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KQ: Issaquah Creek

A cache by Save the Kokanee! Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/18/2015
2 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

This cache is part of the Kokanee Quest, a series of nine geocaches that highlight the restoration of the kokanee salmon in the Lake Sammamish watershed. If you're participating in the Quest, be sure to stamp your passport with the ink stamp to verify your visit for the prize.

Note: The Kokanee Quest will end Jan. 31, 2019. All passports must be submitted before Feb. 10 to receive the pathtag prize.

The geocache is not at the posted coordinates. Read the page to figure out the correct coordinates to find the cache, which is in Lake Sammamish State Park. A Discover Pass is required for parking.

Issaquah Creek is the largest tributary to Lake Sammamish, and historically was one of the primary spawning streams for kokanee salmon. But first farming and then the homes and businesses of a rapidly growing community reduced the ability of the stream habitat to support kokanee. When Lake Sammamish State Park opened in the 1950s, visitors trampled the natural shoreline, destroying vegetation and causing erosion, leading to a lifeless waterfront that no longer supported salmon.

Over the past decade, Washington State Parks, in partnership with the City of Issaquah, King County, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, has restored nearly five acres of habitat around the creek mouth to improve conditions for fish and wildlife. This shoreline habitat is particularly critical to kokanee fry, which migrate here soon after they hatch. The goal is to restore a self-sustaining kokanee population of appr. 10,000 spawning adults on Issaquah Creek.

As you walk the trail and boardwalk, you'll pass through the restored habitat. The boardwalk ends at a viewing platform by the creek mouth. You can go down the stairs and follow a short trail to the shoreline for great views of the lake. To your left, you'll see more of the restoration, including large logs and rootstocks that were placed (and anchored) to provide pools and resting areas for kokanee fry.

Also check out the underwater Kokanee Cam, which shows kokanee returning to spawn in Ebright Creek.

The posted coordinates take you to the boardwalk. To determine the correct cache coordinates, stroll the boardwalk and read the interpretive signs to find the answers to the questions below. Then substitute the numbers for the code letters in the final coordinate puzzle at the bottom.

  • What three salmon species currently spawn in Issaquah Creek?

    1. Chinook, coho, sockeye
    2. Chinook, coho, chum
    3. Chinook, coho, pink
    4. Chinook, sockeye, chum

    A = number before answer

  • As recently as the _____, thousands of kokanee spawned in Issaquah Creek each year.

    5. 1960s
    6. 1970s
    7. 1980s
    8. 1990s

    B = number before answer

  • How many years do kokanee spend in Lake Sammamish before returning to their home streams to spawn?

    1. 1-2 years
    2. 2-3 years
    3. 3-4 years

    C = number before answer

  • Which of these is not one of the ways that the area has been restored to improve kokanee survival?

    4. Deepening the creek channel to remove sediment and provide better fish passage.
    5. Placing woody debris to protect juvenile salmon.
    6. Planting native shrubs and grasses to filter pollutants and prevent erosion.
    7. Adding shoreline trees to shade and cool the water.

    D = number before answer

Final:   N 47° 33.[B-A]C[D+D] W 122° 03.[A+B][D-A]0

Substitute the numbers you got for A,B,C,D into the coordinate string above to determine the final three digits of latitude and longitude. [Brackets] are merely for grouping.

The Kokanee Quest series provides information on kokanee salmon, our local environment, and stewardship of the Lake Sammamish watershed.

  • There are nine geocaches in the series, and all the names start with "KQ:" Bookmark list of caches.
  • Download the passport and map.
  • To get the final coordinates for each cache, you must correctly answer the questions on the cache page. (All nine geocaches are multi or puzzle caches.)
  • To qualify for a prize, you must stamp the passport with the ink stamp inside each cache. The passport includes instructions for claiming your prize (250 available).
  • A Discover Pass is required to park at the two Lake Sammamish State Park locations.
  • Share your adventures with #KokaneeQuest.

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 is sponsored by the Kokanee Work Group section of 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).

  1. This geocache has an approved Permit to be placed at this location on property managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Visitors are responsible for acquainting themselves with policies and rules pertaining to State Parks areas.
  2. The following items may not be placed in the geocache: food, illegal substances, medications, personal hygiene products, pornographic materials, hazardous materials, or weapons of any type.
  3. By searching for the cache, visitors agree that they are responsible for their own actions, and acknowledge that neither the State of Washington nor the cache owner is responsible for any loss or injury that may occur in relation to such search.
  4. Report any incident, problem, or violation to State Parks staff.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Haqre orapu

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



208 Logged Visits

Found it 187     Didn't find it 8     Write note 4     Publish Listing 1     Needs Maintenance 1     Owner Maintenance 7     

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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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