State launches survey about forest recreation from Tiger Mountain to Mount Si

July 9, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. July 9, 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 Monday to collect input about future recreation opportunities on 53,000 acres in natural areas along the so-called Snoqualmie corridor in East King County. The survey closes July 31.

The survey is the latest effort in the ongoing planning process for the area. In February, officials held a public open house focused on the corridor.

The corridor — a quick jaunt from Seattle and fast-growing Eastside cities — is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers and more. Combined, the lands in the corridor form the largest network of natural areas in Washington.

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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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Department of Natural Resources urges Independence Day fire safety

June 28, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 28, 2012

Though rain dominated the early fire season, state Department of Natural Resources officials said a fire risk is still present, and Independence Day revelers should practice fire safety on state lands.

Discharing fireworks is illegal on Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah and all Department of Natural Resources-protected lands. In addition, a burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other Department of Natural Resources lands goes into effect July 1. The summertime ban runs through Sept. 30.

“The major wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico remind us how destructive they can be to our homes and lives,” state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “We urge everyone to exercise caution with any fire-related activities this holiday weekend.”

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Eastside Fire & Rescue burn ban starts June 15

June 5, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is reminding residents about the heightened risk for fires in the drier days ahead.

The agency is due to impose a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. Though a rain-soaked spring may make such a moratorium seem unnecessary, summer brings a heightened risk for fires. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For summertime cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit. Other fires require a burn permit from EFR. Call 313-3200.

Fires cannot be larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Use only dry, seasoned wood to fuel recreational fires.

The flames must be contained inside a barbecue pit, fire ring or a portable fireplace. Importantly, only vegetation can be burned.

Burning to clear land is permanently banned in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Firewise and EFR offer information for homeowners to create defensible spaces around residences at www.firewise.org and www.eastsidefire-rescue.org.

In addition to the EFR moratorium, the state Department of Natural Resources imposes a summer burn ban in Tiger Mountain State Forest and other forestlands July 1. The state ban ends Sept. 30.

Eastside Fire & Rescue summer burn ban starts June 15

June 3, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 3, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is reminding residents about the heightened risk for fires accompanies in the drier days ahead.

The agency is due to impose a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. Though a rain-soaked spring may make such a moratorium seem unnecessary, summer brings a heightened risk for fires. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For summertime cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit.

Fires cannot be larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Use only dry, seasoned wood to fuel recreational fires.

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Use fire safety tips for a safe Memorial Day weekend

May 25, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. May 25, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources urges people headed outdoors for Memorial Day weekend to help prevent wildland fires.

Though temperatures remain on the cool side, the extended holiday weekend attracts a higher-than-average number of visitors to forests, raising wildfire concerns. Firefighters have responded to 51 wildland fires so in 2012.

“We want everyone to enjoy their Memorial Day weekend, while being safe and taking simple steps to prevent an accidental wildfire,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “An escaped campfire can threaten lives, property, and drain scarce tax dollars.”

Help prevent wildfires by clearing debris around campfire pits and using a shovel and water to completely extinguish campfires. The state urges people to be cautious and only build campfires in approved pits in designated areas.

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State burn ban starts on Tiger Mountain, forestlands July 1

May 15, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources reminds people spending summer days on state lands to adhere to a statewide burn ban in effect from July 1 until Sept. 30.

The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington, including Tiger Mountain State Forest, except for federal lands. The summertime moratorium is intended to reduce wildfire risk.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning, including already permitted burns, but carries some exceptions:

  • Users can build recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.
  • Department of Natural Resources-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health, when enhancement and restoration by prescribed fire can only be accomplished during the ban.

The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbecues is allowed under the ban. Fireworks remain illegal on Department of Natural Resources-protected lands.

Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails open

April 24, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources opened Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails for the season April 14.

The opening includes the Iverson Railroad Grade, Northwest Timber and Preston Railroad Grade trails. The routes offer popular mountain biking opportunities for riders from Issaquah and the Central Puget Sound area.

Though the trails opened for the season, road closures could affect recreation opportunities on Tiger Mountain.

On weekdays in April, crews plan to install culverts. The installation could prompt closures on the Main Tiger Mountain #4000 forest road and cause delays for outdoors enthusiasts using the road. Come mid-summer, crews plan to install a vehicle bridge on the West Side #1000 forest road. Officials said the project should require the closure of Iverson Railroad Trail for a few days.

Due to a heavy winter snowpack, the planned mountain bike trail in the East Tiger Mountain area is not likely to open until mid-summer. The state agency and the nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance collaborated on the East Tiger Summit Trail project. Completion depends on volunteer labor.

The agency offers volunteer opportunities at Tiger Mountain and other state lands. Learn more at www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/Topics/OtherRecreationInformation/Pages/dnr_volunteer_program_recreation.aspx.

Issaquah Alps Trails Club aims to get edgier, hipper — and younger

April 17, 2012

Despite its adventurous name, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club looks more like your local Lions Club.

“Most of the club members are getting pretty long in the tooth,” said board member George Potter, 63. “The average age of our board is almost 70.”

The graying of this grass roots hiking-and-environmental advocacy group has spawned a new goal: to get younger, edgier and hipper, if only for its very survival.

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State opens Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails

April 11, 2012

NEW — 1:50 p.m. April 11, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources plans to open Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails for the season Saturday.

The opening includes the Iverson Railroad Grade, Northwest Timber and Preston Railroad Grade trails. The routes offer popular mountain biking opportunities for riders from Issaquah and the Central Puget Sound area.

Though the trails open for the season Saturday, road closures could affect recreation opportunities on Tiger Mountain.

On weekdays in April, crews plan to install culverts. The installation could prompt closures on the Main Tiger Mountain #4000 forest road and cause delays for outdoors enthusiasts using the road. Come mid-summer, crews plan to install a vehicle bridge on the West Side #1000 forest road. Officials said the project should require the closure of Iverson Railroad Trail for a few days.

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