Teens, enter digital media contest for hiking safety awareness

July 31, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. July 31, 2013

Safe Kids Snohomish County, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Service and the Washington Trails Association have created “Teens on Trail,” a contest to promote hiking safety.

Teens from throughout the state have the chance to win a backpack filled with the 10 hiking essentials, including a map, compass and thorough first aid kit. The entry for the contest can be a photo, video, sound clip or animation about teenagers and hiking safety.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 young people are treated in emergency departments for outdoor recreational injuries. Of those, 51.5 percent are between the ages of 10 and 14.

The submission deadline for “Teens on Trail” is Sept. 30. Entrants must be between ages 10 and 18. Learn more here.

Learn more about the “Ten Essentials” of hiking here.

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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Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 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.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“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.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

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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Join hike, barbecue to celebrate Grand Ridge Park milestone

April 3, 2012

The effort to link the High Point Trail to Duthie Hill Park on the Sammamish Plateau consumed almost a decade and more than 40,000 hours from Washington Trails Association volunteers.

The public is invited to join King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association on April 5 to celebrate the yearslong push to complete the trail connection. Citizens can join a hike through Grand Ridge Park and a barbecue at Duthie Hill Park.

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Volunteers complete Grand Ridge Park boardwalk

March 6, 2012

The boardwalk in Grand Ridge Park is complete, after more than 4,600 hours donated by volunteers.

Washington Trails Association volunteers added the last spike to the 600-foot-long boardwalk Feb. 24. The boardwalk is the last link the trail. The trail network connects King County-run Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill parks.

The completion marked a milestone for the organization. Washington Trails Association volunteers spent a decade building and upgrading the 9.5-mile trail network inside the park. The group joined the effort to complete a 40-foot-long footbridge near on the park’s main trail in 2010.

Grand Ridge Park — a 1,200-acre park featuring groves of Western red cedars — rises 1,100 feet in elevation above Issaquah along Interstate 90.

The trails organization and King County Parks enjoy a long partnership. Washington Trails Association volunteers provide about 10,000 hours of service on backcountry trail projects in county parks each year.

Washington Trails Association hosts youth work party on Tiger Mountain

February 21, 2012

The Washington Trails Association is organizing an all-youth, volunteer work party to help repair the Tiger Mountain Trail near Issaquah.

Intended for those ages 13-18, the event begins at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Tiger Mountain trailhead. Participants must sign up in advance.

One-day trail work parties are designed to provide a unique opportunity for younger volunteers to learn about trail maintenance and the trails in their communities while meeting other like-minded youths, according to a press release from the trails association.

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Tiger Mountain hike launches statewide trails fundraiser

August 2, 2011

Lace Thornberg, Mickey Weinrich and Pam Roy (from left) start a month of Hike-a-Thon trips with a five-mile roundtrip West Tiger 3 hike Aug. 1 at the High Point Trailhead. By Greg Farrar

The long trek across the Evergreen State started just after dawn on Tiger Mountain.

The nonprofit Washington Trails Association launched Hike-a-Thon, a monthlong fundraiser to protect and maintain trails, at the High Point Trailhead near Issaquah just after 6 a.m. Aug. 1.

In the month ahead, more than 100 hikers plan to climb, ramble and slog across mountains, coasts and other scenic destinations.

“Tiger Mountain is the perfect place for people who work in Issaquah and Redmond and Seattle to just head out before work, get on the trail, get some exercise, get their hearts pumping before that long workweek,” association Development Director Rebecca Lavigne said.

Lace Thornberg, hike leader and Washington Trails magazine editor, said the early morning Tiger Mountain hike offered a chance for participants to jumpstart Hike-a-Thon.

“This 6 a.m. guided hike is our way of helping these awesome folks get their Hike-a-Thon campaigns started with a bang,” she said. “Before 9 a.m., when they head off to work on Monday, these hikers will already have five miles under their boots for their Hike-a-Thon campaigns. That’s pretty cool.”

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Monthlong Hike-a-Thon to launch at High Point Trailhead

July 28, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. July 28, 2011

Hikers plan to rise and shine not long after dawn Monday — and then hike all month long — to help the Washington Trails Association preserve and maintain trails across the Evergreen State.

The nonprofit organization’s annual Hike-a-Thon is scheduled to launch at 6 a.m. Monday at the High Point Trailhead near Issaquah. Hikers can register at the organization’s website or call 206-625-1367. Registration is $15 and includes a T-shirt.

“This 6 a.m. guided hike is our way of helping these awesome folks get their Hike-a-Thon campaigns started with a bang,” Lace Thornberg, hike leader and Washington Trails magazine editor, said in a news release. “Before 9 a.m., when they head off to work on Monday, these hikers will already have five miles under their boots for their Hike-a-Thon campaigns. That’s pretty cool.”

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The path less traveled leads to the top of beautiful Cedar Butte

July 26, 2011

A sign directs hikers to hang a right and up the hill from the Saddle Junction along the Cedar Butte Trail. Photos by Christopher Huber

If it weren’t for a few persistent hikers or devoted volunteer stewards, the Cedar Butte trail might not get any traffic.

Considered an unofficial trail by the Washington Trails Association, the relatively well-worn path gets just enough use and has just enough signage to provide hikers a clear way to the top. But it’s not nearly as popular as hikes across the Snoqualmie Valley, like Little Si, Rattlesnake Ledge and others, so someone walking the trail in the middle of a weekday might have the place all to themselves.

One seeking to traverse the Cedar River watershed via the Cedar Butte Trail will have to first walk about a mile up the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, a well-kept, recently re-opened walking and biking trail that connects Olallie and Iron Horse state parks with the recently re-opened Snoqualmie Train Tunnel 21 miles east at Hyak.

This trail is family-friendly and makes for a quiet half-day family outing for anyone visiting Rattlesnake Lake.

The Cedar Butte Trail itself stems from the larger, gravel John Wayne trail. From the parking lot, walk past the bathrooms, hang a right, following signage to the John Wayne trail. Hang a left up the gravel access path and at the main trail, take another left, at the Iron Horse State Park sign that lists mileage to other destinations.

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