August 6, 2013
Washington State Parks announced July 31 that campfires are banned in all state parks until further notice.
The ban is to help prevent human-caused wildfires during the hot, dry season on both sides of the Cascade Mountains. For the Issaquah area, this affects both Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain state parks.
August 2, 2013
NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 2, 2013
Washington State Parks has announced that campfires are banned in all state parks until further notice.
The ban is to help prevent human-cause wildfires during the hot, dry season on both sides of the Cascade Mountains. For the Issaquah area, this affects both Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain state parks.
Campers may still use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use, propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes, propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base, and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.
This ban follows a similar ban by the Department of Natural Resources, which has fire protection responsibility of about 50 percent of state park lands.
May 28, 2013
The day-use parking area of Squak Mountain State Park will be closed until late summer or early fall, according to a news release from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
Forest health issues have been identified in the park. Native tree pathogens, primarily laminated root rot, are attacking Douglas-fir trees in developed areas. The disease, which affects the roots and lower stems of certain conifer tree species, has the potential to cause healthy-looking trees to fall without warning.
February 8, 2013
NEW — 12:05 p.m. Feb. 8, 2013
High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.
Since a timber company purchased the forest and started the process to permit logging on the site, conservationists and nearby residents mobilized to fight the proposal to clear cut the land. The logging opponents said cutting trees on the land could lead to more flooding downhill, damage sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and add a timber harvest site near conservation lands.
The proposal from Eatonville-based Erickson Logging to harvest timber on 216 acres on the mountainside above Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast galvanized residents on Squak Mountain and near May Creek, a destination for runoff from the mountain.
January 15, 2013
NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013
Washingtonians can observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Lake Sammamish State Park and other state facilities, Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state forestlands, or in national forests and parks.
Officials at the agencies responsible for state and national public lands waived admission fees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.
Visitors do not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks, including Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain near Issaquah.
Mount Rainier National Park waived entrance fees to the 235,625-acre park. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is waiving fees at more than 74 day-use sites in the forest.
Throughout the year, state and national parks waive entrance fees to promote outdoor recreation.
November 23, 2012
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012
State agencies encourage holiday shoppers to consider a Discover Pass as a gift for family and friends interested in the outdoors.
Officials added a feature recently to allow purchasers to choose the pass’ start date. The option is available to customers who purchasing the pass at www.discoverpass.wa.gov, or in person from authorized retailers through the Washington Interactive Licensing Database, or WILD, system.
The pass is available in Issaquah at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Fred Meyer and Sports Authority.
The buyer can activate the pass immediately or on any day within one year of purchase.
State legislators passed the option into law in 2012 to allow greater flexibility to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, including people interested in giving the pass as a gift.
November 6, 2012
Residents can explore the outdoors for free as state and national parks waive entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12.
Lake Sammamish, Squak Mountain and other state parks do not require a Discover Pass during the holiday weekend. The waiver also applies to lands run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources, including Tiger Mountain State Forest.
The fee waiver encompasses all 398 national parks — including Washington’s Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks.
October 23, 2012
Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.
The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.
The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.
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.
August 7, 2012
If it’s a few hours of fresh air free of people and noise pollution you want, but you aren’t willing to chug up the Interstate 90 corridor, then the May Valley Loop could be just the ticket.
“It’s really beautiful. I like that it’s not a crowded hike,” Debbie Simmons said.
She lives nearby in High Valley and often walks her Bernese mountain dog Rogue around the trail system of Squak Mountain, one of the lesser-visited triplets better known as the Issaquah Alps. “Rogue likes that it’s shaded most of the way.”
It doesn’t take long to reach the shade, where even on a hot day in mid-July the air along the trail is cool under the high-reaching big leaf maples. After parking at the Squak Mountain State Park entrance off Southeast May Valley Road, follow the only trailhead, which has a sign for Squak Mountain Trail.