Sunday, July 19, 2015

Washington State Budget hits the trails

I suspect that you, like me, are busy enjoying the summer season, and your plans are getting pretty complicated, getting out on family holidays and taking some vacation days while still trying to keep up with community plans and projects.

In the midst of all this, my inbox of email and local news has also been busy, and I want to take a moment to share some of that news.  

Blake Trask, Washington Bikes State Policy Director writes: "The transportation package – finally passed by the Washington State Legislature after our intensive lobbying through the regular session and three special sessions – establishes a set of investments at levels never before seen in our state. In total, the 16-year package contains approximately $500 million to make biking better and Washingtonians safer.
These investments represent a sevenfold increase from the last transportation package, passed in 2005. That funding bill contained commitments of only $72 million for biking, walking, and Safe Routes to Schools over a similar 16-year period."

Russ Bosanko, Snohomish County Parks & Recreation Division Manager for Park Capital and Operations,  writes: "Please see information below that I shared with the Park Advisory Board yesterday….the only request that we did not get was the restrooms at Whitehorse Community Park.
·  RCO grants for Cavelero ( $500,000), Esperance ( $508,600), Hooven Bog ( $492,750), Lake Stickney ( (295,000), Wenberg ( $614,000 + 592,599), Whitehorse Trail ( $1.1million + $1,000,004) for a total of $ 5,102,953."

Two articles from the Everett Herald deserve attention:

Budget includes $3.83M to expand activities for Stilly Valley youth

"Published: ARLINGTON — Local parks, trails, ballfields and the crowded Boys & Girls Club building are about to be upgraded thanks to a state spending package focused on young people in the Stillaguamish Valley.
...."Another $1 million has been set aside for the Whitehorse Trail, a 27-mile-long corridor between Arlington and Darrington. Officials have been talking about paving the entire stretch, Klein said.
“That would be huge for bicyclists,” he said."

Feds give $7.6 million for Oso mudslide recovery expenses

"Published: EVERETT — When Snohomish County leaders got word this week that Uncle Sam would cut a multimillion-dollar check for Oso mudslide expenses, it was welcome news.....Rebuilding the recreational Whitehorse Trail through the slide area is expected to cost $1.4 million and isn’t expected to start until next year, he said."

And Other News:

An example of the degraded state of the old bricks.
CTCSC Board member working away to make the
plaza look better, putting new bricks and
cleaning the site.
Members of the Centennial Trail Coalition were also busy making improvements at the Resilience Plaza, the junction of the Whitehorse Trail and the Centennial Trail where there is a very nice arch and the location for commemorative bricks.  The CTCSC board had noticed that the original bricks that were engraved and placed were not holding up well.  After consulting with Artistic Sandblasting NW, we found a better brick and decided to invest in upgrading all of the engraved bricks at Resilience Plaza.  Even with an early morning start, it was hot work on two separate days, taking out the old bricks and putting in the more nicely engraved new bricks.

Take time to visit the plaza just north of Haller Park and the bridge over the Stillaguamish River.  There is lots of space for more engraved bricks.  We enjoy the recognition of many who have helped make the Centennial Trail possible, and there are other bricks that just remember family members or special events.  We love to see all the art that enhances the trail, and this is fine part of that.

The lower bricks in this photo shows the improved
brick and engraving.  All of the bricks have now been
And a special big thanks to Bernie at Artistic Sandblasting NW for her generous help and consultation.

 The decking project for bridges on the Whitehorse Trail continues  on pace to be completed this year.  Snohomish County Public Works is currently doing some very nice work armoring the abutments and decking the bridge at Oso where the Whitehorse Trail crosses Deer Creek.   The old railroad bridges are in remarkably good shape considering many of them may be approaching their 100th anniversary.  Where needed, the Public Works engineers are installing new timbers, I-beams, and support structures.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A busy year on the Whitehorse Trail, past present and future

2014 was a year of great progress on the Whitehorse Trail, and it just keeps getting better.

At the very end of 2013 the CTCSC was proud to help fund improvements on the "Tin Bridge", the first bridge along the trail as one leaves The Centennial Trail and heads along the old rail line towards Darrington.

A year ago we were hopefully thinking of some steady slow progress along the trail, maybe a few more bridges decked and ready for use, maybe some critically need brushing in a few more areas.

Last summer we saw a huge improvement with the tremendous brushing and trail crossing improvements from Oso to Darrington.  Places that looked like this weed choked segment near Swede Heaven Road:

Were converted into long stretches of wide open and accessible trail with new improved access at road crossings for both the public and the maintenance crews. 

Snohomish County Parks has shown a serious and comprehensive commitment to getting the trail open and to fixing existing and developing problems.  This washout near Darrington was repaired so that people and bikes and horses can now pass:

This past winter there was a worsening of a spot along the trail in Oso where Deer Creek rushes right next to the trail.  Thanks to the recent brushing, Snohomish County Parks quickly saw that both the trail and State Route 530 were in danger of collapse, and they quickly worked with other agencies to prevent further erosion:

The list of activity is still growing!  Thanks to an incredibly generous private donation and continued work by Snohomish County Public Works, four more bridges are now ready for use, one is in progress getting repaired and decked, and Snohomish County Parks is working to get all of the remaining bridges repaired.

The Whitehorse Trail promises to be a great addition for long distance non-motorized recreation in Snohomish County.  The Centennial Trail Coalition is continuing to advocate for expansion of the network of trails that connect with the Centennial Trail with beautiful opportunities for hikers, bike riders, and equestrian recreation throughout the area.  Join us in sharing your ideas and suggestions.  We would love to see you at our next General Meeting, Thursday, March 26, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Stillaguamish Conference Room, 154 W Cox Ave. Arlington Public Welcome, bring questions, comments, suggestions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Upcoming Events: Eagle Festival and McClinchy Mile bike ride

Are you getting out on the trails and enjoying this incredibly mild mid-winter weather?  Is it going to stay this way?  Well, whether the weather changes or not, the Centennial Trail Coalition would like to see you out on the trails in the next few weeks.

Historic Mule Barn at the Darrington end of the Whitehorse Trail
The Arlington-Stillaguamish Eagle Festival, February 6 and 7 should give you some fresh reasons to get out.  New this year are some events in the Darrington area that will directly connect with the Whitehorse Trail.  The Centennial Trail Coalition will be out to enjoy the day at the Historic Forest Service Mule Barn from 10-2 on Saturday, February 7th.  Some of our members will also help at  Fortson Mill where you can learn the history of the old mill pond on the Whitehorse Trail which is now a Snohomish County Park.  The day of events should give a good reason to get outside.

While you are in the mood for getting all that activity planned, maybe we will see you at the McClinchy Mile Oso Strong Ride this year that is put on by B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County, Sunday March 15th, 2015.  B.I.K.E.S. Club is supporting the Centennial Trail Coalition with a donation to our advocacy effort from the proceeds for the ride.

Visit us and share your ideas and questions and observations about long distance non-motorized trails in Snohomish County.  We want to hear your ideas about walking, bike riding, and horse back riding opportunities.