Conditions delay opening for Tiger Mountain biking trails

April 13, 2011

NEW — 6:30 p.m. April 13, 2011

For mountain bikers planning to hit Tiger Mountain trails Friday, the wait for springtime continues.

The state Department of Natural Resources aims to open mountain biking on the mountain April 15 each year, but the agency monitors the weather to determine opening day. The rain-soaked trails remain soggy, forecasts include more rain and the possibility of snow lingers, too.

The earliest the state can open the trails is April 22.

The state posts closure information throughout the year. Tiger Mountain near Issaquah is a popular destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts year-round.

“It’s important to give the trails a chance to dry out before they get the high volume of use that comes with opening day,” Sam Jarrett, recreation manager for the agency’s Snoqualmie unit, said in a release.

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Legislators consider $30 fee for public lands, state parks

April 5, 2011

Proposed Discover Pass could stave off closures

Hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts using Issaquah as a starting point for treks could face a $30 fee to use public lands and state parks come July.

Lawmakers proposed the statewide fee in order to inject funds into the cash-strapped agencies managing public forests, open spaces and recreation facilities. The legislation aims to create a yearlong pass, called the Discover Pass, to park at trailheads and other state-managed lands. For users uninterested in the annual parking pass, the legislation proposes a $10 day-use fee for using the lands. Otherwise, violators could face a ticket.

By Dona Mokin

Though the Discover Pass proposal attracted broad support from outdoor recreation groups, Issaquah legislators remain concerned about the state imposing fees amid a tough economy.

If the Legislature decides against a recreation fee, agencies could close state lands to public access in order to cut costs. Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah faces closure from July through 2013 as legislators scramble to patch a $5.1 billion hole in the 2011-13 budget.

David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman, said the Discover Pass could offer a short-term solution.

“I think some of the fees that they’re talking about are reasonable, at least for a while, until things improve,” he said. “I really don’t think that we want to get into that situation long term.”

Supporters said the per-vehicle pass could be easier to enforce, because officers can check parking areas for vehicle windshields displaying a Discover Pass, rather than tracking down users on trails.

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Off the Press

March 1, 2011

Issaquah attractions are worthy of bucket list

I’ve worked here at The Issaquah Press for over a decade now, covering different aspects of one of the state’s fastest growing towns.

David Hayes Press Reporter

I’ve patrolled the schools beat, sat in on City Council meetings when the city reporter was out of town, and roamed the sidelines at sporting events when Bob Taylor, our sports editor, couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Seeing so many sides of Issaquah, it has really grown on me over the years. How could it not, with so much to do and see, and with such interesting people waiting to tell their tale?

And that’s the problem. As I move further into my second decade covering Issaquah, I’ve realized there is still so much I haven’t done.

As “bucket lists” — where you make up a list of things to do before you die — have become all the rage, consider this my list of righting all the missed opportunities I’ve incurred since living and working in Issaquah.

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City kicks off effort to make Issaquah a mountain biking destination

October 25, 2010

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Oct. 25, 2010

Earlier in the year, the City Council set a goal to transform Issaquah into a destination for mountain biking.

In order to reach the goal, the city has created the Issaquah Mountain Biking Task Force to study opportunities for mountain bikers inside the city and elsewhere, determine mountain biking needs in the community and track mountain biking projects in other communities.

The group launches a yearlong planning session at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Issaquah Trails House, 110 Bush St., and then meets on the last Monday of every month.

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Highlands meeting to address impacts of preserving Tiger Mountain

July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a July 22 open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

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City hosts Park Pointe open house Thursday

July 20, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a Thursday open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands, 2550 N.E. Park Drive, between 6:30-8 p.m. to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

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Summer program encourages Issaquah residents to explore the outdoors

July 2, 2010

NEW — 7 a.m. July 2, 2010

Go kayaking on Lake Sammamish, biking at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park or do yoga in a city park as Issaquah businesses encourage resident to get outdoors during July.

Several businesses have partnered to offer Issaquah Outdoors, a monthlong series of outdoor events and classes.

Facilitated by the city, the program brings together bicyclists, kayakers, fly fishing aficionados and other outdoors enthusiasts to explore opportunities for recreation in and near Issaquah. The city announced the program Thursday.

Download the activities schedule as a PDF document here. The group has also launched a Facebook page where members can share experiences and ideas, and post photos of outdoors activities.

Council sets 2011 goals

June 29, 2010

The ambitious agenda for 2011 calls for the city to turn Issaquah into a mountain-biking destination, decide whether to annex Klahanie and surrounding neighborhoods, and continue to promote Issaquah to prospective businesses.

City Council members OK’d goals for 2011 last week, and handed Mayor Ava Frisinger a broad set of priorities to be accomplished next year. The decision represents the first step in the process to shape the 2011 city budget.

Department chiefs start to prepare the budget in summer. Frisinger then delivers a proposal to the council by October. Members mold the proposal into a final budget, and the council approves the spending plan in late December.

The list also calls for the city to improve transportation, foster economic development and reduce environmental impact.

The council seeks to build a mountain bike park in Issaquah and connect city trails to regional mountain biking trails. Though the process could take several years to complete, council members directed city staffers to start the process next year.

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Leap of faith

June 29, 2010

Mountain bikers knew if they built a course, others would come

Dan Veitch, of Klahanie, gets a little closer to heaven as he takes a jump at one of the new BMX trails built at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. By Greg Farrar

Klahanie resident Dan Veitch has a new place to practice his faith. You’ll just have to excuse the fact his altar tends to get a little muddy; for the congregation Veitch belongs to receives its sermon atop a BMX bike. And his chapel is the new mountain bike trails built at Duthie Hill Park.

“It’s like our church,” Veitch said. “On Sundays, you’ll see a bunch of guys getting their religion.”

So, it was only appropriate one of the flock of true believers headed the construction. Project manager Mike Westra, a self-described former tech nerd, said the Duthie Hill trail was built by bikers for bikers, through the help of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

The park debuted to a grand dedication ceremony May 22, featuring jumping demonstrations and more than 20 vendors offering gear, much of it best suited for the BMX course.

Westra said over the years, no one had built trails designed specifically for mountain biking.

“We’ve actually been kicked off a lot of hiking trails, from Cascade to Tiger mountains,” he admitted.

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City Council sets goals, including plan to make Issaquah a mountain-biking mecca

June 26, 2010

NEW — 7 a.m. June 26, 2010

The ambitious agenda for 2011 calls for the city to turn Issaquah into a mountain-biking destination, decide whether to annex Klahanie and surrounding neighborhoods, and continue to promote Issaquah to prospective businesses.

City Council members OK’d goals for 2011 on Monday, and handed Mayor Ava Frisinger a broad set of priorities to be accomplished next year. The decision represents the first step in the process to shape the 2011 city budget.

Department chiefs start to prepare the budget in the summer. The mayor then delivers a proposal to the council by October. Members mold the proposal into a final budget, and the council approves the spending plan in late December.

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