Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Cougar/Squak Corridor Park

Don’t Miss It This Saturday!

Join Save Squak, Issaquah Alps Trail Club, King County Parks, REI and Your Neighbors to Celebrate the Grand Opening of Cougar/Squak Corridor Park!

2015_squak_hiking

Saturday, June 6, 2015

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
10610 Renton Issaquah Rd SE (Hwy 900)
(The old Issaquah Camping Club)
Issaquah, WA

Celebrate National Trails Day

Join the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, Save Squak, Trust for Public Land, Washington Trails Association, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, the Nature Conservancy, King County Parks, REI and other organizations for a celebration of National Trails Day, at the grand opening of Cougar/Squak Corridor Park. Festivities begin at 9:30 a.m., and include an open house, plus a guided tour of a new hiking trail.

After a grassroots effort of area residents who formed Save Squak, led by Dave Kappler of the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, the proposed logging of Squak Mountain was averted when King County purchased 226 acres in the valley between Cougar and Squak mountains in 2014, with the help of The Trust for Public Land.

The new acreage has been added to existing public lands and creates a 730-acre Cougar/Squak Corridor Park that protects the headwaters of a salmon-bearing stream, and features deep forests, hiking trails and more.

King County Parks employees and volunteers have been busy preparing the new acreage for public use, including removing unwanted invasive vegetation and building new trails.

The park is located at 10610 Renton Issaquah Rd. SE, Issaquah. The June 6 open house features representatives from Washington Trails Association (WTA), Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (MTSGT), The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and REI.

Visitors will be invited to explore the lower portion of the park, tour Cougar/Squak Lodge in the park, and join guides from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club on a hike along the new Margaret’s Way Trail – a new, 2-1/2-mile-long trail that connects to trails in Squak Mountain State Park.

Stop by the Issaquah Alps Trail Club table and meet the folks who led the grassroots effort to stop the proposed logging of Squak Mountain and worked with the Washington Forest Law Center to challenge the logging permits until King County Executive Dow Constantine along with Council members Reagan Dunn and Larry Philips could act.

Built by local volunteers working with WTA, Student Conservation Association, AmeriCorps NCCC – Gold 7 and a King County Parks backcountry trails crew, the new trail honors Margaret MacLeod, a park planner for numerous local, state and federal agencies, whose long career resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of acres of land along Issaquah Creek and the Squak and Tiger mountain uplands.

Other activities include two “Ivy Out” events to dig out invasive ivy, coordinated by MTSGT and Seattle Works, plus an opportunity for family and youth to help WTA volunteers build trails.

King County Parks has begun a community engagement process to gather ideas from the public about uses and amenities at the park. Parks employees are working with a steering group and will host two community meetings on later this spring in Issaquah.

Schedule

9:30 a.m.       Community participants arrive to explore lower park area, visit organization tables

10:00 a.m.     Speeches on the steps in front of the lodge
King County Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett
King County Council Member Reagan Dunn and/or Kathy Lambert
Issaquah Alps Trails Club President & Save Squak Leader Dave Kappler
Kelly Heintz, Trail Dedicationi & Ribbon Cutting

10:30 a.m.     Guided Hikes, Self-Guided Park Tour and Volunteer Events

2:30 p.m.       Last guided hike departs

Issaquah Reporter: “Something to celebrate | Squak Mountain supporters come out to view part of the new land acquisition”

May 13, 2014, Issaquah Reporter: “Something to celebrate | Squak Mountain supporters come out to view part of the new land acquisition”

Excerpts from Linda Ball’s article on the May 10 celebration.

From left, Elizabeth, Esme and Jay McNally, with Ann Fletcher enjoying the hike on Squak Mountain. Peeking from behind Jay McNally is Oliver McNally. — image credit: Linda Ball/Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter

by LINDA BALL,  Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer

Outdoor enthusiasts, county officials, members of SaveSquak.com, representatives from the Trust for Public Lands and King County Parks officials gathered Saturday morning at the old lodge that was once part of the Issaquah Camping Club, to officially celebrate the acquisition of 226 acres into the King County Parks system.

Kevin Brown with King County Parks said the actual planning effort will begin later this year to improve the trails — some of which have been there over 20 years — and to figure out how to fold it into the open park space for Cougar and Tiger Mountains.

Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett was at the celebration instead of executive Dow Constantine, because Constantine and his wife had just welcomed a new baby the day before. Jarrett said the acquisition was one of Constantine’s goals.

“It’s about delivering value and adding to our public space,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett said this was brought together in record time, noting that there was a great deal of interest in preserving the land due to concerns of flooding from potential clear-cutting and development and also disturbing fish habitat and wildlife. Jarrett thanked King County’s Parks staff for making it possible for “all to enjoy for eternity.”

District 9 County Council member, Reagan Dunn, a key driver behind the acquisition, could not be present due to another obligation. Larry Phillips, who represents District 4 on the county council, said Tibbetts and May Creeks are very important salmon habitats, which they have had great success with. He said now they don’t have to worry about clear cuts filling up those streams.

The Trust for Public Lands, a national non-profit, played a key role in the acquisition. Roger Hoesterey, senior vice president and division director west, oversees the TPL’s conservation programs in every state west of the Rockies, including Alaska and Hawaii. During his time at TPL, the states he directs have conserved over a half million acres of land. TPL put up the money to buy the property from landowner Kurt Erickson. King County has repaid TPL for about half of the property, with plans to pay off the rest before the end of the year. The purchase price was $5 million.

Hoesterey thanked Erickson, who wasn’t there, saying that Erickson probably could have made more money if he’d logged and developed it. He said this property was a high priority.Hoesterey also thanked Save Squak.

“They did all the hard work,” he said. “We need the rabble-rousers.”

The final speaker was Dave Kappler, president of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, and one of the so-called rabble-rousers. He thanked members of the King County Council.

David Kappler, president of the Issaquah Trails Club speaks, while Kevin Brown with King County Parks looks on.

“We didn’t have a lot of meetings (Save Squak), but then Reagan Dunn showed up at Issaquah City Council,” Kappler said. “Larry Phillips has his name written over everything that’s green.”

Kappler said they were sort of out of their league on the whole thing.

“The people on Save Squak were great. They knew when to cool it when we needed to cool it,” he said.

….

Click here to read the complete article in the Issaquah Reporter.