.

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Issaquah man injured in Pierce County crash

September 11, 2012

Pierce County firefighters rescued a 76-year-old Issaquah man Sept. 6, after his Chevrolet Suburban plunged into a ravine about eight miles north of Mount Rainier National Park.

Washington State Patrol troopers said motorist Charles Huffaker attempted to turn around near the Fairfax Bridge on state Route 165 at about 1 p.m. He then mistook the gas pedal for the brake and the Suburban slid off the road and about 20 feet down a steep embankment toward the Carbon River. He then attempted to climb back to the road, but lost his footing and fell about 100 feet down the ravine.

Off-duty law enforcement officers noticed the vehicle and stopped to investigate at about 4 p.m.

East Pierce Fire & Rescue crews later freed Huffaker, and medics airlifted him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Hiker creates guide to Wonderland Trail, ultimate Mount Rainier adventure

August 21, 2012

Mount Rainier looms above subalpine scenery visible from Sunrise. By Tami Asars/‘Hiking the Wonderland Trail’

Civilization fades far into the distance along the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile loop around Mount Rainier.

The volcano looms above the landscape, as clouds play peek-a-boo around the glacier-capped summit. The meadows below buzz as marmots and other creatures dart among the wildflowers.

The scenes along the trail seem cut from a postcard. Even the name is majestic.

Tami Asars, a third-generation Washingtonian and lifelong hiker, created a guidebook for the premier trail in Mount Rainier National Park — “Hiking the Wonderland Trail,” a recent release from The Mountaineers Books.

“You get to see almost everything when you go on the Wonderland,” she said in a recent interview. “You get to see so many glaciers. You get to see all of these little great meadows and little nooks and wildflowers. The creatures that live in the park are just everywhere. You get to see the marmots — they’re in almost every field you come across, whistling and squeaking and playing patty-cake.”

Asars, a North Bend resident and former employee at REI in Issaquah, led classes about the Wonderland Trail at the sporting goods store. Then, as she amassed more and more information for prospective hikers, the idea for a book germinated.

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Japanese students travel 5,700 miles to volunteer in Pickering Garden

August 7, 2012

Falaah Jones (right), garden coordinator from Seattle Tilth, teaches visiting Japanese students about gardening at the city’s Pickering Garden on July 27. Contributed

The Pickering Garden had some unique visitors July 27, more than 20 students from Okinawa, Japan.

The students are part of a summer homestay program through Cultural Homestay International. They will spend one month with host families exploring the Puget Sound area. On their third day, they volunteered at the Pickering Garden with Falaah Jones, garden coordinator from Seattle Tilth. It was the students’ first visit to the United States.

Risa Kamiya and Showei Mori said they like the forest, trees and mountains covered with snow, something they have never seen before. Host families have one or two students in their home at a time.

“Everyone learns,” tour coordinator Cathy Kramer said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The Japanese students didn’t know each other before the trip but Kramer said they made friends very quickly. Each day, the students have three-hour classes to learn about English and culture.

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