City Council honors trail champion Bill Longwell

The theme of the night was the environment.

The theme of the night was the environment.

With flowers and small trees decorating the Council Chambers, Mayor Ava Frisinger presented the sixth annual 2008 Ruth Kees Enviromental Award for Sustainable Community posthumously to William R. Longwell Jr.

Kees was on hand to make the presentation.

“He was a tireless, lifelong advocate who brought environmental issues to the forefront,” Frisinger said. “William’s efforts were nothing short of tremendous.”

Bill Longwell passed away last year, so the award was presented to his wife, Mimi.

“If Bill were here, he would tell you what an honor this is,” Mimi said. “But his biggest honor was in knowing Ruth Kees. Without Ruth, there would be no Tiger Mountain.”

Kees has worked for decades on preserving the environment and has been active on issues such as Tiger Mountain and the Issaquah creek systems, just to name a few.

“Issaquah is a very special place,” Kees said. “In traveling across the state, there is no place like Issaquah. We have so much here to appreciate.”

Bill Longwell was the co-founder of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and supervised construction of the Tiger Mountain Trail. He also created the signage for the trail in his garage and authored the IATC publication “Guide to the Trails of Tiger Mountain,” which is now in its 10th edition.

“Tiger Mountain is now the most popular trailhead in the state,” Frisinger said.

In other “green news” of the night, Frisinger made an official proclamation that April 26 will be recognized as Arbor Day.

The city was also presented with a celebratory flag in honor of its 15 years as a designated “Tree City” by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. In addition, city officials received their 12th growth award, meaning that they not only met the qualifications for Tree City but were also active in going beyond the standards. No other city has received as many or as frequent awards from the program, officials said.