County to destroy 36% of trees in 1.3 mi on Lake Trail, put at risk 26% more–and they ain’t done yet

King County will destroy 36% of the trees and put at risk 26% more–a total of 120 out of 194 trees–in just 1.3 miles of the East Lake Sammamish Trail between SE 43rd Way (the round-about) and 33rd (roughly the 7-11) as it plans to widen the trail to 18 ft (equal to 1.5 lanes of two lane highway).

The Sammamish Review reported the pending destruction November 5.

And this doesn’t include the long section from 33rd to Inglewood Hill Road.

In a post on October 16, I raised the alarm.

The County’s destruction of trees on the Northern section of ELST, north of Inglewood to the Redmond city limits, is a blight on the landscape.

The County claims that it must adhere to federal and local standards for the trail’s paving and “improvements,” and the trees must go as a result and to protect wetlands that are in reality drainage ditches.

I filed a four page Public Comment with the County and City in advance of the Oct. 29 comment deadline. This document is here: ELST Comments 10202014_2

The County claims it cannot deviate from the trail standards. Poppycock. On the section through Issaquah, there are a couple of deviations from standards, narrowing the trail and changing the alignment slightly for environmental reasons.

Photos below the page break.

King County claims it can't narrow the trail because of trail standards, so trees have to be removed. Baloney. This bridge over Issaquah Creek at 62nd St. proves the County can narrow the trail. This is 12 ft wide, not the 18 in the standards. Looking north.

King County claims it can’t narrow the trail because of trail standards, so trees have to be removed. Baloney. This bridge over Issaquah Creek at 62nd St. proves the County can narrow the trail. This is 12 ft wide, not the 18 in the standards. Looking north.

Sammamish is the permitting agency for the county’s design.

The County claims it has to remove trees in favor of preserving wetlands and it can't adjust the alignment to save trees. Aside from the fact that the "wetlands" at "risk" in Sammamish are by-and-large nothing more than drainage ditches, this view in the 4000 Block of ELST demonstrates the county can and did adjust the alignment. It begins with a one foot jog and deviates two feet at the far north end. Looking north.

The County claims it has to remove trees in favor of preserving wetlands and it can’t adjust the alignment to save trees. Aside from the fact that the “wetlands” at “risk” in Sammamish are by-and-large nothing more than drainage ditches, this view in the 4000 Block of ELST demonstrates the county can and did adjust the alignment. It begins with a one foot jog and deviates two feet at the far north end. Looking north.

The ELST trail jog in the photos above and below actually go into a bonafide wetland. Wetland restoration is immediately to the right, out of the photo.

The ELST trail jog in the photos above and below actually go into a bonafide wetland. Wetland restoration is immediately to the right, out of the photo.

 

What’s even more interesting about this deviation is that is going into a bonafide wetland to save the trees in the berm on the right in the photo above.

 

The trail alignment takes a sharp jog of about two feet to avoid trees--but into a wetland. And the county says it can't do anything about alignments. Looking south in the 4000 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway in Issaquah.

The trail alignment takes a sharp jog of about two feet to avoid trees–but into a wetland. And the county says it can’t do anything about alignments. Looking south in the 4000 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway in Issaquah.

Considering the uproar over the County’s rape-and-scrape destruction on the ELST’s northern portion, the fact that the County obviously isn’t altering the design for the Southern end remains cause for concern. The County is exercising its thuggery that led Sammamish to incorporate in 1998/99.

Citizens need to ask the City to prevent this further rape-and-scrape of trees and dogmatic adherence to trail standards that don’t take into account local environmental conditions.

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This entry was posted in City Council, East Lake Sammamish Trail, Issaquah, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to County to destroy 36% of trees in 1.3 mi on Lake Trail, put at risk 26% more–and they ain’t done yet

  1. jayhox says:

    It’s truly a shame what’s transpiring on the trail. I just today commented on this topic to the Review. I hope 2A/B doesn’t have the destruction of trees that occurred up north as you predict.

  2. Roberta Gwynn says:

    Why are wetlands more important than trees? Where is the balance? Shouldn’t
    we consider the ecology as a whole and
    not destroy one thing to “protect” another? This makes me angry. Part of
    the charm of Sammamish is entering through
    the natural lanes of tall, beautiful trees. To me it is part of the city’s
    identity and appeal. So let’s just cut them all down
    so we can save a drainage ditch! That’s the ecologically correct thing to
    do! (EC, not PC, for King County!)

    Regards,

    Roberta Gwynn

    • jayhox says:

      The irony in the “wetlands”, Roberta, is that they were created when the county built the trail in the first place. They really aren’t wetlands at all, they are drainage ditches that were self created when they raised the elevation of the gravel trail they built years ago. I believe the county (and the city for that matter) sees everything with tunnel vision. Sometimes, very little common sense comes into play when it comes to trees over “wetlands” and the decision to spare one or the other. If common sense were in play here, it would be an obvious to save the trees and forego the self made drainage ditches the county created.

  3. Stan Gunno says:

    I wonder,when we finish this highway (trail), if they will move the bike lane off of East Lake Sammamish.

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