December 11, 2012
Our state park needs passionate ‘friends’
Lake Sammamish State Park needs a group of passionate people to come together as Friends of Our State Park. Both leaders and roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers are wanted.
The state park has had a plan in place for five years. That plan would add an esplanade between the picnic and beach areas for walkers to access a new bathhouse, a boathouse for kayaks and rowing shells, a lakefront café, improved group sites, environmental educational components throughout, an RV and tent park, a lodge to host youth or adult groups for overnights or meetings, and much cleaner beach and grassy areas.
A citizen group met for three years to come up with the plan, and design work was completed for the esplanade and bathhouse. It was to have been done by 2013, in time for the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks.
December 11, 2012
NEW — 5 p.m. Dec. 11, 2012
State officials laid the groundwork Monday for a community organization to support Lake Sammamish State Park as residents met to consider lifelines for the cash-strapped park.
Issaquah and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission officials collected information from attendees for a possible community organization to support the park, and listened to ideas about the facility at a Tibbetts Creek Manor open house.
The event, hosted by the city and state parks agency, launched a discussion about future ventures at Lake Sammamish State Park and what residents hope to see on the park’s 512 acres.
In 2007, state parks commissioners approved a bold plan to remake and restore the park, but the economic downturn and state budget crises curtailed dollars to implement the plan.
December 4, 2012
Lake Sammamish State Park, a 512-acre urban oasis surrounded by Issaquah and a destination long overdue for a makeover, is in the spotlight again as city and state officials seek residents’ ideas for the park’s future.
Issaquah and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission leaders scheduled a Dec. 10 open house about the state park. The event is meant to restart the conversation about options for the park, including a stalled plan approved in 2007 and meant to guide upgrades to aging facilities and the expansion of recreation opportunities.
Options to revive the plan could include a partnership between the state parks agency, city and a nonprofit organization to help the park. The state parks agency is also open to commercial ventures on parkland as a potential way to generate funds for the facility.
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.
July 24, 2012
The agency responsible for state parks needs a winter sports enthusiast to serve on the Washington State Winter Recreation Advisory Committee.
The position is for a nonmotorized recreationist, such as a cross-country skier, snowshoer, dog musher or skijorer from King County. Nominations must be received by July 31 and the appointment starts Oct. 1.
The committee reviews vital issues and advises the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission on program policy and funding priorities for snow removal, trail grooming, sanitation, education and enforcement.
The winter recreation program manages more than 3,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 300 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and more than 120 Sno-Parks — plowed parking areas near snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.
Contact the program at email@example.com; P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650; or through the Washington Telecommunications Relay Service at 800-833-6388 toll free, to request applications and submit nominations. Call 360-902-8684 to learn more about the nomination process.
July 3, 2012
Issaquah and the state parks agency have agreed to coordinate efforts to create a better future for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park.
The city could someday shoulder some responsibilities to maintain the state park, but the initial agreement between Issaquah and the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission is light on specifics.
The pact approved by the City Council in a unanimous decision June 18 calls for the city and state parks agency to “explore opportunities to improve community use” of park facilities, seek out funding to improve the park and dedicate staffers to develop recommendations for the park.
The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, is in effect through June 2013. The council decision did not allocate any funding to the park project.
“I’m delighted to see this partnership that we’ve had with Lake Sammamish State Park over the years continue in a more formal way,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.
The effort, spearheaded by councilwomen Eileen Barber and Stacy Goodman, stemmed from a 2011 council retreat to set goals for 2012.
June 7, 2012
NEW — 8 a.m. June 7, 2012
Forget the Discover Pass.
Washington state parks, alongside national parks, offer free entry Saturday for National Get Outdoors Day, a chance to experience outdoor recreation areas at no cost.
So, visitors headed to Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain state parks in the Issaquah area do not need a Discover Pass to enter. Similarly, the entrance fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks — and all other national parks in Washington and from coast to coast — is waived.
Washington boasts more than 100 developed state parks, from majestic Deception Pass State Park to the old-growth forest of Lewis & Clark State Park.
The state also hosts 13 national park sites under National Park Service administration.
May 29, 2012
The agency responsible for Washington state parks is posing questions to citizens.
Should the state parks system operate more like a hospitality industry, a public conservation asset based mostly on grant and tax funding or a system of parks operating as community nonprofit entities? What do people enjoy about their park system? What improvements need to be made?
Citizens can offer answers to the questions as the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission starts a broad public outreach effort.
Officials plan to use the input to create a strategy to guide the parks system.
Participants at the public meetings can listen as parks staff members present a “state of state parks” report and ask for ideas and comments about visions for the future.
The meeting closest to Issaquah is scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. June 6 at the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services office, 900 Oakdale Ave. S.W., Renton.
Find public comments, questions and suggestions received about the future of state parks at www.parks.wa.gov/Beyond2013 as the process proceeds.
Individuals, groups and organizations interested in joining the email list for updates regarding the planning process should email Strategic.Planning@parks.wa.gov.