Squak Lodge Trails: A New Park!

Squad greeted 2015 in a crystal-dripped moss palace.  Veiled in mist, we trucked up Squak Mountain to hike into a new trail being constructed in King County's new nature park, Squak Lodge Trails.  We first worked here back in September with the WA Trails Asscn, the site has an interesting former use.  The kids took up the challenge of grading slopes and shoveling cut & fill, with the usual hardy sword ferns replanted along the sides.  A beautiful afternoon.

Rock Work on a Bridge Approach, Bear Claws and Ferns Ferns Ferns.

The children worked hard hauling rocks in formation for a bridge approach on a trail at Evans Creek Preserve with the WA Trails Association.  It is enjoyable to return to the site of our original Stewardship Squad event as we approach the Homeschool Stewardship Squad's third year in service!   The number of ferns that we have transplanted measure in the hundreds by now.  Krista, our long-time WTA crew leader, aroused the children's rapt attention when she pointed to a tree showing the scratches of a bear's claw, which to everyone's relief were not fresh.

The children's sense of pride and ownership of the wilderness is evident when their forest play includes racing along trails, climbing trees and also commenting on areas in need of stewardship.  Witnessing their sense of responsibility blossom alongside a carefree, satiating pleasure in nature is a lovely thing.

Thank you to Squad-regular Becky Johnston for her reporting & photography, as the Watters Family was forced to spend the morning at the Tukwila Costco Tire Shop.  (We did explore the store's backyard and found quantities of ivy that could really use some stewardship!)

New parkland on Squak Mtn. Creating & destroying a trail. Plus hardhat watering!

King County acquired an interesting piece of property on Squak Mountain recently.  The 226 acres are adjacent to Squak Mountain State Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park (King County Parks) is being converted from a privately held trails and RV campground- it even features a lodge, which will be interesting to follow the development of.  The terrific Trust for Public Land is temporarily purchasing the property to halt the logging planned, so that the County can arranged the funds to purchase it.

Stewardship Squad transplanted native sword ferns / Polystichum munitum alongside new trails created by the Washington Trails Association and in the middle of old trails being decommissioned due to poor design (drainage, grade, etc.).  It was a lovely end of summer day, just after a heavy downpour, so the plants and soil were hydrated enough to transplant- a bit risky until fall rain is steady.  We helped them along by filling our hardhats with water, hauling them up the hill and watering them in.  Great fun!