Washington Conservation Corps seeks members

August 21, 2012

The teams maintaining the trails on state and King County lands near Issaquah often include members of the Washington Conservation Corps — a fresh-out-of-college bunch eager to earn experience in the environmental field.

Like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21st-century equivalent enlists young adults to tackle habitat and infrastructure projects.

The state Department of Ecology needs applicants to fill 300 service positions in 16 counties throughout the state.

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Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

What is the Mountains to Sound Greenway?

June 28, 2012

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid fried fish counters and souvenir shops along the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

The greenbelt represents decades of effort to protect the natural landscape along the interstate, even as Issaquah and other Eastside cities experienced a population explosion in recent years.

Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

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King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

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Prepare for Fenders on Front Street traffic changes

June 12, 2012

Motorists should prepare for a downtown Issaquah road closure June 17 during the Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise.

Organizers plan to close Front Street North from Gilman Boulevard to Sunset Way between 6 a.m. and   4 p.m. for the car show, a Mountains to Sound Greenway Days event.

Registration starts at 6 a.m. at Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, 98 N.E. Gilman Blvd. Vehicles start to park at Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, and then park along the Staples parking lot to Front Street North and then along Front Street North toward Sunset Way as the need for space increases.

The car judging starts at about 11 a.m., with trophies presented at the historic Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., at 2 p.m.

Following the trophy presentations, at 3 p.m., car show participants gather on Front Street North and cruise to Sunset Way, and then to Newport Way and along Gilman Boulevard to the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in.

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.

120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.

1892

  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.

1893

  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.

1895

  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.

1899

  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.

1900

  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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‘GiveBIG’ to local nonprofit organizations May 2

April 24, 2012

The Seattle Foundation is staging a day of charitable giving in King County — and people can donate to numerous Issaquah-based organizations and groups serving local residents.

The foundation’s GiveBIG fundraising is a daylong event May 2.

GiveBIG invites people to make donations to almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations, including the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Village Theatre, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Habitat for Humanity of East King County, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish and the Together Center.

Each donation made to the more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website between midnight and midnight receives a pro-rated portion of the matching funds, or “stretch,” pool. The amount of the “stretch” depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day

Find a complete list of participating organizations and donation information at The Seattle Foundation’s website, www.seattlefoundation.org.

King County Council endorses greenway heritage plan

March 27, 2012

King County Council members endorsed a plan March 19 to designate the greenbelt along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.

In a unanimous decision, council members called on Congress to recognize the Mountains to Sound Greenway — a ribbon of conservation lands, recreation areas and suburban cities interspersed among farms and forests — in a federal program for “nationally important” landscapes.

Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion, lauded the council for supporting the effort.

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway is truly one of the jewels of the Pacific Northwest,” he said in a statement.

The designation from Congress is meant to highlight a unique feature or local history. The greenway could become the only National Heritage Area in Washington.

Though the National Park Service handles oversight for heritage areas, the lands differ from national parks. The designation does not add lands, land-use restrictions or more regulatory authority inside the National Heritage Area.

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway has been a bold vision which has been masterfully executed,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said. “This area absolutely needs to be a national heritage site.”

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust earns honor for state park projects

March 27, 2012

The long-term effort to restore natural areas in Lake Sammamish State Park earned the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust recognition from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

The nonprofit organization formed to oversee the Mountains to Sound Greenway earned the Significant Volunteer Achievement honor in the Volunteer Recognition Awards announced March 26.

Through a longtime Adopt-a-Park agreement, the greenway trust developed a nursery to plant, water, weed and pot native plants for use along the greenbelt from Seattle to Ellensburg.

Greenway members potted trees and shrubs — 23,000 plants in all. The group involved local students and corporate groups in restoration and maintenance along Issaquah Creek and planted trees at the state park.

The greenway trust also improved the 12-mile Squak Mountain trail system. Members installed more than 65 trail signs, raised 800 feet of turnpike trail above wet areas, performed stabilization work on equestrian trails and installed 150 drain dips to keep water off trails.

Statewide, volunteers at state parks last year performed 271,260 hours of work — equal to 130 full-time employees.

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