Final Cougar Mountain trail run offers 20-mile, 50-kilometer races

October 23, 2012

Organizers of the popular SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park have saved the toughest day of racing for last.

After runs of five, eight, 10 and 13 miles earlier this year, trail-run enthusiasts will have their choice of participating in races of 20 miles or 50 kilometers (31.06 miles) Oct. 28.

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Citizens can comment on proposed Grand Ridge trailhead

September 18, 2012

King County parks planners asked the public for input on a proposed trailhead facility to add access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest near Preston.

The county Parks and Recreation Division is hosting a public meeting on the proposal Sept. 27.

The meeting includes a public question and comment period. Staffers intend to provide a summary of comments received to date, plus information about possible access and road improvements.

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Planners seek public input on proposed Grand Ridge trailhead

September 13, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 13, 2012

King County parks planners asked the public for input on a proposed trailhead facility to add access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest near Preston.

The county Parks and Recreation Division is hosting a public meeting on the proposal from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. The meeting includes a public question and comment period.

Citizens can also submit comments to the county through Oct. 12.

Officials said developed access to Grand Ridge Park and Mitchell Hill Forest is limited to two locations meant to serve only Grand Ridge Park.

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City Council approves controversial Cougar Mountain subdivision

September 11, 2012

City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.

Stacy Goodman

In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.

The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.

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Leaders laud land program for 30 years of conservation

August 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 28, 2012

King County leaders highlighted the program used to preserve 111,000 acres of farmland, forests, parks and open space countywide, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

In a recognition Monday, King County Council members marked 30 years of milestones in the Conservation Futures Program — a long-term effort to expand and maintain a open space.

In 1982, King County became the first county in the state to use Conservation Futures Funds. Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“It is important to preserve our open and natural spaces for recreation and reflection on our environmental heritage,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement.

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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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Offer input on Park Pointe trail proposal

August 21, 2012

Citizens can offer input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing 101 acres near Issaquah High School.

The public can comment on the proposal to the Park Board at 7 p.m. Aug. 27. The board meets at the Issaquah Trails House, 110 Bush St. Read the draft trail plan for Park Pointe at http://bit.ly/LSmlum.

Once the Park Board listens to public comment, members intend to develop a recommendation for Mayor Ava Frisinger and city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill. Frisinger and McGill then intend to finalize a plan for the site.

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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Park Pointe trail plan needs public input

August 7, 2012

City leaders have put out a call for additional citizen input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest long considered for development but set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing 101 acres near Issaquah High School.

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Experience the journey, not the destination on May Valley trail to Central Peak hike

August 7, 2012

Out-of-place among the trees, this stone fireplace  is all that remains of the Bullitt family homestead. By Lillian Tucker

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.

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