Skip to main content

The Great Trail Maker

The Great Trail Maker, David Kappler
By Nina Milligan, Highlands Council Communication Manager, Connections Editor

Meet David Kappler. He does not live in Issaquah Highlands, but has likely done more than any other single person on behalf of our parks and trails. David is the Vice President of Issues and Advocacy, and Past President, of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club (IATC). David served on the Issaquah City Council from 1991 through 2008. Through it all he advocated for trails and open spaces. In 2006 he was awarded the Ruth Kees Award, Issaquah’s highest environmental recognition.

David Kappler has been a big part of Issaquah Highlands for a long time. He recognized way back in the 70s that Urban Villages provided a development model for preserving forest land. Port Blakely employed this model in designing our community, preserving four acres of open space or park for every one acre that was built on.

As Issaquah Highlands was built out, David led hiking tours of the Highlands, escorting hikers up through the magnificent forest of Grand Ridge Park and then down through the densely populated neighborhoods, evangelizing how to preserve open space by trading for higher density.

Kappler led the official 2006 Arbor Day hike in Issaquah Highlands. “It was raining and blowing and really windy,” Kappler said. But the hikers “got a taste of the concept of the urban village. They saw high-density housing and open spaces.”

Quoted from the Issaquah Press, April 12, 2006

And all through our development David has been involved, making sure that parks and trails are considered at every step. Most recently David identified, designed and led the charge for the forest path that will now be part of Westridge South. This development consists of 73 new homes replacing the pond and trail just west of Swedish Hospital. Though not at all like the current

Kappler showing interpretive trail site

David Kappler of the Issaquah Alps Trail Club leading the author through the native landscape where he would like the City of Issaquah to install an “interpretive trail”.

pond trail, David’s trail will delight walkers and hikers as it snakes through the forest along the edge of the ridge.

And there is yet another trail on the boards for David, an “interpretive trail” that would meander through forested land owned by the City of Issaquah just west of the lighted soccer fields. Hikers would access it off the paved trail to Forest Ridge. The soft surface trail and natural setting would be a peaceful path with opportunities to learn about our forests. David intends it to be open only to walkers and hikers.

Kappler enjoying a view of tiger from his trail

Kappler enjoying the view of Tiger Mountain and the other Issaquah Alps from the viewpoint on his next trail project in Issaquah Highlands.

“The community deserves a trail in the forest that they can walk on and not get run over by a bike.”

David’s trail would take you out to a steep slope edge along very a deep ravine. Turning westward along the top of this edge, your destination is a high, viewpoint at the southwestern end. The views of the Issaquah Alps are stunning. Its proximity to Grand Ridge Elementary would provide a great resource for the kids.

We asked the great trail designer, “How would you go about designing and implementing such a trail?”

“The way to get a new trail constructed is to first meet with residents and take them out to see what you have in mind. For this trail, the Issaquah Highlands community has to like it and think it is worthwhile. I think the community deserves such a trail.

Then you create a volunteer team. The IATC and WTA are great resources for this. Oh, yeah. And you will still need some funding…”

Thank you, David! Keep up the great work!