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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Leaders highlight Evergreen State national parks

July 17, 2012

King County leaders highlighted nearby national parks and declared July 9 as Washington State National Parks Day to recognize the economic and environmental benefits such places add to the landscape.

The national parks in Washington attract millions of parkgoers each year, including many out-of-state and foreign guests. Officials said the visitors then contribute to King County and other communities near the parks. Washington received more than $264 million in economic benefits related to national park units in 2010, National Park Service officials reported.

“Thanks to the abundant recreation opportunities in our national parks, local residents as well as visitors have access to valuable resources for outdoor physical fitness activities,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, King County Board of Health vice chairwoman and the Issaquah representative, said in a statement. “Our national parks contribute immeasurably to the quality of life we enjoy in the Northwest.”

Officials also used the proclamation to attract attention to cuts in the National Parks Service budget.

“It is imperative we continue to fund these parks and keep them in the pristine condition we see them in today for future generations to enjoy,” Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement.

Leaders highlight Evergreen State national parks

July 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

King County leaders highlighted nearby national parks and declared Monday as Washington State National Parks Day to recognize the economic and environmental benefits such places add to the landscape.

The national parks in Washington attract millions of parkgoers each year, including many out-of-state and foreign guests. Officials said the visitors then contribute to King County and other communities near the parks. Washington received more than $264 million in economic benefits related to national park units in 2010, National Park Service officials reported.

“King County is uniquely placed between three major national parks — Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park,” Councilwoman Julia Patterson, proclamation sponsor, said in a statement. “Because of our close proximity to these national gems, King County residents benefit from access to nature and from the economic gains these parks produce through tourism.”

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Experience natural wonders in Washington’s national places

June 28, 2012

The landscape surrounding Mount St. Helens reflects signs of destruction from the 1980 eruption and the return of life to the blast zone. By Matthew Staerk

Splendor is not limited to Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier dominates the landscape in Western Washington. The active volcano is unparalleled as a natural icon for the region — Mount Rainier even appeared on the state quarter — but the peak is not the only nearby national treasure.

Landscapes in the shadow of Mount Rainier and farther afield deserve attention, too.

Spaces set aside for conservation and recreation — national parks, national forests, national recreation areas, even a national volcanic monument — stretch from British Columbia to the Columbia River.

Discover the signature mountain and, along the way, a handful of other national treasures.
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Washington state parks, national parks offer free entry for National Get Outdoors Day

June 7, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 7, 2012

Forget the Discover Pass.

Washington state parks, alongside national parks, offer free entry Saturday for National Get Outdoors Day, a chance to experience outdoor recreation areas at no cost.

So, visitors headed to Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain state parks in the Issaquah area do not need a Discover Pass to enter. Similarly, the entrance fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks — and all other national parks in Washington and from coast to coast — is waived.

Washington boasts more than 100 developed state parks, from majestic Deception Pass State Park to the old-growth forest of Lewis & Clark State Park.

The state also hosts 13 national park sites under National Park Service administration.

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Issaquah, King County recognize Police Week

May 22, 2012

Issaquah and King County joined local governments throughout the United States to recognize May 13-19 as Police Week.

Officials lowered the flag at Issaquah City Hall to half-staff May 15 for Peace Officers Memorial Day.

In a proclamation May 14, King County Council members recognized law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, including Pierce County Deputy Shandon Wright, Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson and Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation to designate May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week around the date as Police Week.

“Since 1853, the King County Sheriff’s Office has had 15 members killed in the line of duty,” Sheriff Steve Strachan said in a statement. “Every day we remember the sacrifices that they and their families made for their community that we continue to serve in their honor.”

Local Councilman Reagan Dunn — the representative for rural areas south of Issaquah and Newcastle — sponsored the county proclamation.

Issaquah, King County commemorate Police Week

May 15, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. May 15, 2012

King County Council members joined municipalities throughout the United States to proclaim May 13-19 as Police Week.

The proclamation, issued Monday, also recognizes law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, including Pierce County Deputy Shandon Wright, Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson and Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu.

Local Councilman Reagan Dunn sponsored the proclamation. (Dunn represents rural areas south of Issaquah and Newcastle on the council.)

“We cannot thank the brave men and women of law enforcement enough for what they do every day,” he said in a statement. “Honoring our sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies by designating this week as Police Week is a small thing we can do to show our support and stand with these officers that keep us safe day in and day out.”

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May is Volcano Awareness Month, a reminder to prepare

May 15, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. May 15, 2012

May is Volcano Awareness Month in Washington, although no volcanoes in the Evergreen State show indications of immediate reawakening, volcanoes often give just a few days’ warning before eruptions begin.

Preparing to survive and recover from Washington’s next volcanic eruption can help keep communities safe and recover faster after the next eruption occurs.

State and U.S. Geological Survey officials commemorated the month by conducting a variety of volcano-related trainings for emergency managers, aviators, health care personnel, park interpreters and school students.

Scientists consider Washington’s large volcanic cones — Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens  — active because of recentness of eruptions, and the long-term presence of earthquakes and thermal features.

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Strand, Beckwith

August 30, 2011

Lauren Strand, of Sammamish, and Patrick Beckwith, of Spanaway, were married July 16, 2011, at the Family Residence in Grapeview.

Lauren Strand and Patrick Beckwith

Grandfather Wayne Beckwith officiated.

The bride is the daughter of Kurt and Carla Strand, of Sammamish. Her maid of honor was Sarah Alberts. Bridesmaids were Casey Aydel, Claire Defouw and Katie Beckwith; junior attendant was Mariah Beckwith.

A 2005 graduate of Skyline High School, Lauren earned a degree in physiology in 2009 and is working on a master’s degree in teaching at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

The groom is the son of Forrest and Donna Beckwith, of Issaquah. His best man was Forrest Scott Beckwith II. His groomsmen were Austin Strand, Sean Lambrecht and Teddy Beckwith.

Patrick is a 2003 graduate of Skyline High School. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., in 2008. He is a captain at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The newlyweds climbed Mount Rainier with a family group. Their real honeymoon will be when Patrick returns from deployment.

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