Area trails avoid damage in storm

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - As seven King County maintenance crews busily cleared collapsed trees from hiking trails in Maple Valley and Issaquah, Snoqualmie's and North Bend's major hiking destinations were reported clear despite heavy snow and winds during a rough five-week span.

Last week the King County Parks Division reported that the stormy weather had damaged, and in many cases blocked, sections of five county regional trails, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Squak Mountain near Issaquah.

"We've cleared 300 trees that were blocking trails, and we probably have that many more yet to do," said Steve Williams, maintenance supervisor for Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Although crews had cleared the trails by week's end, Williams said last week that many of the damaged areas "won't be back to normal until March."

In Snoqualmie Valley the Sno-Valley Trail, which runs through the Three Forks Natural Area, and the Mount Si and Rattlesnake Ledges trails escaped relatively unscathed.

Logan Harris, spokesman for the King County Parks Division, said although the Sno-Valley Trail had some debris fall on it, the path escaped any substantial damage.

Washington Trails Association Director of Communications and Outreach Lauren Braden said the group has received no postings on the trail reports section of its Web site, nor have they heard of any problems regarding the Mount Si or Rattlesnake Ledges trails.

King County Parks Division officials are still assessing the damage to its trails, but expect the costs to number in the tens of thousands of dollars.

About five truckloads of logs have been collected from the county's cleanup efforts. Some of the logs will be sold, while others will be chipped and returned to the trails, according to King County officials.

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