IATC History- Chapter 23 (2002) - Twenty Years for Cougar Park

TWENTY YEARS FOR COUGAR PARK

By Doug Simpson

January – March:  CLUB REACTS TO CRISIS

The IATC board informed membership that the club, having no paid staff, needed more involvement from members to stay alive.  Thus far no one had volunteered to serve as president or treasurer, and even the board was lacking members, and no one had stepped up to edit the Alpiner.  Even hike leaders were in short supply.  The following steps were taken as a result:  1) rather than require dues, a non-pay membership was established; 2) the number and frequency of hikes might be reduced; 3) the hotline was abolished; 4) an online version of the Alpiner was being considered; and 5) the number of board meetings was changed from monthly meetings to quarterly ones.

Bill Longwell discoursed on the Snoqualmie Ridge Loop Trail, including directions, access and changes in the Snoqualmie area in general.  Various options ranged from five miles to 13 miles, with an elevation gain not exceeding 1400 feet.

April – June:  C ELEBRATING THE COUGAR PARK

Steve Drew took over the reins as club president and David Langrock became vice-president for advocacy.  New board members elected at the January annual meeting were Harry Morgan and Doug Simpson.  Fred Zeitler continued as hikes coordinator.

IATC began celebrating the 20th anniversary of the official establishment of the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.  A lengthy article by Doug Simpson sought the opinions of Harvey Manning, Barbara Johnson, Dave Kappler, Ralph Owen, Charles McCrone and Steve Williams about the park, present and future.

McCrone stated:  “To have the magic of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park available to us in such close proximity to our busy Puget Sound gives us an immeasurable boon. . . a priceless treasure.”

The park did not come easily before June 5, 1983 when Randy Regvelle and the King County Council voted the Newcastle Ordinance into law.  IATC President Steve Drew exclaimed:  “Every club member should consider the great chain of events Harvey Manning set into motion and nudged along, beginning with his vision for the park.”

Kappler commented:  “It’s sheer size makes it a  unit with long-term opportunities for wildlife and wildland to prevail.”

All those interviewed cited the role of Manning.  Johnson said:  “He was the glue, the catalyst.”  Owen explained:  “I started hiking in 1980 and met this fellow Manning.  He drew lines on maps of several of the Alps and said, ‘These are going to be parks.’  He had such great force of personality and such great contacts.”

All cited the importance of, as Manning exclaimed, “ETERNAL VIGILANCE.”  Owen:  “We need to make sure it doesn’t get eroded or sold off.”  Williams pointed out, “This is a tremendous heritage and treasure.  We need a new generation to pick up the torch and keep the vision.”  McCrone wrote: “Such a place is unique—for lost and destroyed, we have, for all our skills and power, no tools to create it.”

(Note:  It would seem that now 16 years later the club and other devotees have maintained their “eternal vigilance.)

Chief Ranger Bill Longwell stated that various trail maintenance groups made 349 trips for 3368 hoursof work in 2002.  As a result, IATC and the Snoqualmie alley Trails Club were awarded a $5000 state grant for trail maintenance and equipment.  And the club approved a 2003 operating budget of over $27,000 for trail maintenance, tools and publications.

Zeitler announced that in 2002, the club had 140 hikes (of 152 scheduled), with 1225 hikers (an average of 8.7 hikers.   New hikers, he pointed out, increased from 300 in 1999 to 539 in 2002.

Charles McCrone shifted his trailwork emphasis from Cougar Mountain to Taylor Mountain and, as was his manner, explored Taylor thoroughly.  “I set out last summer with my 4-year old to do our reconnaissance—i.e. to find every possible road and trail intersection before I even broke out the boots.”  He concluded, “We are very lucky to have Taylor Mountain State Forest.  While lack of county funds has complicated the process of planning and trail development for the forest, fortunately there is already a vital informal trail system in place. . . I hope that if more of us check out and come to love Taylor, we can be better involved in the total open space planning for the mountain.

July – September:  SPEAKERS GALORE ON COUGAR

On June 7, the 20th anniversary celebration of the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park was held.  A large crowd gathered atop the Anti-Aircraft Peak.  Speakers included King County Executive Ron Sims, former Exec Randy Revelle, King County councilmen Larry Phillips, Rob McKenna, Bill Reams, Gary Grant, and Parks Director Bob Burns.  IATC club members had three hikes after the festivities, and a barbecue lunch was provided for all.

Revelle’s “direct personal commitment” to creating the Cougar Mountain Park was often acknowledged, as was “the persistence and drive” of IATC founder Harvey Manning over the years.

At this time, besides Longwell and McCrone, IATC had a third timeless trail worker in Scott Semans. Working solely with volunteers, Semans had three goals:   “First is member safety.  Second is to get people outdoors, both to appreciate it and to show what goes into making trails.  And the third, of course, is to get some work done.”  He added, “Anyone who works on trails can feel pride in what they’ve done.”

The issue included details on trailwork projects by organized groups in the I-90 Greenway corridor.  Most notably, the new Rattlesnake Ledges Trail was opened June 7, for the 50,000 estimated hikers per year who use the trail.   It is less steep at 2 miles than its 1.3 mile predecessor.  Work was also being done in the Ollalie area, Bandera Mountain Trail, the Middle Fork Trail, the Pratt River Trail, the Mailbox Peak Trail, and the Mount SI trails.

October – December:  Burning Calories

In his “Hiker’s Corner” column, Fred Zeitler discussed the caloric effect of hiking.  For example, “Calories burned by a 170-pound hiker without pack or hiking poles use 524 calories per hour at a pace of 2 to 2.5 miles per hour.”  But a 200-pound hiker adds 20% to the calories burned per hour.  Carrying a backpack and/or using hiking poles helps burn more calories.  Still, one must burn thousands of calories to lose even a pound of weight.

Charles McCrone wrote a pair of articles discussing the effects of development on the Cougar park.  He noted that, with the developers’ cooperation, access to several trails became easier, most notably from Talus to the Bear ridge Trail.

New hike leaders for 2002 were Melinda Livingstone, Harry Morgan, Bert Orvi, Scott Prueter, Doug Simpson and Aaron Shaw.

Hannah Wheeler