Northwest NEWS

March 6, 2000

Local News

Upper Bear Creek Council addresses horse trails

Upper Bear Creek Council meeting

King County residents voiced their concerns and asked questions at last week's Upper Bear Creek Council meeting that addressed horse trails in the area.
Photo by Heather Roscoe.

by Heather Roscoe, special to the Weekly

   Equestrians spoke their minds at the Upper Bear Creek Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 29.

   King County residents voiced their concerns and questions, letting the Council know what is important to them: What is going to happen to the "historically used" horse trails in King County? Who is going to pay for construction and maintenance of the trails?

   Citizens are worried that the trails in King County will soon be a memory. "It's been my dream for some years to protect the trails that we ride on," said one longtime horse owner. "If you're in agreement with that, we're going to need your support."

   Tom Fitzpatrick, senior land use planner for the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES), explained to the audience that in 1998, several policies were adopted by the council mandating the protection of historically used equestrian trails, such as the Samammish, the Interurban, and the Snoqualmie Valley trails. He said that the more people who use the trail, the easier it will be to defend. For example: A trail that is frequented by cyclists and hikers, as well as equestrians, has more chance of survival than others.

   "We've been going back and forth with the prosecutor's office with what's defendable," Fitzpatrick said.

   Council member Cynthia Sullivan, chair of the Growth Management Committee, who was present that evening, addressed the concerned citizens.

   "The only thing I can tell you is ... I will attempt to be extremely fair and attend to my affairs," Sullivan said. She listened carefully and duly noted the concerns of the people.

   The purpose of the Upper Bear Creek Community Council, which meets on the second and fourth Tuesday each month, is to let citizens express their concerns about issues that affect their communities, directly or otherwise.

   Nancy Stafford, president of the Bear Creek Community Council, feels that these meetings are vital to the community. "This council is trying to amplify your voice in the community," Stafford said, addresing the people. "But it's only through your participation that your voice is going to be heard."

   Although the meeting had a good turnout, about 30 people, Stafford hopes that in the future they will see even more citizens participating.