Welcome to the Save Squak Website

A¬†website created to share information about proposed logging and development of Squak Mountain in Issaquah, Washington. Please post your comments, concerns¬†and questions! Also, ‘like’ our page at Facebook.com/SaveSquak and follow us on Twitter.com/SaveSquak.

17 thoughts on “Welcome to the Save Squak Website

  1. So, what does everyone think about the potential logging of the old Issaquah Camping Club (220 acres on the SW side of Squak Mountain)?

    I live downhill from this site and the May Valley flooding is already out of control. If this land is clear-cut, things are going to get worse. Please look at the documents under the “Press Release” tab and contact those elected officials.

    • This area would be a great addition to Squak-Cougar Connector, with different terrain and exposure than others part of the park.

    • Ideally we will get a trailhead on the Squak side of SR900. With this property as part of the Cougar-Squak corridor some great looping trail options could become available.

    • I read thru some of the current info regarding this tree killing project.
      The Department of Natural Resources seems to take a pro-logging position with their comment that increased flooding would come from roads, not logging. Here is why I think this is wrong…
      1. The trees mitigate flooding & erosion in multiple ways. It isn’t just
      the roots holding a hillside steady. When there are big rains the trees catch lots of the water and keep it from pounding down on a slope all at the same time. This gives the earth time to soak in some water instead of letting it pour down a slope, faster & faster, to the bottom. The trees serve us in many ways when they are alive!
      2. In order to log the trees, I suspect won’t the logger will BUILD MORE ROADS in order to get to the landlocked property? Or will he helicopter the trees off the slope?

      Finally, I am amazed that clear cutting is even LEGAL in King County on any property. It causes nothing but problems in an essentially urban county. King County goes all the way to Snoqualmie Pass. I don’t recall any avalanche problems up on the western slopes of the Cascades until the big rush to clearcut a few years back. Now ‘avalanche control’ is routinely necessary. What does that have to do with this issue you might ask? Well, snow and uprooted trees thundering downhill in the Cascades… mud and rock thundering downhill here. Seems to me the Department of Natural Resources is out-to-lunch on this one.
      Has the Nature Conservancy been contacted perchance?

  2. We in the Platter housed hold are incredibly disturbed about the potential – even the thought – of this proposal. Already the ground is so soggy year round not to speak of the preservation of those beautiful trees. This would bring a multiple of problems to the whole valley.
    What is the purpose of this supposed endeavor and what can we do to stop it!
    Thank you for keeping us informed.

    • Thank you for getting involved!

      I’d say the purpose is that the logger hopes to make a profit.

      Please help us get the word out by talking to anyone you know. Encourage your neighbors to do the following:

      On the Savesquak.com website, click on the ‘Press Release’ tab and you will see several documents. Click on the ‘May Creek Flyer’ and you will see specific guidance on what we need done (contact those elected officials and relay your concerns about flooding etc.)

      Also, be sure to ‘subscribe’ on the Savesquak.com website so we can stay in touch as things progress.

  3. We live at the top of Squak so would not be affected by any flooding. HOWEVER, we are very concerned about our neighbors below, and about the loss of wildlife habitat and their corridor to Cougar Mountain – if this land is logged/developed.
    We have cougar passing through, bobcat, the large Pileated Woodpeckers, grouse, quail, and important amphibians such as Western Toad & Tailed Frog. The Tailed Frog is associated with pristene headwater streams, so this forestland is not ordinary when considering how close we are to urban areas.
    This acreage is also part of a quiet respite from our busy world and should be preserved for hiking. It’s intrinsic value is much greater than the dollars that would be produced from logging or developing. We hope King Co. will purchase this land with the realization that it will save alot of problems for landowners, and that our citizens/wildlife need as much of it as possible kept ‘as is’.

    • Hi Cathy Brandt,

      My husband and I live on May Valley Rd. We’re appalled by the proposed logging plan. Do you have photos or regular current sitings of the 2 frog/toad species you spoke of in your comment? I’m wondering if they may be endangered enough to stall the permit? I’m going to check into it with an contact I have. You have our support!

