A view of the DeLeo Wall from May Valley Road Southeast. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo

A view of the DeLeo Wall from May Valley Road Southeast. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo

Newcastle, Renton push back against logging near Cougar Mountain

A proposal to log 28 acres near the DeLeo Wall has led to cities, community pushing to save forest.

A proposed clear-cut of 28-acres of private woodland adjacent to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park has generated concern and resistance from residents and the cities of Newcastle and Renton.

An application to clear-cut the land was submitted to the Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on April 20 by Dalpay Properties, which owns two parcels of land that lie inside the city of Newcastle as well as King County. Erickson Logging was listed as the logging company. The property runs roughly in a rectangular shape north from Southeast May Valley Road and 150th Place Southeast north up the mountainside to the crest of DeLeo Wall.

Despite its location inside city boundaries, Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman said Dalpay Properties was able to apply to DNR directly due to state law, which allows landowners to do so when a proposed timber harvest area is greater than 20 acres. However, letters penned by both Renton and Newcastle to the DNR said they believe the application was incorrectly filed. If an area of woodland has critical habitat areas, such as steep slopes or salmon habitat, local jurisdictions are given a greater say in the application process.

“This is a critical habitat area, there’s bears there, there’s eagles,” Wyman said. “There’s a lot of wildlife.”

Wyman is concerned about the possibility of erosion, damage to local drainage basins and a loss of wildlife habitat.

A comment period on the proposed logging ended on May 3 and the DNR will now decide whether to issue the permit within 30 days or put a pause on it to further study its impacts. The northern end of the logging area encompasses a popular hiking destination known as the DeLeo Wall, which offers sweeping views of Mt. Rainier and Newcastle.

“We are initially here trying to get DNR to pump the brakes and give us time to do a deeper analysis of that site,” Wyman said.

Aside from environmental concerns, the clear-cut would be a “scar” on the mountain, causing permanent damage to its woodland aesthetic. While Erickson Logging would replant the trees, which are a mixture of Douglas firs and deciduous, it would be decades before they grew enough to match the surrounding vegetation. The existing trees are roughly 80 years old.

Locals have started a citizen group known as Save DeLeo Wall. Eva Lundahl has written a book on the trails winding through forestland near Newcastle and is a member of the group. She is concerned about the potential loss of habitat, hiking trails and property value for nearby homeowners if the area is logged. Lundahl estimates affected homeowners could lose up to 10 percent of their property value on $1 million homes if the forest is logged.

The potential for slope destabilization, water run-off, fire danger from drying slash on the site and harm to salmon habitats were also on her list of concerns. The letter from the city of Newcastle to the DNR notes the logging area is close to May Creek, which is a salmon-bearing stream with “complex” and “fragile” characteristics. The land additionally has many steep and forested areas within it.

Dalpay Properites could not be reached for comment on this story.

Erickson Logging has attempted to clear-cut nearby areas of forestland in the past. The most recent attempt came in 2012 when the company purchased 226 acres of land near the headwaters of May Creek. This proposal was similarly met with resistance from locals before the property was purchased for $5 million by The Trust for Public Land and King County. It was subsequently turned into the Cougar/Squak Corridor Park.

This proposal also comes at the same time when a separate property owner on the east side of the Cougar Mountain park is trying to develop a 57-unit housing complex on 45 acres near Issaquah. The proposal has prompted a similar backlash in Issaquah as a group called Save Cougar Mountain has mounted a campaign to block development based on similar environmental concerns.


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@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.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.

A sign posted by Save DeLeo Wall along May Valley Road Southeast. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo

A sign posted by Save DeLeo Wall along May Valley Road Southeast. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo

More in News

Chinese police credentials used in scam case. (courtesy of Bellevue Police Department)
Police announce uptick of scammers posing as foreign officials in Bellevue

One case involved the use of Chinese police credentials to intimidate victims.

File photo
Brief history of rats in the Puget Sound region – and the problem they present

Local exterminator noticed big change in rats over the past 40 years.

Sponsor of the motion to establish guidelines for the removal of encampments, Councilmember Reagan Dunn (courtesy of King County Council)
King County Council discusses policy for removal of homeless encampments

Still unclear what the standards will be, who will enforce it, and how jurisdictions will interact.

Design rendering of new development (Courtesy of Runberg Architecture Group)
Vulcan purchases 1.4-acre property in Bellevue next to future light rail station

The real estate developer says the eight-story development will have about 250 units of housing.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Supreme Court rules officers can be compelled to testify about killings

In a joint lawsuit against King County, the Washington State Supreme Court… Continue reading

Stock photo
Face coverings again recommended for indoor public settings

Regardless of vaccination status, says Public Health – Seattle & King County

t
Firearm violence in King County on upward trend

King County prosecutors note a backlog in court cases, point to the pandemic as the reason why.

infographic created by Coltura
Study suggests that the top 10 percent of gasoline-using drivers consume one-third of all the gas

Researchers believe converting “gasoline superusers” is an important factor in meeting climate goals

King County Logo
County property purchased in Bellevue for Eastside supportive and affordable housing

The $186 million project is expected to be finished by 2023.

Most Read