Washington Trail Blazers

George B. Kniert: Active Trail Blazer Member for 53 Years

by Mike Swayne

George was born in Upper Preston Washington where is dad worked in the sawmill. The family moved to the Rose Hill area of Kirkland in the early 20’s. As a kid he liked to fish Kirkland (Forbes) Lake, catching cutthroat, crappy, sunfish, perch and bass. The cutthroat in those days could still get up the creek from Lake Washington. George left school during the depression to join the National Youth Administration, one of the Roosevelt New Deal programs to counter the massive unemployment of that time.

As he got older George and other friends would bicycle out to Ames and other nearby lakes and streams to fish. Sometimes a parent would give them a lift up to the North Fork where they would hike up and fish Hancock and Calligan Lakes, staying overnight at one of the cabins. Sometimes they could get a lift up to the bottom of Mason Ridge where they would hike into Kulla Kulla, Pratt, Tuscohatchie and Denny Lakes.

When Boeing started expanding just before the war, he got a job as riveter and then was drafted in 1942 trained for the 26th Air Service Squadron George served in North Africa and Italy where their motto was “We Kept Them Flying”.

After the war George got a job with Western Electric repairing equipment and started going into the hills again with his boyhood friend Jack Mathewson. One time they were at Derrick lake and met Hank Hoff and Paul Butler who invited them to come to the Trail Blazer meetings.

George joined the Trail Blazers in 1948 because he liked the people and going out into the mountains seeing new country and finding new lakes to plant. George does not have any children but took many young guys out and showed them how plant fish and travel in the mountains.

George is much too modest with his history and accomplishments, so further information is included from the Trail Blazer archives. It is interesting that “Quiet” George was in the 26th, which received little notoriety during or after the war. They never lost a person to an enemy bullet, nor were awarded any medals for bravery. They simply did their jobs as they were trained to do and made a large contribution to the war by making equipment available for other trained people to carry the attack to the enemy. Quiet George’s record with the Trail Blazers is a similar story. He did an incredible job behind the scenes so that thousands of people would have a quality alpine fishing experience.

George’s first plant was July 16, 1948 with “Swede” Carlson to a beaver pond near Drunken Charlie. His first plant as a sponsor was on June 6, 1949 to Marten Lake up the Taylor River with 5000 rainbow. It was a typical early Trail Blazer plant with several people to carry the fish in cans. Other plants that George made or helped out on in the 40’s and 50’s read like a litany of traditional Trail Blazer activities. Lakes planted during this period included:

In the late 50’s and 60’s George continued traditional plants but started moving north to the Skagit, east to Kittitas, Chelan and Okanogan, and south to Yakima and Lewis. Some of theses were named by George and planted for the first time. These “Non-traditional” area plants included:

Lakes that George named include:

Lake NameTown.RangeSectionOrigin
Jungfrau 24N 14E 05B Named after a young lady.
Frank's Pond23N 14E 19K Named for trapper Frank Abbot who had a small cabin nearby.
Deadhead 24N 13E 36M Named after logs that stick up in lake.
Frog 22N 11E 20A Named after all the frogs in the area.
Enjar 34N 12E 19B Scandinavian origin but he forgets what it means
Hamar 34N 12E 19B Scandinavian origin relating to meadows in area
Arrowhead 34N 12E 17M Named after shape of lake.
Neori (Skaro )34N 12E 16L Originally called Skaro by Kniert is called Neori on map
Skaro (Neori)34N 12E 16N Scandinavian origin but he forgets what it means. The map makers switched Neori and Skaro.
Long Gone 33N 13E 04C Named after its remote location.
Half-Can 33N 13E 03H Named after type of fish can.
Duffters Puddles 33N 12E 35D,M & N Named for Ed Conroy who failed to get a grouse on trip to Horse Lake
Slim 33N 13E 10G Named after shape of Lake
Woods 33N 13E 09H Named for ranger in Darrington
Cecil's 24N 11E 13F Named for George’s brother who died in 1919.
Gus'24N 11E 13J Named for George’s father.
Bertha 26N 12E 10K Named for George’s mother.
Jack's 26N 12E 01D Named for friend Jack Mathewson
George's 24N 12E 34E Named by friends for George