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.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

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

One survey conducted by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development found students who eat free breakfasts at school had 17.5 percent higher scores on math tests. File photo
SVSD distributes tens of thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

Living Snoqualmie founder hired as North Bend PIO

Living Snoqualmie editor and writer Danna McCall has been hired by the… Continue reading

A photo of the carousel with horses. Contributed by North Bend Art and Industry
Historic carousel arrives in North Bend for planned Center for Art

The carousel will be the centerpiece for the planned regional arts center.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Photo courtesy of Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue.
Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue charge renewal is passing

The Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue benefit charge is passing with 100%… Continue reading

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Vote election badge. File photo
5th District results: Ramos leads House race; Anderson edging Mullett for state Senate

Early results have been reported in the 5th Legislative District races from… Continue reading

Most Read