By Polly Keary, Editor
The goal of some local trail enthusiasts of seeing the 30-mile Centennial Trail extended from Snohomish to Monroe seems to be gaining momentum.
Last week, a group of Monroe Centennial Trail boosters met with the Snohomish County Parks Department and left the meeting optimistic that the long-held dream could become a reality.
The Centennial Trail is a 30-mile long stretch of railroad bed that has been made into a wide, paved trail suitable for walking, biking and horseback riding. It currently extends from the Skagit County line to Snohomish.
Eventually, it could extend to Monroe through the Snohomish River flood plain, arriving at Lake Tye and connecting to existing trails there.
Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas and Planning Commissioner Jeff Rasmussen, during campaigns last year, both said they believe that the trail would be good for both the health of the townspeople and the economy of the town. Many events, including triathlons and other competitions, could make use of it, and recreational bicyclists could ride to Monroe.
Last year there were 20 competitive events on the existing trail.
Tim Hemmann of Monroe, who enjoys walking and hiking, got interested in the possibility of the trail extension about two years ago when reading of it in the Monroe Monitor, he said.
“The article had several people quoted one was (former Monroe economic development manager) Jeff Sax, and he made a comment about the potential of punching the Centennial Trail from Snohomish to Monroe,” he said. “That thought had never occurred to me. So I got a hold of the Snohomish County Parks Department and I found that they had some preliminary planning going on about that already, and I found about the Centennial Trail Coalition Group.”
During the campaign season, Snohomish County Parks Director Tom Teigen discussed the challenges to extending the trail.
The Parks Department already owns most of the land required, but the trail will still take several million dollars to complete.
Doing things like building paved trails and bridges in wetlands is not cheap. And there are streams to cross.
The best thing to do for those who want the trail extension would be to get involved, talking to local officials and requesting that the money be allocated to the project.
Last week, it appeared that trail boosters were doing just that, said Hemmann. In attendance were Patsy Cudaback of the Monroe City Council, representatives from both Snohomish and Monroe, and a number of interested citizens.
“There were 14 of us, and that was good,” he said. “I feel like maybe we are gaining a little traction.”
The county plans to survey the land and will reconvene to discuss the trail in six months.