Former Mountaineers Snoqualmie Lodge property to be sold

Mountaineers seeks buyer for former Snoqualmie Lodge property
Martinique Grigg Martinique Grigg
February 10, 2015
Former Mountaineers Snoqualmie Lodge property to be sold


At the January 2015 meeting, the Mountaineers Board of Directors announced its decision to seek a buyer for the 77-acre property that was once the site of the historic Snoqualmie Lodge.

The property, located off Exit 53 on Interstate 90, was purchased in 1944 by The Mountaineers, an outdoor recreation, education and conservation organization. The rustic 4,000-square-foot lodge was built by an all-volunteer crew in 1948. The three-story Snoqualmie Lodge was used as a base camp, outdoor training facility, and program center for more than 50 years until it was destroyed by a fire in May 2006.

The property, surrounded by popular skiing and hiking trails, has been vacant ever since, and is monitored by a full-time caretaker who lives on-site. “Monitoring a vacant lot is not the best use of our money or energy, and continued ownership does not help us maximize the property’s potential or further our mission,” said Martinique Grigg, Executive Director, The Mountaineers. “Continued ownership of the empty parcel also exposes us to potential risk from trespassers or vandals.”

In Oct. 2013, The Mountaineers Board of Directors established a committee to explore options for the future use or disposal of the property. Three town hall meetings were held to gather member input. Committee members also spoke with more than 15 recreation and conservation organizations to solicit feedback, and conducted extensive research on possible options for property disposal.

The Mountaineers has not yet determined how funds from the future property sale will be used. For the time being, the money will go into a reserve fund. “Thanks to our solid financial footing and stable management team, we are under no time constraints to spend the money quickly,” said Grigg. “We will consider a variety of options consistent with our mission to help people enjoy the outdoors. These might include youth initiatives, outdoor adventure programs, classes or outdoor centers.”

The Board of Directors believes that the timing of the sale is not reliant on market trends. “The property is unique and it will rely on finding a buyer who is interested in its unique qualities,” said Dan Lauren, board president. “We are committed to finding not only the right deal with the right people that offers our organization an attractive return, but also one that respects our conservation and recreation values.”

The Mountaineers was founded in 1906 to help people explore, conserve, learn about and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The group offers programs and training, outdoor trips and events. It has seven branch locations serving some 10,500 members as well as four lodges and two program centers in Seattle and Tacoma. Its publishing arm, Mountaineers Books, has more than 700 titles in print.

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Susan Lyon
Susan Lyon says:
Feb 12, 2015 05:23 PM

What a shame! 77 acres at Snoqualmie Pass for which The Mountaineers pay only $7,500 per year in property taxes! How very sad that an organization who leaders in the past managed to acquire this property now lacks the imagination, direction and desire to use it effectively and at the very least to preserve it for future Mountaineer projects in the years ahead. This is another step backwards for this once fine organization.

Geoffrey Lawrence
Geoffrey Lawrence says:
Feb 20, 2015 02:00 PM

Thank you for commenting about the sale of the Snoqualmie property. As you know, our mission is to enrich the community and help people enjoy the outdoors. It would be wonderful if The Mountaineers had unlimited funding and staff/volunteer resources to preserve every legacy and embrace all initiatives. Unfortunately, that is not the case and the Snoqualmie property has been under-utilized for many years, particularly since the lodge was destroyed by fire in 2006.

I was a volunteer member of the subcommittee that explored property options -- the third such subcommittee within the past 15 years but the first to arrive at a recommendation -- and I can attest that all options were explored with as many stakeholders as possible. Our deliberate process lasted nearly 1 ½ years. The unanimous recommendation was that we can best achieve our mission by using the proceeds of a sale to fund other programs and initiatives that move our organization forward. We realized this action would not be viewed positively by all and we appreciate your taking the time to let your voice be heard.

Eric Land
Eric Land says:
Mar 01, 2015 09:05 AM

Sad day for the organization! That is one of the most valuable assets the group has and now they are anxious to dispose of it. Guess the board would rather build another fake rock wall in the city instead of getting people out into actual mountains.

Eric Linxweiler
Eric Linxweiler says:
Mar 05, 2015 10:10 AM

This wasn't a quick decision. Rather, it's been years in discussion. This property isn't used, and a recent study showed that there's not much value to the organization in developing it. So, why not sell it and use the money to get a new property that Mountaineers will use? Mazama Climbing Ranch? Leavenworth Lodge? Olympic Outdoor Center? I'm excited about what's next!