Then and Now - "Wilderness on the Metro"

By Ralph Owen

The recent announcement of the expanded Metro Trailhead Direct service in 2019 brings to mind past notions on the accessibility of our nearby “wilderness” via metro bus service.

Harvey Manning, who was to become the Founding President of the IATC, invented the name Issaquah Alps in 1976 to highlight his campaign to get people out of their cars and onto the trail. In 1977 Harvey and his little band of pre-IATC volunteer dreamers invented the slogan “Wilderness on the Metro 210” in order to convince hikers to use public transportation to get to the trailheads. (At that time Metro 210 was the bus line from Seattle to the trailheads of Issaquah and on to North Bend and its trails.)

Today the Metro 210 has disappeared but the number of bus lines to the Issaquah Alps has increased. Today’s slogan might read “Wilderness on the Metro 214, the Metro 217, the Metro 208, the Sound Transit 554 and the Sound Transit 556”.

An even more appropriate slogan would honor Metro Transit’s Trailhead Direct bus. This service, which kicked off in 2017 and which connected the Issaquah Transit Center to several trailheads in the Alps, was reported to have carried about 900 hikers in its short August-September season. In 2018 the service was expanded to begin at several places in Seattle before stopping for more hikers in Eastgate and Issaquah and then continuing on to trailheads in the Alps, Mt. Si and Teneriffe. In the 2018 full season, extending from April through October, over 10,000 hikers used the Trailhead Direct Service. Metro Transit recently announced its expanded 2019 service which will pickup hikers at more locations and which will stop at more Issaquah Alps and Mountains to Sound Greenway trailheads. So the new slogan is:

“Wilderness on the Metro Trailhead Direct”

I am sure that Harvey would approve.

Tom Anderson