King County and The Trust for Public Land are taking the last few steps in a two-year-long journey to permanently preserve more than 200 acres of Cascade foothills forestland.
Coveted for its ecological value, including sheltering the headwaters of a salmon-bearing stream, 226 acres of land on Squak Mountain was purchased by the trust in 2014 for $5 million.
“Permanently preserving forestland in our Cascade foothills will pay dividends for each generation to come,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “By saving wildlife habitat and preserving recreational areas, we protect our region’s environmental health and quality of life.”
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, whose district includes the land, noted “protecting this stretch of land guarantees recreational opportunities and natural habitats will be preserved for years to come.”
“Successes like Squak Mountain are at the heart of our mission to give everyone a great park close to home,” said Paul Kundtz, Washington State Director of The Trust for Public Land. “It’s been intensely rewarding to be able to work with the great team at King County and achieve this wonderful outcome for the people of Issaquah.”
King County previously purchased about half of the total acreage from the trust. In December, the county made its second and final payment to the trust, concluding the transaction and bringing the acreage into public ownership.
The property was purchased with King County Parks Levy regional open space funds, Conservation Futures funds, and real estate excise taxes.
The forestland remains closed to the public while King County Parks crews prepare the site for public use, including property clean-up, removing infrastructure and establishing trail routes.
The property should be open to hiking in the springtime, and King County Parks will begin a public planning process to help determine future uses for the property, which is being added to the County’s Cougar-Squak Corridor.