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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Residents support bond for parks, pool

July 31, 2012

Conservation to protect wildlife habitat and creekside land is a priority for Issaquah residents, more so than other parks and recreation projects.

The information comes from a survey commissioned by city leaders as the initial step in a process to pass a multimillion-dollar bond measure to fund future parks projects. Data from the survey also addressed a bold proposal to create a special taxing district in the Issaquah School District to fund upgrades to the aging Julius Boehm Pool.

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Conservation Futures Program celebrates 30 years

July 31, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space is turning 30, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

In the past 30 years, county officials used $300 million in Conservation Futures Program funds and more than $150 million in matching funds to preserve land, including the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park near Issaquah.

Overall, program dollars enabled the county to conserve 108,600 acres countywide, add 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways, and protect 4,700 acres of watershed and salmon habitat.

Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems and preserved beautiful open space for us — and future generations — to enjoy,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

The county and open space partners also launched a website, www.kingcounty.gov/conservationfutures, to explain the program’s history.

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County leader celebrates 30 years of conservation

July 23, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. July 23, 2012

The program instrumental in conserving Cougar Mountain as permanent open space turns 30 in 2012, and outdoors enthusiasts planned a local event to celebrate the milestone.

In the last 30 years, county officials used $300 million in Conservation Futures Program funds and more than $150 million in matching funds to preserve land, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park near Issaquah. Overall, Conservation Futures Program dollars enabled the county to conserve 108,600 acres countywide, add 3,200 acres of urban parks and greenways, and protect 4,700 acres of watershed and salmon habitat.

Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with Conservation Futures Program funds.

“Through the commitment of residents and leaders over the past three decades, we have built a legacy of working forestlands and farms, linked trail systems and preserved beautiful open space for us — and future generations — to enjoy,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

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City seeks input on Tiger Mountain’s Park Pointe trails

July 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2012

City leaders put out a call Wednesday for 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 about 100 acres near Issaquah High School.

The city acquired the land in a complex transfer of development rights, and the agreement included stipulations about land use. Though low-impact recreational use is OK, for instance, public access cannot conflict with conservation.

The public can offer comments on the draft trail plan July 23 as the advisory board discusses Park Pointe. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

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Landowners can receive tax incentives for creating public trail links

July 17, 2012

Landowners could receive tax incentives for allowing public access to trails to link to points of interest and existing public trails.

In a decision June 11, King County Council members approved implementation strategies to expand trail linkages through a program created in October 2010. The program expands the Public Benefit Rating System — a program for private landowners to receive incentives to conserve and protect land resources and open space.

“With more people throughout King County using trails for recreation and transportation, finding low-cost options for increasing access and connections to our trail system makes sense, especially for taxpayers,” Councilman Larry Phillips, trail legislation sponsor, said in a statement.

The system program provides incentives to encourage landowners to conserve land. In return for preserving and managing resources, the land is assessed at a value consistent with “current use” rather than the “highest and best use.”

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State seeks input on forest recreation from Tiger Mountain to Mount Si

July 17, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is asking outdoors enthusiasts from Issaquah to Snoqualmie and beyond to offer input on recreation planning for the forests stretched between Tiger Mountain and Mount Si.

The agency launched a survey July 9 to collect input about future recreation opportunities on 53,000 acres in natural areas along the so-called Snoqualmie corridor in East King County.

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Meet ‘Wild Roads Washington’ author Seabury Blair Jr. at Costco

July 10, 2012

Readers can meet the author of “Wild Roads Washington: 80 Scenic Drives to Camping, Hiking Trails and Adventures” in Issaquah soon.

The author, former Kitsap Sun outdoors columnist Seabury Blair Jr., is due to appear at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., from 5-7 p.m. July 17 to sign the book.

The guidebook leads readers off the beaten path and along forest roads to experience the lush landscape of Washington. Readers can learn about 75 roads across the Evergreen State, as Blair outlines hikes stemming from each route.

Some roads in the book meander close to civilization, and others journey far into the wilderness.

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