In Spring 2022 Connections, we profiled organizations that do critical work to maintain and preserve our trails; this is the second article in this series. Consider how you can do your part to help them protect our trails for current and future generations.
In February, I interviewed Matt Mechler, parks operations supervisor for the city of Issaquah, about the city’s trail maintenance responsibilities in Issaquah Highlands.
Which trails in Issaquah Highlands are managed and maintained by the city of Issaquah?
City trails in Issaquah Highlands include those in Central, Black Nugget, and Grand View parks. There are two additional city trails in Issaquah Highlands: the Falls Drive Trail has trailheads at Central Park next to Pad #3 and on Northeast Falls Drive (this is a paved, multi-use trail popular with hikers, bikers, and strollers); and Cathy’s Trail (sometimes spelled “Kathy’s”) has trailheads near the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) maintenance building and Lakeside Montessori on 15th Avenue Northeast. Both trails act as connectors between the upper and lower portions of the community.
How does the city regularly maintain local trails?
Much of the trail maintenance work done by city employees is seasonal, with most work done in the fall. The Falls Drive Trail requires regular leaf blowing and debris removal during leaf season (typically every Friday, October through December). Park trails require less maintenance with leaf cleanup and the addition of fresh gravel as needed.
The city takes on special trail projects when needed. In a recent project, the city made improvements to Cathy’s Trail, rebuilding the old bridges across creek beds.
Regular trail maintenance helps maintain a safe connection between neighborhoods, Matt said.
How can Issaquah Highlands residents help maintain and preserve the community’s city trails?
City employees are not on the trails everywhere, every day, every week, so Matt appreciates residents keeping an eye out for issues and concerns, like downed trees and picking up trash.
“The more eyes out in the woods and being able to share observations and concerns is super helpful for us,” he said.
Matt recommends residents use the city’s “RequestTracker” to report trail concerns. Be sure to provide as detailed a description of the location as possible. You can also call the Issaquah Parks and Community Services Department at 425-837-3300.
For safety concerns on the trail (including encampments and needles), please contact the Issaquah Police Department; the non-emergency number is 425-837-3200.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the wildlife in our surrounding forests and learn how to react when you see them on local trails. (Check out the “Crossing Paths With Carnivores Adventure” community scavenger hunt for a fun way to learn more about local wildlife.)
Vicki Grunewald is the Highlands Council media editor, and a Harrison Street resident.