Mountains to Sound Greenway heritage plan earns King County endorsement

March 20, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. March 20, 2012

King County Council members endorsed a plan Monday 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.

The council motion is the latest support for the National Heritage Area effort. The push includes numerous supporters in Issaquah, such as Mayor Ava Frisinger and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, a crucial and early greenway backer.

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

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Mountains to Sound Greenway proposal earns committee’s OK

March 13, 2012

The effort to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway — a 100-mile greenbelt along Interstate 90 — as a National Heritage Area received a key endorsement from a King County Council committee March 6.

The designation from Congress is meant to highlight a unique feature or local history. The greenway could be the only National Heritage Area in Washington; no other region is designated as such. (Nationwide, Congress has designated 49 heritage areas from coast to coast.)

Council Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee members sent the full council a recommendation to pass a measure urging Congress to designate the greenway as a National Heritage Area. The council is expected to act on the measure March 19.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway heritage proposal earns committee’s endorsement

March 6, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. March 6, 2012

The effort to designate the Mountains to Sound Greenway — a 100-mile greenbelt along Interstate 90 — as a National Heritage Area received a key endorsement from a King County Council committee Tuesday.

The designation from Congress is meant to highlight a unique feature or local history. The greenway could be the only National Heritage Area in Washington; no other region is designated as such. (Nationwide, Congress has designated 49 heritage areas from coast to coast.)

Council Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee members sent the full council a recommendation to pass a measure urging Congress to designate the greenway as a National Heritage Area. The council is expected to act on the measure March 19.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway seeks federal recognition

February 21, 2012

The greenway, shown above, runs parallel to Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront, through Issaquah and across the Cascades. The greenbelt encompasses 1.5 million acres in conservation lands, recreation areas, farms, working forests and cities. By Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Greg Farrar

National Heritage Area is meant to highlight environment, history

The 100-mile-long Mountains to Sound Greenway — greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront and across the Cascades — is often heralded as a national model for conservation and land use.

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Press Editorial

February 14, 2012

Heritage designation fits for greenway

It seems silly that different public land-use agencies cannot work together, but the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is trying to help resolve that problem.

Today, there are six major agencies that manage public lands with the 1.5 million acres known as the greenway. These include the U.S. Forest Service, City of Seattle Watershed, state Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and King County.

The agencies should be able to intermingle land management. The benefit focuses on enforcement and environmental decisions. For example, one agency employee may not have the authority to stop hunters or timber cutting on public land. It also opens the doors to pilot projects that might be used elsewhere in the country.

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Volunteers

February 14, 2012

Volunteers

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust needs volunteers for tree potting 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekend through February at the Native Plant Nursery in Issaquah, the following events (the events are free but require registration at www.mtsgreenway.org/volunteer).

Join Issaquah Alps Trails Club to help clean, prepare Cougar Mountain

November 15, 2011

Cougar Mountain is due for a cleaning.

King County purchased 41 acres on Cougar Mountain almost a year ago, and to prepare the site for addition to a regional park, Issaquah Alps Trails Club members plan to clean up the land Nov. 19.

The effort is a rare cleanup event for the trails club. Members usually focus on trail maintenance projects.

“This property is really important and we figure it’s a good start,” said David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman. “We’ll build some more awareness of the actual potential for this property.”

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Information kiosks go up along Mountains to Sound Greenway trails

November 15, 2011

This newly completed kiosk at the Tiger Mountain trailhead includes maps and a QR code that will direct smartphones to the website of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. By Greg Farrar

A new kiosk now in place at the Tiger Mountain trailhead can provide cellphone users with electronic information about the mountain trail, such as maps and how to spot local wildlife.

Amy Brockhaus, of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, said the kiosk was finished last week. Similar kiosks are going up at locations throughout the greenway at spots such as the Mount Si and Rattlesnake Mountain trailheads.

Brockhaus said one idea of the kiosks is to allow users of smart phones to take pictures of trail maps and use those maps later to navigate the surrounding area. A QR code in one corner of the kiosk directs web enabled phones to the Mountains to Sound Greenway website. The kiosks also contain what was described as a lot of site-specific information.

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Bill for Interstate 90 bridge reaches $6.7 million

November 1, 2011

The bill for the pedestrian and bicyclist connector across Interstate 90 is costing Issaquah $450,000 more than city leaders budgeted for the project.

City Administrator Bob Harrison (right) and Mayor Ava Frisinger lead Issaquah and regional officials across the Interstate 90 pedestrian bridge Oct. 26. By Greg Farrar

The total budget for the project is about $6.7 million, up from the $6.2 million set aside to complete the bridge across the interstate at state Route 900. The budget increase accommodates engineering expenses, construction cost and construction management cost increases, and legal and permitting fees related to the connector.

The change increases the amount of city dollars used in a project approved in part because the federal government and Sound Transit offered to cover substantial costs.

Construction delays and other issues — such as using off-duty police officers for traffic control near the construction site — caused costs to mount. The city set aside about $314,000 as contingency funds for the project, but the overruns caused the project to exhaust the backup dollars.

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Mountains to Sound tree-planting event is set for state park

October 11, 2011

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust holds the first of its annual native tree and shrub planting events from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

The day will feature food, music and booths as well as, of course, plenty of trees to plant.

The Issaquah event is the first of several planned. Registration is necessary. Full and half-day shifts are available.

The park address is 2000 N.W. Sammamish Road. From Interstate 90, drive east to Exit 15 and follow the signs.

The kick-off event is sponsored by Carter Subaru, KMTT-103.7 and REI.

Learn more and register at http://mtsgreenway.org and click on the “volunteer” link.

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