|People are out enjoying the newly cleared trail|
For several years now, members of the Centennial Trail Coalition (CTCSC) have been lobbying, and promoting, and contributing to the continued full development of this great Snohomish County Parks resource. Promoting of the Whitehorse Trail has been a natural continuation of the 25 year history that CTCSC has had pushing to create public pedestrian spaces built on the old railroad lines in the county. The Centennial Trail has finally come all the way to completion, but that success story took many years. Snohomish County Parks and the towns along the trail overcame the challenges, and now the Centennial Trail is the busiest park and trail in Snohomish County.
Members of the CTCSC asked themselves, "With the success of the Centennial Trail, what's next?" The Whitehorse Trail presented a very ready and appealing opportunity, but realistically it was also going to be a long process. Fourteen bridges needed decking and handrails to make them safe. Miles of trail needed brushing and drainage. New trailheads for access needed land purchases and development.
|A view of the ferocious Himalayan blackberry.|
A year ago advocates were asking, "Can we get one or two bridges decked, some gravel on another mile, and a little more trail rescued from the Himalayan blackberry?"
We will have to remind ourselves of those modest, realistic goals when reveling in the incredible generous developments that have come in this one amazing summer.
On October 7th I bicycled in complete awe and wonder from Oso to Darrington where 16.5 of those miles are now a beautiful wide open and cleared path. On the way I encountered two of the hard working crews that helped make this happen. Using funding from Federal grants for employment development and economic recovery, Workforce Snohomish worked with Snohomish County Parks and kept several crews busy all summer long clearing what had been a neglected and marginally maintained trail east of Oso.
That work alone would be a success to rave about, but more is happening! With the combination of a very generous donation, and other grants, Snohomish County Parks director Tom Teigen says that all of the bridges will be decked and handrails installed before the end of this year. Also, a grant is set to proceed with laying down 4 miles of proper gravel on the westernmost end of the trail.
Wait, the wonders are not yet all listed!
|Fortson Mill entrance|
Closer to Darrington, the washout that has eaten into the trail has been circumvented with a good path.
Here is a summary of the trail status, starting from the Resilience Arch at the junction with the Centennial Trail. Remember that sections of the trail are still in development and the bridges that are not yet safely decked are closed for use.
|Typical conditions mile 0 to 3.4|
From mp 14.8 to 15.8 one mile of trail was destroyed in the Oso Mudslide, but there is funding to replace this lost section, and it will get re-opened.
|The Oso Slide viewed from the newly opened Hwy 530|
From C-Post Road to Darrington (15.8 - 26.9) the trail has been nicely cleared and is very usable except for three bridges that will soon be decked.
Come out and see the trail. Darrington is a good place to start. Check the map to find other access points, such as Cloverdale Farm, Oso, Whitman Road, C-Post Road, or Fortson Mill.