Possible Logging Adjacent To Cougar Mountain
A map of the area in question. The blue and purple parcels are available for sale. Click the image to make it larger.
More than 200 forested acres adjacent to Cougar Mountain and the Cougar/Squak Corridor may be logged if the King County Department of Natural Resources does not succeed in acquiring the property. Previously owned by the now-bankrupt Issaquah Camping Club and American West Bank, the property was purchased by Erickson Logging, based in Eatonville. Residents around the parcels are concerned about more frequent flooding of May Creek due to increased siltation of the creekbed caused by logging. And hikers who love the Issaquah Alps worry about the lost opportunity for connecting Cougar Mountain to the Cougar/Squak Corridor.
King County DNR wants to purchase the property in an unlogged state. These lands are significantly more important from a recreation and ecosystem services perspective if the original forest is standing. But they do not currently have the funding to purchase the parcels in question. Erickson Logging is the definition of a willing seller, but King County has no control over their use of the land without a standing purchase agreement. And without funding, they can't enter into such an agreement.
The King County Conservation Futures Program could be the answer here. Created in 1982, Conservation Futures was envisioned as a tool to ensure that the rush to develop the region did not happen at the expense of green space. Funded by a nickel on each $1000.00 of a property's valuation, the program allows for the outright acquisition of green space or the purchase of conservation easements.
King County is seriously considering including purchase of this property in their request to the Conservation Futures Oversight Committee. We urge members of the Committee to support this proposal when it is considered in March, and we hope you'll do the same. For more information on these parcels and King County's work, contact Ingrid Lundin at King County Parks. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.