I am writing today to express my thoughts regarding the proposed logging atop Mt. Peak in Enumclaw to open up view corridors to the south, east, and north as requested by the Mount Peak Historical Fire Lookout Association. (“A little off the top — King County proposes Mt. Peak tree cutting for view of Enumclaw, Rainier” published June 15).
I am opposed to this project for the following reasons:
1) Environmental impact with no benefits | Opening up these view corridors requires removing and or limbing numerous trees atop the mountain. This will cause harm to native plants, insects, and wildlife that have come to rely on these trees for their existence.
2) Increased use not sustainable for the resource | Creating an iconic view of Mt. Rainier from the lookout will surely increase foot traffic on these trails leading to increased trail erosion, trail crowding, parking issues, etc. Parking will be especially difficult on the northern side of the mountain.
3) Impact to neighboring land owners | Private land owners adjacent to this county park will experience increased traffic on the roads connecting their properties to the community. Overflow trailhead parking could lead to the illegal parking of vehicles on private or county property.
4) Cost and use of country resources | While I do acknowledge King County Parks has an obligation to put time and money into their existing parks, this particular project/effort seems particularly counterproductive. The Mount Peak Historical Fire Lookout Association got the tower they wanted. Now they are back, however, asking for more resources and money from the county to create these view corridors.
5) No Historical Context | The Mount Peak ‘Historical’ Fire Lookout Association does not value the history of the old fire lookout or the mountain. There are no plaques and/or interpretive trails with details and photos of the history surrounding the old lookout. The old fire lookout served multiple practical purposes, and the replica does not.
My concerns can be summarized in a simple statement: “recreating is not contingent upon having a view”. As some members of the Mount Peak Historical Fire Lookout Association stated at the community meeting I attended recently, they want a “reward” at the top of the lookout. To that I ask, why is the lookout not enough of a reward? Why isn’t the native beauty of the existing trees, insects, flowers, and wildlife enough of a reward? Why do they (the tower association) insist on changing the dynamics of the resource to what they see fit, versus what the resource itself has naturally become since the original tower was removed back in the 1960s?
As is, the park (i.e. Mt. Peak) draws people to recreate; serving the goal and mandate of King County Parks. Creating these view corridors does not fundamentally serve the purpose of King County Parks. Instead, it serves the goals of a private “association” at the cost of the environment, local residents, local land owners, and local users of the resource as it exists today.
I urge King County to please block the creation of these view corridors.
J. Van Vleet