King County seeks trail photos for new regional trail map

March 25, 2014

King County Parks has launched a search for the best photo taken from anywhere on its regional trail system.

The winning photo will become the cover of the Regional Trails in King County map when it is reprinted in September, and will remain on the cover for at least the following six months.

Submitted contest photos should convey trail users’ experiences along the King County regional trail system, whether the photos are taken while commuting along the Burke-Gilman Trail through Lake Forest Park, rollerblading along the Cedar River Trail near Maple Valley or during a long walk with a dog along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail outside Carnation.

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County seeks photos for new regional trail map

March 4, 2014

King County Parks has launched a search for the best photo taken from anywhere on its regional trail system.

The winning photo will become the cover of the Regional Trails in King County map when it is reprinted in September, and will remain on the cover for at least the following six months.

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Renamed Whittaker trail honors American climbing legend

October 1, 2013

It may not be Mount Everest, but it’s still an honor.

King County Executive Dow Constantine stood with the first American to climb Earth’s tallest mountain to unveil new names for the Wilderness Peak Trail that winds its way up the southeastern side of Cougar Mountain Sept. 26.

Jim Whittaker, a Seattle native, whipped the burlap off the wooden signs that led the way to the new Jim Whittaker Wilderness Peak Trail and the Nawang Gombu Wilderness Cliffs Trail, named after Whittaker’s Sherpa, who braved all 29,000 feet with him. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the historic ascent. A year later, Gombu climbed to the summit again, becoming the first person to make the trip twice.

On a simple wooden bridge, extending over a calm stream, Tibetan prayer flags flapped as Constantine praised Whittaker and Gombu’s bravery.

By Peter Clark Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

By Peter Clark
Jim Whittaker (right) kisses a picture of his deceased Sherpa partner Nawang Gombu as King County Executive Dow Constantine shares the moment. The two unveiled the new names of trails on Cougar Mountain after Whittaker and Gombu, who climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway, REI leader is choice for Cabinet

February 6, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

REI leader Sally Jewell, a leader in the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, is President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. interior secretary.

Jewell is Kent-based REI’s president and CEO, in addition to serving as a board member for the nonprofit organization underpinning the greenway — a 100-mile greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington.

Obama announced Jewell’s appointment Wednesday at a White House ceremony. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she is poised to succeed outgoing Department of the Interior chief Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado.

“Sally Jewell is a respected leader and passionate advocate for conservation, recreation and outdoor education,” Cynthia Welti, greenway trust executive director, said in a statement. “We are delighted with this news. Sally will serve our country well.”

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Eastside Audubon offers giftwrapping at REI

December 18, 2012

Eastside Audubon brings its holiday giftwrap service to the REI, 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd.

Volunteers from Eastside Audubon will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 21-24 to wrap REI purchases into presents ready to take home and put under the tree. Suggested donations will range from $3 to $9, depending on package size.

Donations raised by the giftwrapping service helps support Eastside Audubon’s programs in wildlife conservation and youth education. Those programs include habitat restoration on the Audubon BirdLoop at Marymoor Park and classroom presentations about birds and bird behavior for school-aged children.

Governor urges Congress to require online businesses to collect sales tax

November 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 27, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire urged Congress on Monday — Cyber Monday, the largest online shopping day all year — to require online businesses to collect sales tax.

The governor said Washington businesses face unfair competition from online and mail-order retailers that fail to collect sales taxes. Gregoire said Congress should address the issue by passing legislation to treat out-of-state sellers the same as local businesses.

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act aims to give states the option to collect sales and use tax revenues from out-of-state sellers. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the bill a year ago.

Congress is now reconvening to address expiring tax provisions and the looming “fiscal cliff” crisis. Gregoire said the focus on taxation issues is a good opportunity to address the online sales tax legislation.

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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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FootZone closes local store, but hints at possible relocation

June 5, 2012

FootZone, a destination for runners and walkers, closed June 1 after 13 years in Issaquah.

The store operated in the Issaquah Commons shopping center near Safeway and REI.

In a post on the store’s website, the staff announced plans to eventually relocate to another space in Issaquah, once the right location becomes available. In the meantime, former shoppers at the Issaquah store can head to FootZone locations in Bellevue and Redmond.

The other stores plan to honor family plans and frequent buyer cards from the Issaquah location.

“After over 13 years, it is with a heavy heart that we have closed the Issaquah FootZone,” the staff wrote in the website post. “We want to thank all of you for supporting us over the years. It has been an honor to build relationships and get to know all of you over the years.”

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.

City, businesses celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18

May 15, 2012

City leaders, local businesses and the Cascade Bicycle Club invite bicyclists to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18.

The city is hosting a Salmon Friendly Commute Bike Station at the corner of state Route 900 and Northwest Sammamish Road from 6-10 a.m. Bicyclists can load up on snacks and water bottles to help fuel their trips.

Pacific Bicycle Co., a Sammamish bike shop, also plans to be on hand to do small repairs and answer questions.

Then, REI, Costco and the city plan to host a barbecue for bicyclists at Lake Sammamish State Park’s rotunda picnic area from 4-6 p.m.

May is National Bike Month.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free through May 18. The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

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