• Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce

Get to Know Your Elected Officials: Kathy Lambert - Environment & Recreation

I am always impressed by the natural beauty of the Issaquah area, and the amount of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Over the years, King County has continuously worked to protect the environment and promote recreation in and around the region through prioritizing work on local and regional trails, the maintenance and acquisition of open space, flood reduction work, kokanee recovery projects, and more.


In August 2019, King County voters generously approved the renewal of the Parks Levy. The estimated $810 million generated by this levy will be used to keep our parks and trails clean and safe, increase access to parks and recreation, improve regional trails and mobility, preserve open space, and more. The levy will directly fund trail rehabilitation projects on Cougar Mountain, provide funding for the construction of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, complete the turf replacement at the Preston Ballfield, and make key investments at Preston Mill Park. You can learn more about the parks levy on the King County Website: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/parks-recreation/parks/about/levy.aspx


Just at the end of last year, the King County Council approved a supplemental budget that included $25,000 in funding for the Tibbetts Valley Skate Park. Learn more about this great park by watching a video of the grand opening here: https://youtu.be/zdsqgNMm6TA.


In order to increase access to recreation opportunities, King County partnered with the City of Issaquah, REI, Eastside Fire and Rescue, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, and others to create a pilot project called Trailhead Direct, which provides weekend bus service over the warmer months to trails at Cougar Mountain, the Issaquah Alps, and a number of other great hiking trails in the area. This important project helps deal with congestion and parking issues at some of our trails.


In 2017, the King County Council passed legislation that expanded the county’s emergency communication capability by using a tower at Cougar Mountain, making the recreation area safer for residents and visitors.


Outside of our support for increasing opportunities for recreation, King County has continued to prioritize the environment through land conservation and flood reduction projects.


One valuable project is the Bergsma acquisition in 2019.By partnering together King County, the City of Issaquah, and The Trust for Public Lands were able to purchase 46-acresnear Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park to protect the land and retain its open space value. You can read more about this great project here: https://kingcountygreen.com/2019/11/26/bergsma-preservation-embodies-king-countys-new-vision-for-accelerating-land-conservation/


In November, The King County Flood Control District formally adopted a commitment to integrated floodplain management. This means that projects will be developed to reduce the impacts of flooding while intentionally addressing principles of environmental stewardship and environmental justice. This new direction will immediately begin to inform work like a new assessment of potential flood risk reduction strategies for Issaquah Creek following the severe flood event of 2020.


In addition, I recently co-sponsored legislation that authorizes an interlocal agreement between King County, the Cities of Issaquah, Redmond, Sammamish, Bellevue, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, and other agencies to prioritize Kokanee recovery efforts. Kokanee Salmon are native to Lake Sammamish and are an important cultural resource, but as you know,the number of fish that survive to return and spawn has been dangerously low in recent decades. Partnerships like this are going to play a pivotal role in efforts to restore Kokanee populations and spawning habitat.


Another issue that is important to me is working to reduce greenhouse gases at county owned landfills across the area.I have met with experts across the world (and have been to several countries to look at their waste management practices –yes that is how I “vacation”),as well as with experts from our own University of Washington on how we can move this forward.


There is so much work being done in King County that ranges from preparing to provide COVID relief, supporting social services, increasing access to recreation, and protecting the environment in the Issaquah area.


I hope that you will continue to stay informed about what is happening in our region and county by “Liking” my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lambert.kathy and signing up for my bi-monthly email updates by sending a brief email with your name, address, and phone number to Kathy.Lambert@kingcounty.gov


Photo by Eli Brownell/King County

In late 2019, I had the pleasure of helping release young kokanee into Lake Sammamish