      Heather Bilyeu

  4. I live on a large parcel directly south of the proposed logging, and my property is part of the map shown here at savesquak.com. May Creek flows through, it’s a very sensitive area that already floods. The last few years have seen heavy overflow on SR-900, and residents have to deal with our properties flooded due to lack of capacity of May Creek. The creek floods due to years of silt buildup. Logging 200 acres that feeds directly into the creek is a big problem for so many reasons.

    First of all, when King County under Ron Sims passed the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), a lot of people became upset because every inch of every parcel became strictly regulated, limiting all development in order to prevent flooding and runoff issues. I felt that CAO was an over-reaching law but at the same time, some good came from it because property owners were prevented from altering the environment without first obtaining very, very expensive permits and conducting environmental studies. The CAO created a new bureaucracy and led to a great deal of new employment for county workers now responsible for conducting studies for even insignificant proposals. I felt in some sense that my land was secure from irresponsible construction nearby. Now, after strapping every King County landowner with new fees and environmental restrictions, to come in and approve logging of 216 acres (!!) makes a total mockery of the entire system. The pessimist in me says CAO was enacted to generate fees for a government bureaucracy, the same bureaucratic apparatus that will now approve logging of 200 acres of forest in order to earn more fees for the logging permit. This stinks to high heaven.

    If the environmentalists in King County involved in CAO have any self-respect and dignity, it is they (RE: Down Constantine and Co) who should be leading the effort to stop this environmental tragedy.

    As for bird habitat, anyone who lives in this area knows there is a large population of great blue herons. I recall a recent development of the hillside east of I-5 near Tukwila in which a local society of blue heron lovers did everything possible to stop it, and they were successful. Well, I can guarantee there are 10x as many herons in the 200 acres proposed for logging, so please involve the local heron society in this effort. If they truly love herons, they must get involved. There are also a lot of eagles here and many, many pileated woodpeckers. My neighbor is a lifelong bird enthusiast and professional in falconry, and he can talk for hours about all of the birds living in this habitat. He can provide expert testimony on the habitat to be ruined by this logging. It is of interest that when a very small parcel was clearcut at SR-900 and 148th SE, for many days we saw screaming red tailed hawks flying above who had lost their nests. The same thing happened when a neighbor cleared some trees on about 1/4 acre as well, we heard the hawks screeching for days. I can’t even begin to imagine the loss of wildlife if this project is approved. Mr Kappler no doubt remembers the same situation that occurred in Issaquah with the small parcel just south of Issaquah Valley Elementary about 15 years ago. Developers promising to keep some trees and cut others, but soon after the work began all of the trees came down. The city council chalked it up as a big misunderstanding but Issaquah lost a vital lung of big old trees providing bird habitat. Please involve bird conservationists in this.

    Regarding frogs, everyone nearby knows that each March, like clockwork, literally millions of frogs begin their thunderous sounds that can be heard even in cars as you drive by the intersection of May Valley Road and SR-900. This is a biological wonder of the world that literally could be featured on the Discover Channel. Anyone reading this should show up next month and listen. There is just now way the frogs will be able to sustain their habitat with 200 acres logged and all of the degradation that entails.

    Regarding the business end of this transaction, I am personally involved in trade that occurs at local ports, and I can attest to the fact that massive amounts of WA State timber is cut down simply to sell to China. So we all have our properties flooded, our wildlife habitat destroyed, and our local mountain scarred for what–to send the resources to China. Again, this stinks to high heaven and Dorothy Bullitt is spinning in her grave. Please stop this disaster.

    Finally, as an Issaquah resident for 18 years and a lifelong resident of King County, I would like to commend Mr David Kappler for being a real community leader and advocate. Sir, please rise to the occasion once again and stop the destruction of Squak. Get the entire project delayed, give it due time to study, and find a way to get this purchased for the public good. Thank you.

