Issaquah Alps Trails Club
The Issaquah Alps Trails Club offers guided hikes, public land advocacy, and performs trail maintenance in the modest range of Cascade foothills known as the Issaquah Alps near Seattle, Washington, in the United States. The IATC also publishes books about local coal-mining history, trail guidebooks, and distributes detailed trail maps of Cougar Mountain, Tiger Mountain, and Squak Mountain.
As the Seattle area grew, residential development concentrated in the flatlands and generally avoided the higher elevations, leaving a large green zone of relatively undeveloped land (centered on the bedroom community of Issaquah) to bisect the eastern suburbs and exurbs of Seattle. This situation soon changed after most of the bottom land was locked up. Author and outdoorsman Harvey Manning promoted the "Issaquah Blobs" to Alps in the pages of his 1976 trail guide for the Seattle area, Footsore 1 with the aim of promoting the preservation of the large area of uplands which lie along I-90.
Newspaper articles soon appeared revealing the Issaquah Alps to a wider public. Roughly 100 hikers came together for two "public stunts" in November 1977 and in April 1979 to further raise awareness of the wilderness on the edge of Seattle. In May 1979 atop Long View Peak at Cougar Mountain the hikers officially organized as a trails club. The IATC has had a few setbacks from developers (notably Grand Ridge on the Sammamish Plateau) but overall they have been greatly instrumental in getting King County and local communities to set aside much of the Alps for recreational use. The club is now working with the Snoqualmie Valley Trails Club to advocate land management for the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway.
Manning, Harvey. The Authoritative Guide to the Hiking Trails of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Surrounds (Foreword). Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Issaquah, Washington, 2000.