Help greenway plant trees at Lake Sammamish State Park

October 4, 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.

There will be food, music and booths as well as plenty of trees to plant.

The Issaquah event is the first of several planned. Registration is required. 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.

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

See Seattle Storm, help Mountains to Sound Greenway celebrate 20 years

September 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 6, 2011

Join the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust as the organization celebrates 20 years.

The nonprofit organization, founded in September 1991, oversees preservation projects in a greenbelt stretching along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

In order to celebrate 20 years, the greenway is celebrating at KeyArena at 7 p.m. Friday as the Seattle Storm face the Phoenix Mercury.

Tickets cost $20 and $5 goes to support the greenway. Order tickets and enter the password “greenway” at the prompt for special ticket pricing.

Providing the password also means attendees get automatically seated in the greenway section.

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Seattle Sounders FC restores greenway / Aug. 29, 2011

September 1, 2011

Sounders assist at Lake Sammamish State Park

August 30, 2011

Players join Mountains to Sound Greenway restoration project

Servando Carrasco (left), Seattle Sounders FC midfielder, and Tor Bell, restoration program manager, use loppers to remove blackberry bushes Aug. 29 while joining other volunteers during a Mountains to Sound Greenway habitat restoration project beside Issaquah Creek at Lake Sammamish State Park. By Greg Farrar

Seattle Sounders FC fans often hold blue-and-green scarves aloft to show support for the team at CenturyLink Field.

Fans offered the same ardent support Aug. 29 for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust at Lake Sammamish State Park. The restoration team greeted Sounders forward David Estrada and midfielder Servando Carrasco as volunteers pulled invasive plants.

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Press Editorial

August 30, 2011

Volunteer opportunities abound in the fall

As summer and its busy weekends wind down, kids are back in school and life gets back to a routine. It’s time to think about new activities.

Fall might mean a new computer class or getting back into a fitness program, signing up the kids for extracurricular activities — or volunteering.

If a onetime commitment to volunteering is preferred, think about helping out at the Salmon Days Festival. Now, that’s fun! Did you know it takes nearly 500 volunteers to help out? Salmon Days is Oct. 1-2.

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Help Sounders FC restore Lake Sammamish State Park

August 23, 2011

Join Seattle Sounders FC players and Seattle Bank employees as they volunteer with the Mountains to Sound Greenway to clear invasive weeds from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 29 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Washington State Parks and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust are partnering together on the multiyear restoration of Lake Sammamish State Park. The park provides important habitat for several species of salmon, birds — including bald eagles, great blue herons and red-tailed hawks — amphibians, insects and other wildlife.

But recently the area has become extremely degraded by invasive weeds, including blackberry. In the past five years, volunteers have removed invasive species and re-established native plant communities throughout the park.

For this United We Serve event, Mountains to Sound will focus on clearing blackberry and other invasive species from around newly planted trees and shrubs to give these native plants a better chance at survival.

After a brief orientation and safety briefing, volunteers will dive into work along Issaquah Creek removing invasive weeds. The greenway trust will provide all of the tools, technical training and oversight for the projects — no experience is required.

Register for the event at www.SoundersFC.com. Search for “United We Serve” under the “Outreach” tab.

Mountains to Sound Greenway art exhibit launches in Issaquah

August 9, 2011

A total of 21 years have passed since the members of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club led the now well-known hike from Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle.

Since then, according to exhibition organizers, the landscape of Issaquah has been a key part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

With that in mind, Issaquah was picked to host the opening leg of the Mountains to Sound Greenway inaugural traveling photo exhibition.

The exhibition will feature 30 images of the greenway taken by people who live, work and play in the cities, towns, mountains and natural areas between Seattle and Eastern Washington.

The photos represent the work of amateur photographers of all ages and abilities.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway comes of age

July 26, 2011

Leaders nurture Interstate 90 greenbelt, acre by acre, year by year

Ken Konigsmark (left), a longtime Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust board member, and founding president Jim Ellis stand near North Bend on Rattlesnake Mountain in 2000 . By Greg Farrar

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

Issaquah, situated on the route, is not quite at the center, but the city is central in the long effort to create a greenbelt along the major roadway.

The idea for a conservation corridor along the interstate germinated in Issaquah more than 20 years ago. 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.

The disparate citizen, conservation, corporate and government interests behind the proposal coalesced to form the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in 1991. Supporters marched from Ellensburg to Seattle in early July to celebrate the 20-year milestone.

“The original vision was, what can we agree on to preserve what’s important to everyone along this corridor?” retired Issaquah City Administrator Leon Kos said.

The corridor stretches for 100 miles, connects 1.4 million acres — or a landmass about 15 times larger than Seattle — and includes more than 800,000 acres in public ownership.

The conservation is enmeshed in cooperation.

The organization is built to foster dialogue among divergent groups. Seattle civic leader Jim Ellis, founding president of the greenway trust, called on rivals to sit down at the same table to create the conservation corridor. So, representatives on the 58-member board include the Sierra Club and Weyerhaeuser Co.

Kos, a longtime greenway supporter and board member, said the Issaquah Alps Trail Club assumed a fundamental role early on.

“The community group that was really very instrumental was the Issaquah Alps Trails Club,” he said.

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FedEx delivers help to Lake Sammamish State Park

July 5, 2011

FedEx employees from Issaquah gathered at Lake Sammamish State Park on June 16 to help the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust restore important fish and wildlife habitat.

The employees donated time and elbow grease as part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and volunteer efforts in local communities through the EarthSmart program. The volunteers, clad in purple FedEx T-shirts, planted native vegetation. They work at a distribution center in a commercial area adjacent to the state park.

The effort is the latest collaboration between FedEx and the greenway. The organization received a $25,000 FedEx and National Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Partnership Grant in a special delivery June 6 to continue habitat restoration efforts in the 512-acre state park.

The greenway stretches along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington. The greenbelt links natural areas, farms, forests, communities, recreation opportunities and habitat for wildlife.

Through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, FedEx awarded grants to local nonprofit organizations in Seattle and 11 other cities across the United States.

20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

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