IATC History-Chapter 25 (2005): Huge Trailwork Efforts

Chapter 25:  2005

HUGE TRAILWORK EFFORTS

By Doug Simpson

January – March:  HOW THE TMT CAME ABOUT

Celebrating 25 years of its existence, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club met at Gibson Hall recently.  Some 40 active and retired members discussed the club’s past and present.  Former presidents Barbara Johnson, Dave Kappler and Ken Konigsmark spoke.

Male domination of the club was discussed.  Barbara Johnson has been (and still is!) the club’s only female president, yet women are usually in the majority on club hikes.  And 23 men but only eight women had led club hikes in the past year.  The IATC board has always had a large majority of males.  Female leaders are sought.

Bill Longwell wrote a lengthy article discussing the origins of the Tiger Mountain Trail, which took some sixteen years from planning to completion.   Construction began in 1976 with Longwell’s Hazen High students working with him on the trail over a 14-year period.  Longwell also  gave great credit to DNR’s Doug McClelland, Harvey Manning and Joe Toynbee and the Weedwhackers for their significant efforts over the years.

April – June:  Massive Trailwork Efforts

In Longwell’s annual trailwork report, he called it “an extraordinary year.”   IATC trail crews made 483 trips to the trails (374 solo), totaling 4352 hours!  Scott Semans worked 47 times alone, Rich Johnson 53 days (some for the US Forest Service),and Ken Hopping went on 109 work parties.  The December 2003 windstorm dumped at least a thousand trees across Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains, necessitating major trailwork efforts.  At least 75 different trails were worked on.  Tiger alone had 157 trips, totaling 1667 worker hours.  Squak was next with 31 trips and 595 worker hours.

At the January 31 board meeting, four new members were elected:  Sally Pedowitz, Karen Tom, Melinda Livingstone and Richard Mann.  Pedowitz became secretary.  Livingstone was also a board member in 1985.  Doug Simpson, Ken Konigsmark, Steve Drew and Jackie Hughes maintained their positions of the Executive Board.

The club president extolled retiring Steve Williams for his tremendous efforts as manager of the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park for the park’s first twenty years.  “The careful stewardship that Steve brought to those lands will benefit both people and wildlife for generations to come,” stated Ken Konigsmark.  “Williams credits IATC’s Harvey Manning for the concept of the park and cites the vision of politicians Randy Revelle, Larry Phillips and Gary Locke for making the park a reality,” the president wrote.  Williams cited the need to maintain a balance between preservation and exploration—“to preserve chunks of land for animals and yet to open space for hikers.”  Niki McBride was appointed Williams’ successor, starting March 1.

Hikes Coordinator Fred Zeitler said that the club held 156 hikes in 2004, with a record 1498 hikers participating.

Vice-president Steven Drew was lauded as a community watchdog by the Issaquah Press in a winter 2005 issue.  He was credited with staying informed on issues of land use, traffic problems, water quality and open space creation and preservation.

A bibliography of the writings of club founder and long-time president was annotated in the Alpiner.

July – September:  Great Trail Progress

Club leaders were excited about the near completion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail from Issaquah to Redmond and beyond.  It was an arduous battle to overcome the objections of local property owners.

The club president lauded not only the early leadership of Harvey Manning, but also the behind the scenes work of Dave Kappler, his first in a series of unsung club heroes.

Issaquah city officials announced that they had received the funds to build a needed one-mile connector from the city streets to the East Sunset Way interchange, an expensive project due to the I-90 interchange and the North Fork of Issaquah Creek with limited space to implement.

Heather Hansen, Squak Mountain park ranger, reported on several Squak projects—rerouting the north end of Phil’s Creek Trail and a new trail for use near the May Valley trailhead.  She also noted efforts to spruce up the trails at Ollalie State Park and the popular Twin Falls Trail.

October – December:  Zeitler Cites Hike Gains

Local environmentalist Ruth Kees sold over 15 acres of lower Tiger Mountain to the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Cascade Land Conservancy, enabling the area to remain as green space rather than being developed by builders.  “The cougars need a place to live, and the ecosystem needs protection,” she stated.

With Fred Zeitler stepping down as hikes coordinator, the club was in turmoil to manage hike scheduling and coordination.  Jackie Hughes, Melinda Livingstone and Joe Toynbee committed themselves to keep things rolling.

The president’s second unsung hero was Ron Howatson, tireless Tiger Mountain trailworker (a master with a chainsaw) who worked on over 120 trailwork projects in recent years.  He also leads hikes, notably of the 16-mile Tiger Mountain Trail.

In his final Hiker’s Corner column, Zeitler pointed out that over the last eight years, 118 hikes in 1998 increased to 160 last year, and the number of hikers from 969 to about 1500.  He commented on the variety of hikes, not just easy to strenuous, but family hikes, dog hikes, flower and bird outings, and woman walk hikes.  Hike areas covered extend now farther out the I-90 Mountains to Sound corridor.  Of the 30 hike leaders, 14 lead on a quarterly basis.  Sixteen of the leaders were new in his eight-year tenure.

IATC legend Jack Hornung  passed away.  In just a few years in the late 80’s and early 90’s, he was the primary person in pursuing the Mountains to Sound Greenway concept; he initiated the club’s first Grand Traverse in 1988, then organized and led 85 people on a true Greenway trek from the Snoqualmie Summit to the Seattle waterfront.  Ted Thompson, IATC member and the founding secretary of the Mountains to Sound Trust, exclaimed:  “Without Jack Hornung, there would be no Mountains to Sound Greenway.”  A Harvard-educated easterner, he came west and was very active on Squak Mountain.  Joe Toynbee called him “a mad genius, a visionary.”

In a year of great stability in the hiking program itself, the only new hike leader was Scott Preuter.

Hannah Wheeler