Tuesday, January 29, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Snohomish County Plans Centennial Trail As One Link In A 44-Mile Chain

SNOHOMISH - The Centennial Trail between Snohomish and Arlington is envisioned as part of a massive recreational trail system making a loop into British Columbia and across the Cascade Mountains.

The Snohomish County Parks Department has now made plans to extend the trail to 44 miles, linking it with King and Skagit counties, said Mike Parman, project manager. It would run to the Burke-Gilman Trail in the south and to trails being developed by Skagit County to the north.

Eventually, the trail would extend to Sumas in Whatcom County at the Canadian border, and the British Columbia government would link the western and eastern sides of the Cascades, he said.

The trail would then travel through Eastern Washington, crossing the Cascades at the southern end by linking the John Wayne Trail, from Ellensburg to Cle Elum, with trails in the Snoqualmie Valley.

The Snohomish-to-Arlington trail is expected to open in the fall, said Parman. Development of the county's 44-mile system could occur in three to five years, he said.

For the most part, the Snohomish County part of the system will accommodate horses, bicyclists and hikers.

Full development of the 44-mile connection would cost an estimated $12.2 million. That includes trailhead facilities such as restrooms, concession

buildings and a paved trail.

``We can have a usable, nice trail for a lot less,'' said Parman. The cost for each mile of paved trail is $125,000, but for a gravel trail it is $25,000, he said.

U.S. Reps. John Miller, R-Seattle, and Al Swift, D-Bellingham, have asked Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan for $3 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help buy and develop the Snohomish County link.

With state and county money, there was $4.2 million available to spend on the trail system, about $650,000 now spent for expenses and to pay for all but 2.5 miles of the Snohomish-Arlington section. The county paid $382,000 to Burlington Northern for rights it had on the abandoned railroad right of way and $260,000 for a 27-acre section south of Lake Cassidy. Negotiations on the remaining parts of the section continue.

Trailheads along the 17-mile section have been identified, but the county does not have enough money to develop them yet. Full development of the path and trailheads would cost an estimated $5.4 million.

Construction will begin July 1 on the 7.3-mile southern section of the trail, from Pine and Maple streets in Snohomish to 20th Street in the Lake Stevens/Hartford area. It should be open in the fall. Construction, which will cost an estimated $1.3 million, will include paving a 12-foot-wide path on the railroad grade, with other areas within the 100-foot right of way for equestrians and bicyclists. It includes rebuilding five bridges.

The county also hopes to develop most of the trail between Lake Stevens and Arlington by fall, using crushed gravel for the path.

The section between Arlington and the Skagit County line is another nine miles. Going south, the plan is to link Snohomish and Monroe generally along the route of the Old Snohomish-Monroe Highway, by Lord Hill Regional Park, and then south to connect to the King County trail system. That will be another 10 to 12 miles. It will take a mile or two to get through each of the cities of Arlington, Snohomish and Monroe.

Because of booming growth in Snohomish County, its part of the trail system was listed as the top priority in the state by the national Trails to Rails organization.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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