Notes from Newcastle: Newcastle Trails at 15

October 3, 2014

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Garry Kampen

This year is the 20th anniversary of Newcastle, a small city that ranks high in livability, and the 15th anniversary of Newcastle Trails, a nonprofit citizens group that has worked for parks, trails and open space, in close cooperation with the city, since 1999.

I’m writing to celebrate Newcastle’s amazing and still-growing trail system, and to encourage you to explore it and enjoy it. Check NT’s website, www.newcastletrails.org; download our latest map and trail guide; join NT by emailing info@newcastletrails.org (for trail news, no dues); attend our Oct. 6 board meeting (7 p.m. at Regency Newcastle); and consider volunteering for the board, or lending a hand with trail work, computer work (GIS, web, writing), lobbying, fundraising — whatever you’d like to do. Read more

Art installation recalls Cougar Mountain’s coal mining past

April 3, 2014

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is now home to a unique land-art installation that pays tribute to the area’s coal mining past.

The project, entitled “Black Forest (29,930,000 tons),” is spread across the forest floor in the form of nearly 50,000 pounds of biochar, environmentally friendly charcoal that appears similar to the coal that was once mined from the mountain.

“It was kind of the launching point,” artist Hans Baumann said, “this idea about rethinking what the park was, and trying to reinterpret its history in a way that might be visually compelling.”

By Kate Smigiel Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

By Kate Smigiel
Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

The Cougar Mountain trails hold the stories of the region’s past, which included about a century of mining. Park visitors literally stand in the midst of history as they pass abandoned mine shafts, find remnants of carts and railroads, and discover stray pieces of coal.

Read more