YMCA leases 40-acre property for outdoor education programs

The YMCA has leased a 40-acre property to support expanded initiatives for outdoor education

A photo of the 40-acre property the YMCA will be using for outdoor education opportunities. Courtesy Image.

A photo of the 40-acre property the YMCA will be using for outdoor education opportunities. Courtesy Image.

With an expansion to the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA expected in the future, the organization has taken action to expand its space and programs into the outdoors.

The YMCA has leased a 40-acre property along Tokul Road to be used as an outdoor education space. The property will be known as Camp Keller named after the Keller family, longtime Valley residents.

Harold Keller was the executive director of the Snoqualmie Falls Community YMCA in the 1930s. The Keller family has remained in the Valley and was part of the formation of the current YMCA location on The Ridge.

Snoqualmie Valley YMCA executive director Nate Smith said the property would be a place to focus on programs about outdoor education without the need for a development of a large building or structures like rock climbing walls.

“This isn’t going to be a developed property,” he said. “It’s designed more to use the natural landscape as the tool for teaching.”

Smith noted that the Valley’s outdoor resources are one of the area’s greatest appeals, and getting residents to engage with their surroundings has been a goal for the organization. The YMCA plans to develop an outdoor curriculum that focuses on “leave no trace” principles, promoting preemptive measures to have minimal environmental impact as people engage with their environment.

There will also be a small outdoor classroom to provide a sheltered area and a meeting space, Smith said.

While parking is available at the property, providing buses to and from Camp Keller is one of the ways the YMCA itself is trying to improve its carbon footprint as part of the program as well.

Some of the programs planned for the 40-acre space include teaching orienteering skills, survival skills and environmental studies during summer camps. A few events will be offered at the end of June including Outdoor Survival Camp, Outdoor Cooking Camp and an Archery Camp. An expanded list of programs is expected to begin in 2020.

In the fall the YMCA plans to begin partnerships with other outdoor recreation organizations to offer more educational opportunities.

Pretty much all of the space is usable, he said, with good trails running through the property and a diverse range of forested areas available for several different programs.

For now, volunteer groups have been working to clear trails and install a few additions such as picnic tables and some basic signage.

Summer programs are now open for sign ups, Smith said, at the YMCA website ykids.seattleymca.org under the Snoqualmie Valley location.

Camp Keller is located just off of where Tokul Road SE becomes SE 53rd Street north of downtown Snoqualmie. Courtesy Image

Camp Keller is located just off of where Tokul Road SE becomes SE 53rd Street north of downtown Snoqualmie. Courtesy Image

More in News

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

City Council approves EMS contract for Echo Glen center

Annual revenue agreement is for $16,578.

Si View Metro Parks make progress on aquatics facility plan

Si View Metro Parks is expecting the Aquatics Center Feasibility Study to be finished in August.

File photo
                                Richard Burhans with Sinacia Yovanovich at the Euro Lounge Cafe and crepe restaurant in downtown North Bend.
Valley artist honored for lifetime work

Richard Burhans is the man behind many of the Valley’s notable murals.

An aerial photo shows the locations of two earthquakes and five aftershocks in and near Monroe, which rattled the Puget Sound region early Friday. The first was the magnitude 4.6 quake at upper right, 13 miles under the intersection of U.S. 2 and Fryelands Boulevard SE at 2:51 a.m. The second, magnitude 3.5, occurred 18 miles under the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road at 2:53 a.m. The aftershocks followed during the ensuing two hours. This image depicts an area about 3 miles wide. (Herald staff and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network)
Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Courtesy photo
King County Sheriff’s Office has been giving ICE unredacted information

Both the office and jail have supplied the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

University of Washington among researchers of climate change’s effects in global temperatures.

Caller upset over stolen bong | Police Blotter

Police blotter for June 29 - July 4.

Warning sign for a road closure. File photo
King County examines options to fund roads and bridges

Shortfall is roughly $250 million each year; county may seek tax from unincorporated voters.

Most Read