Jean White, King County Parks Regional Trail Program Manager
King County Parks is dedicated to stewarding and expanding a high quality regional trails network for people of all ages and abilities, races and income levels to walk, bike or otherwise enjoy nature with friends and family. Parks manages 175 miles of Regional Trails in King County including portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, the East Lake Sammamish Trail, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, the Issaquah-Preston Trail, the Cedar River Trail and the Soos Creek Trail.
As part of Parks’ focus on trails, as well as to engage other jurisdictions in the region, Parks initiated the formation of a Regional Trails Coalition with representatives from four counties, over 20 cities as well as NGOs, community organizations, local business interests, and others passionate about maintaining and growing our regional trail system in the central Puget Sound area.
Created from a key stakeholder group of trail managers in 2018, the larger coalition kicked off with a day-long summit held on October 18, 2018 at the Mercer Island Community Center. This initial meeting addressed issues such as setting coalition priorities, creating a more accessible and equitable trail system, creating better corporate partnerships, and branding the network.
Additional meetings over 2019 will help define the scope and direction of the coalition and will look at funding strategies to operate the coalition as an independent organization. The aim is for the coalition to be a conduit for a shared vision that incorporates King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap Counties, creating a truly regional network and a world-class trail system for everyone to enjoy. For more information on the Regional Trails Coalition or to be added to the coalition email list, please contact Jean White, King County Parks Regional Trail Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Trails are a priority in the upcoming Executive’s Proposal for the 2020-2025 Parks, Trails and Open Space Replacement Levy that King County Executive Dow Constantine recently transmitted to King County Council. Under this levy proposal, King County will:
- Construct several portions of the Eastside Rail Corridor connecting Bellevue to Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville. Once these projects are completed, 11.8 miles of the trail will be open to the public.
- Design and construct 2.75 miles of the Lake to Sound Trail, creating a continuous paved trail from the Cedar River at Lake Washington to Des Moines Beach Park.
- Complete the last 3.6-mile segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. This last segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail will complete the 44-mile long “Locks to Lakes” corridor, linking Seattle from Ballard to the Eastside and the Cascade Foothills.
- Close the Foothills Trail “gap” between the cities of Enumclaw and Buckley by constructing the trail approaches and a bridge over the White River connecting to the 21-mile Foothills Trail in Pierce County.
- Extend the existing 19 mile-long Green River Trail north 1.4 miles from Tukwila into Seattle’s South Park community, closing a critical gap in the regional trail network.
- Construct the first 1.8 miles of the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail, from the Cedar River Trail to Lake Wilderness Park in the heart of the City of Maple Valley. This project will improve the existing soft surface trail to make it more accessible to trail visitors of all ages and abilities.
- Improve safety and maintenance along the South Interurban Trail which links Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Algona, and Pacific along a near-straight 14 mile-long alignment.