IATC History - Chapter 22 - (2002) - TMT and More Growth

By Doug Simpson

January – March:  Election News and Early TMT Experiences:

New officers elected at the January annual meeting were President Ken Konigsmark, Vice-President David Langrock, and Secretary Beth Moursund.  Board positions were unchanged except for Barbara Johnson retiring after 13 years.

After an elaborate renegade trail was discovered on Grand Ridge, Konigsmark stated:  “IATC will engage only in trail efforts that have been approved by a responsible land management agency.”  He pointed out that “Illegal trails can cause severe environmental damage, fragment important areas of habitat, lead to trail use conflicts, and cause other problems.”

Bill Longwell wrote three articles for the issue about early hikers on the yet uncompleted Tiger Mountain Trail.  An abbreviated 10-mile TMT had opened in October of 1979.  Using a Harvey Manning article in his first “Footsore” book, a group of Mountaineers went exploring one day, to his surprise.  In 1990, when the TMT expanded to its ultimate 16 miles by adding trails on its north and south extremities,  while working on a bridge, Longwell noted over time three solo hikers, including IATC’s  Karen Van Pelt, who were curious enough to set out to explore it.  And he proudly detailed an outing by his daughter Ann and friends who chose a lengthy backpack on the TMT rather than her senior class graduation party—with him as guide.

President Konigsmark discussed a survey with a goal of reforming Washington State’s NOVA grant program, which utilizes 1% of the state’s gas taxes to fund grants for recreational projects.  The problem?  Eighty percent of those funds were required by law to go towards motorized off-road vehicle (ORV) projects.  It was felt that the funds should be better distributed for non-motorized activities, such as hiking trails.

April – June:  Ambrose and a Greenway Trek:

Konigsmark reported that two local conservation groups—Cascade Land Conservancy and Evergreen Forest Trust—were purchasing 104,000 acres of forestland to be managed as working forestland, free from future development.  These swaths were north of Snoqualmie and North Bend and east of Fall City, Carnation and Duvall.

Bill Longwell wrote a feature story about the noted and ubiquitous hiker George Ambrose, who had scaled all the peaks (at least 50 of them) on both sides of I-90 between Issaquah and Snoqualmie Pass.  A mysterious figure—banned from Mountaineer hikes—he was known for materializing out of the blue at some point of scheduled Mountaineer hikes.  “He was our mountain guide,” Longwell said.  Ambrose died of a heart attack in 1973.

A three-day Mountains to Sound Greenway trek was announced for July 19th to 21st.  It would start at Hyak on a Friday, through the 2.3 mile Snoqualmie Pass tunnel, and down the John Wayne Trail to the Tinkham campground (10 miles).  The next day it continued 11 miles to Rattlesnake Lake, and then on Sunday across Rattlesnake Mountain to Snoqualmie Point (11.3 miles) with activities planned for the end of each day’s outing.

Hikes coordinator Fred Zeitler reported that 170 hikes and work parties were scheduled by the club in 2001.  The 1191 hikers averaged 7.5 per hike.  Most popular were 6-10 mile hikes with varying elevation gains.  The club used 34 different hike leaders.

Konigsmark wrote about the club’s trailwork efforts in 2001.  There were at least 260 trips into the mountains (about 500 worker days and 3000 worker hours, by 77 workers).  Leading participants were Debbie Anschell (36 days and 186 hours), Ken Hopping (42 days, 205 hours), Avron Malletsky (49 days, 484 hours) and board member Scott Semans (a remarkable 80 days and 631 hours.)

July – September:

Production problems led to an issue that held little besides the hiking schedule.

October – December:  Trailwork, New Leaders Sought

On the heels of the April-June issue article about IATC’s busy trailwork efforts, the National Recreational Trails Program (NRTP) announced in its budget $5000 in funding to support IATC’s trail maintenance program.  Chief Ranger Bill Longwell had submitted the request to fund replacement of warn out equipment and ongoing supplies.

In his President’s Report, Konigsmark appealed to members and non-members to step up and become more active.  He commented that the club has no paid staff and very limited funds and survives only through the dedicated efforts of a handful of its members.  “IATC has a long history of success and accomplishments, but I worry if this can continue without others stepping up to sustain the club and its operations.”

Charles McCrone wrote of his experiences hiking with his 4-year old son Ian.  He effused about their experiences and his son’s curiosity.  “I can’t think of a better way to introduce a kid to a wide and unexpected diversity of experiences and discoveries than hiking.”

Kitty Gross, Women Walks coordinator, reported that six hike leaders conduct new and experienced hikers on Issaquah Alps trails.  “Like most women,” she wrote, “once we get the boots walking, we all start chatting and laughing, then end up sharing lunch together along with our experiences,” she noted.

New hike leaders in 2002 were Emily Doe, Pete Girard, Ken Konigsmark and Doug Straight.

Hannah Wheeler