  5. My wife and I have lived on Squak Mountain for about 35 years. We were not aware of the value of the trees in regards to water run off until three years ago. A one acre lot was cleared for a home right behind us. Approximently a dozen trees were removed for the home, yard, and drive. Prior to this removal we had no running water moving through a culvert that runs under a bridal trail behind our home. There is now water visibly running there 3 to 4 months every year. At times when we have exceptional rain, the system designed to collect the water is incapable of doing it’s job. We have since learned that trees can hold hundreds of gallons of water. That’s nothing compared to all the moisture that is dissapated through the leaves and branches. Squak Mountain is covered with thousands of little natural springs when disturbed change the pattern of water run off. Every year the news is filled with stories of mud slides and loss of homes because we chose to ignore the signs in favor of personal gain one way or another. For those who don’t know or haven’t seen it. I invite people to drive along May Valley in the winter. You will find much of it under water. Not as much now as it used to be. Because expensive drainage systems have helped to releave some of the problem. Why not avoid the potential problems and just say NO,not here?

  6. An additional thought for consideration!!

    Yesterday I posted a comment and later was reminded if how I became aware of this problem we are facing on the mountain. My wife and I were out on a hiking trail in the State Park on Squak Mountain when we came accross a notice tacked to a trail marker. For those who may not be aware there are over 21 miles of trails on Squak. We live in a community that has foot / bridal trails that links up with the state park system. Undoubtedly some of this trail system does pass through the area in question. While on the trails we run into many single hikers, small groups, families, young hikers, old hikers, hikers with dogs, trail riders on horseback, even runners training for cross country. The point being the mountain is used by many. Not only the two legged kind but many four legged wild friends as well. As the forests dissapear they are pushed into smaller and smaller areas with very negative results. I may be wrong but it was my understanding that the Bullet family gave the state much of the property on Squak to be used as a park so this kind of thing would not happen. We have a chance to promote this idea if the property in question is outside the jurisdiction of the state. If the property is in the state park I would have to question the stats right to allow this to happen. However this goes down it’s time Japan used rice to make the little umbrellas for fancy drinks and leave our trees alone. It takes a long time for new trees to fill the void after man gets done. It would be over 100 years for it to return to it’s former self. WHAT A SHAME!!!!!

  7. Some facts and thoughts on this project.
    1. CAO and other county laws don’t apply to timber harvest unless in the urban growth areas. State DNR is the authority.
    2. I’ve been logging in this state for 40 years with many jobs in the ‘interface’, close to residential properties. While most of my jobs are thinnings, I do clear cuts also; its the landowners call. Forests are not “destroyed” by clear cuts and wildlife are benefited in many ways by them. The impacts are much less than development in that clearing is not done and the law requires replanting.
    3. While it is true that runoff increases with clearcutting, it isn’t permanent in that the new forest will restore the regime with growth. The May Valley problems have more to do with lack of maintenance of the ditch and development.
    4. The logger paid for the property and timber. They are his just like your house and lot are yours. If the neighbors want some relief from runoff and aesthetics, then I suggest a spokesman meet with the logger and propose an alternate plan. This might be a phased harvest schedule or leave areas on steep ground or other requests, but that makes harvest tougher, so bring a check or a pledge to the sit down to show you are serious.

    Washington State is the second largest producer of timber products in the nation. This is a logging state. King County is a large contributor. It is rediculous and ignorant to want to ban clear cuts in the county and it will never happen.

    • Due to these two facts:
      1. Erickson owns the property
      2. May Valley has other flooding factors
      …I should “bring a check or pledge” if I don’t want to wait decades for “the new forest” to “restore the regime with growth”? “Bring a check or pledge” if I have a problem with a few decades of significantly increased flooding?

    • Preston – I’m fairly new to this issue, so can you explain why CAO and other county laws don’t apply to this situation? How can a piece of land that is within King County not be subject to county laws? What about laws or regulations that protect the rights of surrounding neighbors?

      Thank you

      • The State Forest Practices Act over rides county law in this case and how the state deals with critical areas such as steep slopes, wetlands, creeks and the rest is quite different than the county. Part of the reasoning on this is that county development on critical areas is for the long term and forestry is a short term impact. Not that I agree, but the timber lobby continues to have their way in many cases. Actually when the state DNR does timber cuts on their own land by their own policy they exceed the standards in the laws they too have to comply with.

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