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Meadowbrook Farm to help host Discovery Days festival

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Anyone who has spent a lot of time at the Meadowbrook Farm would agree that it is a secret gem of the Snoqualmie Valley.

With no major signage or attraction inviting people to explore it, Meadowbrook Farm is not too different from what it was when the first settlers came to the Snoqualmie Valley, which is just how people like it.

"It's one of the best kept secrets [in the Valley]," said Tim Noonan, president of the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association.

That lack of attention could change after Mountains to Sound Greenway, a nonprofit conservation group that looks to protect the natural areas along the Interstate 90 corridor, hosts Discovery Days later this month. The group hopes Discovery Days will become an annual event that will steer residents into some of the natural areas they may not know about in other communities. Meadowbrook Farm is such an area.

"There are so many places just off the interchange that people don't know about," said Mountains to Sound Greenway Executive Director Nancy Keith.

Although the farm may lack a prominent profile outside of the area, it has a storied past in the Valley.

Meadowbrook's human history dates back to when the Snoqualmie Tribe would burn the area to keep it from growing over. It was later used as a hop farm by white settlers, which was at one time the largest in the world. The farm changed ownership and uses throughout the 20th century and recently has been farmed for cattle feed for dairy farms.

There was a collective sigh of relief from preservationists when the farm was saved from development pressures in the 1990s with the help of an inter-local agreement between King County, North Bend and Snoqualmie. The farm has been maintained with the help of volunteers and farmers who mow the fields for green chop. Other than that, the farm has seen little impact from humans with the exception of a few signs and an interpretive center on the North Bend side that the public will get a chance to look at during Discovery Days.

Meadowbrook Farm will be one of the featured areas for Discovery Days, which will be held from June 11-13 at locations in Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, the Snoqualmie/North Bend area, the Cle Elum area, Thorp and Snoqualmie Pass.

June 12 will be the main day for Meadowbrook Farm. In 2002, the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association helped host a kite festival, which is one of the events that will take place at the farm. There also will be a trail mowed out of the brush that will allow visitors to walk the perimeter of the farm. The farm also will be one of the stops for the Adventure Relay bike race, a ride that will start at the Snoqualmie Pass and go to Issaquah. Food from OP Ribs on Wheels will be available as well as Zydeco dancing. There will be a bonfire later in the day.

"Everyone should come out and enjoy it [the farm]," Noonan said.

* Mountains to Sound Discovery Days will hold events at Meadowbrook Farm, located off Boalch Avenue between Snoqualmie and North Bend on June 2. See www.mtsgreenway.org for more information. Anyone who is interested in helping host the Discovery Days event as a volunteer is invited to call Dave Battey at (425) 785-2741.

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