News

Mount Peak users unite

Hope to sidetrack development of popular hiking hill

By Shawn Skager

The Courier-Herald

The potential development of several parcels of land on the south side of Mount Peak has mobilized local forces dedicated to securing the land for continued recreational use.

According to Pat Traub of the Enumclaw Forested Foothills Recreation Area (EFFRA) - a group dedicated to preserving 10,000-acres of local land for future conservation - the parcels on Mount Peak are currently for sale and zoned for residential development.

EFFRA will host a forum June 12 at the New York Deli in Enumclaw to discuss the possibility of King County buying the land to preserve it as open space. The meeting is open to anyone.

“It's for sale, so anyone could buy it,” Traub said of the land. “One of the issues are that there are some people out there with money that could buy it and develop it.”

The properties on Mount Peak - which is a favorite hiking destination for regional residents - are zoned RA-10 by King County, which would allow one house per 10 acres.

Friday, Traub led several non-elected officials on a tour of Mount Peak, including officials from King County Executive Ron Sims' office, the King County Parks Department, the city of Enumclaw, the Cascade Land Conservancy and County Councilman Reagan Dunn's office, hoping to lay the groundwork for a county purchase of the property.

“This was preliminary meeting,” Traub said following the tour. “ What happens next is they will do some research. Then it will be put on the list with a priority attached to it. They'll make a decision on whether it's a good thing for King County or we don't have enough money and can't buy it.”

Traub said she thinks it's a good idea for King County to buy the land because it butts up against county-owned property.

“If you look in the future, realistically in Enumclaw, we don't have as many parks as places like Renton,” Traub said. “It's a great place, we have people from all over the region that hike Mount Peak. We've got people from Puyallup, Tacoma, Federal Way and Auburn, so it's a regional area that people come to.”

The purchase of Mount Peak is just one component in EEFRA's long-term goal.

“Our EFFRA group looks at a 50-year plan,” Traub said. “It'd be good to have that land 50 years down the road, when we have more people here in Enumclaw.

“We're looking at preserving 10,000 acres, that's our initial goal,” she added.

According to Traub, EFFRA aims at conservation, which means logging, mining and other uses of natural resources would continue.

“We're just trying not to have everybody build houses everywhere,” she said. “Their will still be hunting, camping and recreational places.”

“It's not a debate, we have conversations,” Traub said of the meeting. “We're not into conflict. If the community is not for something we don't want to do it. It's got to be a positive experience for both the Enumclaw residents and the county, whoever we're dealing with. We're not into coming in and saying ‘Oh we're going to put a park right next to you.'

“We're just a group of concerned citizens that want to influence the growth of Enumclaw, because it's going to happen.”

Those interested in attending the June 12 meeting can contact Traub at 360-825-4074 or e-mail mountainride@comcast.net.

Shawn Skager can be reached at sskager@courierherald.com.

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