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This cache has been archived.

hydnsek: Surprised this cache hasn't gone missing before, considering its location. It had a nice long run, nearly 5 years, and helped educate folks on stream health and the kokanee salmon.


KQ: Lewis Creek

A cache by hydnsek Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/18/2015
2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

This cache was originally part of the Kokanee Quest, a series of nine geocaches that highlighted the restoration of the kokanee salmon in the Lake Sammamish watershed.

The geocache is not at the posted coordinates, although it's a good place to park. Read the page to figure out the correct coordinates to find the cache.

Bellevue's Lewis Creek Park is a popular recreational hangout on Lakemont Blvd, and its visitor center is a community gathering place for environmental education. More than 80 percent of the 55-acre park is preserved in its natural condition. The park contains the headwaters of Lewis Creek and offers three diverse habitats to explore - wetland, grassland, and forest - all accessible by boardwalks and soft-surface trails.

Kokanee salmon spawn in lower Lewis Creek near Lake Sammamish, but they can't reach the park due to a fish barrier and the steep uphill gradient. However, the creek's headwaters play an important role in fish survival. Walk the trail and boardwalk around the wetlands. How much water can you see? Much of the wetland’s water is held in the soil, which offers several environmental advantages, including removing contaminants and sediment.

Unfortunately, human impact increases water pollution, and Lewis Creek's headwaters are surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Water from irrigation and rain washes over streets and yards, collecting fertilizers, pesticides, soap, motor oil, pet waste, and other pollutants. This runoff flows into storm drains untreated and pollutes the nearby streams and wetlands, all the way down to Lake Sammamish.

To determine the correct cache coordinates, answer the questions below. Match the correct North coordinates with the correct West ones to get the complete final coordinates.

  1. Which of the following is not a community benefit of headwater wetlands, such as those in Lewis Creek Park? Reference link

    A. Warming the water = N 47° 33.024
    B. Filtering out pollutants = N 47° 32.970
    C. Slowing runoff to reduce erosion = N 47° 33.017
    D. Providing wildlife habitat = N 47° 33.142

  2. What's the best way to wash your car without polluting local streams, lakes, and wetlands?
    Reference link

    A. Don’t use soap = W 122° 07.431
    B. Use biodegradable soap = W 122° 07.229
    C. Go to a commercial car wash = W 122° 07.518
    D. Don’t wash your car = W 122° 07.386

This cache was placed with the permission and support of the City of Bellevue.

Unlike other salmon, the Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon lives its entire life in fresh water. Kokanee spawn in tributary creeks, and their offspring migrate to the lake as they mature, then return to their home creeks as adults to spawn the next generation.

Historically, the kokanee filled a critical ecological role within the Lake Sammamish watershed and was an important food and cultural resource for local tribes. But this "little red fish" has experienced a dramatic decline, leading to near-extinction in recent years.

To address the kokanee's plight, citizens, landowners, nonprofit agencies, and local, state, tribal, and federal governments have united to restore native kokanee salmon populations and the ecological integrity of the greater Lake Sammamish basin. In 2013, this group received an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (UWRP) designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one of the first in the country.

The Kokanee Quest was sponsored by the Lake Sammamish UWRP, a consortium led by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (KC DNRP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Onfr bs ohfu.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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