Just west of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a swath of land with stunning 360° views of the Cascades, Seattle and Mt. Rainier. Reachable via day hike, the land includes old growth forests and alpine meadows that provide habitat for mountain goats, spotted owls, bears and pikas.
Driving east from North Bend along I-90 you can see Zorro Ridge—it earned its nickname from the Z in the mountainside created by three old logging road scars. We recently purchased this jewel atop Zorro Ridge and plan to transfer the 20-acres to Washington Department of Natural Resources to permanently protect its scenic and habitat values and maintain public access.
Mark Boyar, indefatigable champion of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley, notes that not so long ago a visit to the Middle Fork Valley was something of a Sunset-Magazine-meets-Brothers-Grimm experience—an amazing outdoor recreation destination for those able to ignore the echo of gunfire and roadsides decorated with bullet-riddled appliances.
Even in the early ‘90s when lawlessness was at its worst, it wasn’t hard to imagine a Middle Fork that was safe, accessible and healthy. But to make that image a reality took decades and the cumulative impact of hundreds of projects—public lands consolidated and vital habitat acquired; trashed riverbanks cleaned up and restored; criminals pushed out. Families, attracted by new trails and the first new Forest Service campground in the Pacific Northwest in decades, began to return.
We're thrilled to have reached an agreement with the landowner. This summit parcel is the literal high point of our efforts to conserve the lands on Zorro Ridge.
Today we’re faced with a new challenge. How do we support the growing enthusiasm for Middle Fork recreation while protecting the natural resources that draw us there? Just as a black caped crusader protects the forest, Forterra and partners have helped conserve thousands of acres in this rugged region of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Each parcel acquired, each trail segment built, each trash pile cleaned up brings us closer to achieving that vision—Zorro Summit is a great milestone in that journey.
To hike up and enjoy the view from these 20 acres, follow the Granite Creek trail from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road. See the trail map and driving directions on WTA’s website.
Forterra has been working with DNR, King County and the Forest Service for two decades to conserve lands in the Snoqualmie Valley. In addition, Forterra has been working with the Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and others to target prime land for habitat protection, public use and recreational improvements.