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Issaquah Press: "Partnership reaches agreement to save Squak Mountain forestland"

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July 22, 2013 -- An agreement has been finalized for permanent public ownership of important forestland on Squak Mountain.

http://www.issaquahpress.com/2013/07/22/partnership-reaches-agreement-to-save-squak-mountain-forestland/

An agreement has been finalized for permanent public ownership of 216 acres of forestland on Squak Mountain, following several months of negotiations with the landowner.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and The Trust for Public Land announced the agreement, signed July 18, to purchase the forestland for $5 million.

“It’s so important to preserve places like Squak Mountain, where back-country nature is still within easy reach of city dwellers,” Roger Hoesterey, divisional director for the trust, said in a press release. “We are delighted to help finalize this agreement.”

The trust can close the transaction as early as 2014, and may then hold it until King County has funds to acquire the land as part of the county’s system of parks and open space.

Potential funding sources for the acquisition include Conservation Futures funds collected from property taxes levied throughout King County and its cities and dedicated for purchase and permanent protection of open space lands.

Additional funding could include regional open space acquisition funds in the proposed King County Parks levy, which is on the August ballot to replace the current levy that expires at the end of the year.

That part of Squak Mountain has long been used as a private forest camp at the edge of Squak Mountain State Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.