Cougar Mountain, Duthie Hill Projects Proceed
Improvements to King County and state recreation lands near Issaquah inched ahead last week, as conservation officials outlined plans to spend $42 million for projects statewide.
The plan from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office includes funding for projects on Cougar and Tiger mountains, in Duthie Hill Park and along the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
State legislators approved funding for the projects in a last-minute push as a special session ended in late May. The agencies proposing the projects promised matching funds to complete construction.
The state Recreation and Conservation Office presented a complete list of projects at a hearing in Olympia on June 22.
King County plans to use a $500,000 grant to expand Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, create a buffer around the forested land and provide a park entrance in Issaquah.
The county purchased additional land for the park last year.
Using another $500,000 grant, county planners intend to expand and pave the East Lake Sammamish Trail from Issaquah to Redmond. Issaquah planners approved permits in early June to pave trail sections in the city soon.
The county also received $317,000 to expand the trailhead for Duthie Hill Park. The project is designed to increase space for vehicles, so visitors do not need to park off site in unsafe areas.
“This funding gives us the ability to move forward with important projects that benefit King County residents by improving recreational opportunities,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “During these difficult budget times, we are grateful for additional funds that allow us to enhance our parks and trail systems.”
The state Department of Natural Resources plans to use a $247,870 grant to replace a collapsed trail bridge and install a pair of bridges in Tiger Mountain State Forest.
Independent evaluators ranked the applications based on criteria, such as public benefit, threats to the property, or the presence of threatened or endangered species. Funding is handled through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, a state grant program administered by the Recreation and Conservation Office.
The office is a small agency responsible for managing grant programs related to outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat and farmland, and salmon recovery.
The projects also provide a boost to the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.
“We are delighted the state of Washington continues to invest through the WWRC in the quality of life and recreation infrastructure improvements that makes the Mountains to Sound Greenway the wonderful place it is to live and work,” Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, said in a statement.