Experience natural wonders in Washington’s national places

June 28, 2012

The landscape surrounding Mount St. Helens reflects signs of destruction from the 1980 eruption and the return of life to the blast zone. By Matthew Staerk

Splendor is not limited to Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier dominates the landscape in Western Washington. The active volcano is unparalleled as a natural icon for the region — Mount Rainier even appeared on the state quarter — but the peak is not the only nearby national treasure.

Landscapes in the shadow of Mount Rainier and farther afield deserve attention, too.

Spaces set aside for conservation and recreation — national parks, national forests, national recreation areas, even a national volcanic monument — stretch from British Columbia to the Columbia River.

Discover the signature mountain and, along the way, a handful of other national treasures.
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What’s your Issaquah IQ?

June 28, 2012

So, you think you know Issaquah? Is the city just another buttoned-up suburb? Nope. Issaquah is home to more than 30,000 people — and more than a century of secrets. Issaquah anecdotes stretch deep into the past and continue into the 21st century. Look beyond the basics to discover tidbits and trivia.

Test your Issaquah IQ. (Scroll to the bottom to check the answers, but please, no cheating!)

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How to survive summer vacation

June 28, 2012

The summer months have arrived.

School is out, the anticipation of summer weather is almost too much to bear, and now you’re ready to head outdoors and enjoy it.

But wait! Before you head out the door, there are summer hazards to be aware of and ways to make sure you stay safe.

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What is the Mountains to Sound Greenway?

June 28, 2012

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

The greenbelt represents decades of effort to protect the natural landscape along the interstate, even as Issaquah and other Eastside cities experienced a population explosion in recent years.

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.

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Puget Sound Energy project means lane closures

June 28, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 28, 2012

Motorists should prepare for lane closures near Lake Sammamish throughout the summer as Puget Sound Energy relocates power poles and lines.

Crews plan to start work July 2. Plans call for relocation of power poles and underground and overhead power lines on West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast between the Interstate 90 roundabout near Sunset Elementary and Southeast 34th Street in Bellevue.

The work makes way for a transportation project along West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. Crews should start working on the transportation upgrade in the fall.

The effort is meant to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists by providing a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail along the west side of West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and a 4-foot-wide shoulder on the east side. Crews plan to restore the existing pavement.

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King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

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King County deputies start safety patrols on regional trails

June 26, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies started fanning out on regional trails June 2 in a summertime safety exercise.

Deputies patrol stretches of regional trails across King County to provide trail users with information about proper conduct, including posted speed limits, leash laws and other rules.

“Trail use increases when the school year ends and summer weather begins, so now is the right time to remind everyone about the basic rules of conduct,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said.

Deputies patrol the trails on bicycles and on foot, and could issue either a warning or fine for observed violations. Some of the most frequent observed violations include cyclists and other wheeled trail users exceeding the trail system’s 15 mph speed limit, failure to follow pet leash laws and alcohol use.

The enhanced enforcement effort is scheduled to continue along portions of trails through Labor Day weekend.

The program cost is estimated at about $20,000, and is funded through the King County Parks budget.

King County plans summer timber harvest near Issaquah

June 12, 2012

King County announced June 1 a summer timber harvest on Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

The planned harvest encompasses about 66 acres in the 1,845-acre forest. Officials said the harvest includes poor-quality maple, and overmature and dying alder trees. Plans call for crews to then plant a mix of Western red cedar, Douglas fir and Western hemlock.

Officials said most of the conifers within the identified harvest area should not be cut, except for trees severely infected with root rot.

Eatonville-based Erickson Logging Inc. is conducting the harvest operation. The timber sale is expected to generate $75,000 for county officials to manage forestland.

The activity is expected to start in June or early July, depending on rainfall, and should last up to six weeks.

Hikers should prepare for a closure along a portion of Holder Creek Trail through the harvest area. Crews expect to reroute the trail after the harvest.

The county plans to post signs about the trail closure along the trail network and at the Holder Creek parking area along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, south of the state Route 18 interchange.

King County plans summer timber harvest near Issaquah

June 4, 2012

NEW — 11:30 a.m. June 4, 2012

King County announced June 1 a summer timber harvest on Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

The planned harvest encompasses about 66 acres in the 1,845-acre forest. Officials said the harvest includes poor-quality maple, and overmature and dying alder trees. Plans call for crews to then plant a mix of Western red cedar, Douglas fir and Western hemlock, depending on specific site conditions.

Officials said most of the conifers within the identified harvest area should not be cut, except for trees severely infected with root rot.

Eatonville-based Erickson Logging, Inc. is conducting the harvest operation. The sale of harvested logs is expected to generate $75,000 for county officials to manage forestland.

The activity is expected to start in June or early July, depending on rainfall, and should last up to six weeks.

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Proposed Cougar Mountain subdivision comes under review

May 29, 2012

Talus residents questioned plans to build 24 homes on a steep Cougar Mountain hillside downhill from the neighborhood, as the City Council considers a pact to allow the project to proceed.

A Kirkland developer applied to build the homes on a half-dozen acres near the Talus urban village, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900. The location raised concerns among some Talus residents about possible impacts to street parking and increased landslide risk.

The council scheduled a public hearing for June 4 to collect input on the proposed subdivision, Forest Heights, as members consider a development agreement to allow the project to continue.

The council is not expected to reach a decision after the public hearing. The proposed development agreement could reach the council for action in early July.

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