Wednesday, September 23, 2015

News and Reports for Snohomish County (and beyond) Long Distance Trails, Biking, Hiking, and Equestrian

Bridge 9 at mile 11.8 on the Whitehorse Trail
There have been several very interesting bits of news lately.  People regularly ask a few of the same questions.  This post will try to sum up the developments.

Snohomish County Public Works is making great progress on the Whitehorse Trail bridge decking project.  Bridge 709 on the County's list is now decked and ready for when the trail gets opened.  That is the eighth bridge completed in less than a year.  Wow!

There are only 4 bridges left on the trail that have no decking: one over Montague Creek near Whitman Road, across Boulder River, over French Creek, and at Fortson Pond.

The County is still planning to finish decking and installing railing on all the bridges this year.  Two of the bridges are also needing some work in the stream channel.  The time during which that type of work can be done, the "fish window", has passed for this year.  Russ Bosanko, operations manager for Snohomish County Parks reports that Public Works plans to work on the superstructure this year and then next year they can do the work in the stream channel.

Bridge 8 (708 on county list) Mile 10.8
The county is currently working on a design to present to WSDOT for the highway crossing east of Cicero on the Whitehorse Trail.  County Public Works or WSDOT has property that might allow a slight  trail routing in that area to make the crossing more visible with a better line of sight that will allow a second at grade trail crossing across SR 530.  This will be a key factor in continuing plans to open the trail.  Snohomish County Parks wants to open the entire trail in one go rather than in sections, and the two crossings of SR 530 are integral to that plan.  The original railroad opened to Darrington in 1901.  Within about a year we hope to see a new grand opening.

The Whitehorse Trail will re-open in the Oso slide area and there is funding for that.  The County has also purchased 13 acres with conservation futures dollars in the Oso slide area for a possible memorial that the families will determine what is appropriate.  Any land bought with FEMA funds can not be used for development in the future, not park or even trails.

Another regular question that gets sent to the Centennial Trail Coalition is: "When is Skagit County going to open the trail north of the Centennial Trail?"   Well, I have very good news from Washington Bikes.  On a recent ride with a number of local bike clubs, John Pope was talking about the current and future success of the US Bicycle Route System in Washington and he has been reassured that Skagit County is now working on agreements and right of way to connect the Centennial Trail through to Sedro Woolley.  This would become part of a US Bicycle Route 87 that will connect Vancouver Washington to the Canadian Border.  People in Skagit County are impressed and reassured by the rave enthusiasm for the Centennial Trail and how well it is being enjoyed by the communities and homeowners along the route in Snohomish County.  They want to expand the system north.

Russ Bosanko of Snohomish County Parks also says that the survey work for connecting the Centennial Trail to Monroe has been done now, and that the County will have $500,000 per year for developing this project starting in 2018 through 2021.

There will soon be one more bird on the Centennial Trail bridge over the Stillaguamish River north of Haller Park.  Then Centennial Trail Coalition along with the Arlington Arts Council, has contributed  a bit more money on top of the help with the purchase, so that a mounting can be made.  Snohomish County Public Works Bridge Crew will soon install the new art work by Dan Brown.
US Bicycle Route System in WashingtonThe
US Bicycle Route System in Washington
US Bicycle Route System in Washington
US Bicycle Route System in Washington
US Bicycle Route System in Washington

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Centennial Trail History Walk

Centennial Trail History Walk leads hikers through Snohomish County’s past.

Question: What was the first railroad to build into Snohomish County and what is much of its right-of-way called today?
Answer: The Seattle, Lakeshore, and Eastern RR, which is now known as the Centennial Trail

Want to learn more fun facts about Snohomish County heritage?  Then grab your walking shoes or hop on a bike - or put the kids in the stroller and make your way down the Centennial Trail, Sunday, Sept 13th from 11a.m. – 3p.m. to learn local history along the former tribal route and early-century transportation corridor.

The Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission will offer activities for kids, hands-on interactive exhibits and a chance to touch historic artifacts at four different sites along the 30 miles of historic rail line. The event is free.

Specific activities are located at these four trailheads:
•             Nakashima – 32328 SR-9, Arlington
•             Bryant -26804 SR9, Arlington
•             Machias – 1624 Virginia St., Snohomish
•             Snohomish – Pine and Maple, Snohomish

“The Centennial Trail History Walk will be a fun way to learn about our local heritage, said Historic Preservation Commissioner, Chris Jenkins.  We wanted to offer an experience that would make learning Sno Co. history more engaging and because the trail has such a rich history of its own – a discovery walk on the trail allows the participants to put facts into context.”

Snohomish County started to develop sections of the Centennial Trail in 1989 during the State’s centennial celebration. Today the rail alignment is part of a developing regional trail network connecting to Woodinville, Monroe, Everett, Lake Stevens, Arlington and Skagit County. The Centennial Trail is one of the region’s most popular attractions. Walking, biking, skating and horseback riding activate the trail each and every day. The Centennial Trail provides safe access to local surface transportation for more than 520,000 users every year.

Can’t make it to the Centennial Trail History Walk? Don’t let that stop you from learning great stories of the people and industries that made an impact on our community in the fields of agriculture, timber and rail online at

For more information about the walk, contact Wendy Becker, Snohomish County Cultural and Economic Development Manager at

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.