Happy Trails to Doug Simpson, Retiring Alpiner Editor

After 28 years of teaching English at Issaquah High School, Doug Simpson retired and decided to go for a hike; in fact many, many hikes! With his newly freed schedule, and enthralled by the natural wonders and trails he had discovered in the Issaquah Alps, besides simply hiking, Doug then volunteered to accept key leadership roles in IATC during the past 15 years. Now, after those many years of dedicated service Doug is stepping down as long-time editor of our Alpiner newsletter which he has carefully and expertly stewarded since joining IATC in 2003.

Doug was the third English major to have graced IATC’s leadership with their presence, joining vaunted legends Harvey Manning and Bill Longwell who, with their combined literary skills, blessed IATC with years of talented and entertaining stories expounding upon the beauty of the Issaquah Alps, its trails, its wildlife, and their many adventures experienced in the outdoors.

In 2003, Doug responded to an IATC advertisement in the local paper by attending an IATC board meeting and within short order found a niche serving as Alpiner editor, a natural follow up to years of serving as the advisor for the student newspaper at Issaquah High School. Doug quickly became a hike leader for the IATC hiking program, and on his first hike led a large group of 28 participants on Cougar Mountain. Not much later, Doug bravely volunteered to serve as IATC President from 2004-2007, literally saving the club when no one else was willing to serve as President and serious consideration was being given to disbanding. During those four years Doug led IATC wisely and well, at a time when key issues like the proposed bypass, major development agreements, and key land acquisitions were in play. Most importantly, Doug stabilized IATC while launching key, new initiatives such as the Youth Scholarship Program and, very notably, his personal efforts to create, write, and publish the first-ever history of and guidebook for the public lands and trails of Squak Mountain in 2004. To add even further to his service, Doug faithfully served as a board member from 2003-2017.

“Without Doug having stepped in when he did, as he did, IATC might well have folded,” says Ken Konigsmark, a fellow IATC board member. “Doug did heroes work on many fronts in serving the club, the public, and our public lands for a decade and a half.”

Dave Kappler, also a long-time board member and former City Council member agrees, “Doug was instrumental to IATC surviving at a key moment in time, while also creating several new programs that broadened IATC’s outreach and services. He has been key to IATC in so many ways.”

When asked about his favorite memories of IATC, Doug humbly responded that “I knew nothing when I came into IATC” but as he grew into his many roles he “liked to host well structured board meetings with timed agendas and guest speakers.” He stressed how he “was proud to carry on the tradition of volunteers who willingly got involved without any pay to help preserve, protect, and promote the Issaquah Alps.” Another proud accomplishment was Doug’s leadership in organizing the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, an event well-attended by the public the political leaders who created the park.

Even though Doug is retiring from the Alpiner and the board, he is won’t be absent from IATC. He continues to hike and will lead efforts to document an historical summary of IATC and its many accomplishments. He will also be involved in upcoming events surrounding the 40th anniversary celebration of IATC.

Happy trails to Doug as he steps down from the Alpiner but continues to serve IATC in other ways.