Sumner’s trail link may be extended with grant
From Seattle to Mt. Rainier, a continuous system of trails very nearly stretches the entire way.
With 0.37 mile of new construction, the Sumner Urban to Mountain Trail could connect the 38 miles of uninterrupted trails from Seattle to the Foothills Trail, which leads up into Mt. Rainier. The city of Sumner applied for a grant to complete the project from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) which was founded by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC.)
The WWRC is a historically bi-partisan, non-profit group of individuals who are dedicated to the preservation of recreation, farming, conservation, business and other interests of the community. The sole purpose of the WWRC is to advocate for the federal funding of the WWRP grants. Cynara Lilly, spokesperson for the WWRC, said that the mission of the WWRC and WWRP goes much deeper than creating beautiful neighborhoods and maintaining critical habitats in the area.
“It goes beyond having wonderful parks and protecting the environment,” Lilly said. “It’s a part of our economy and tourist dollars.”
WWRP grants are given to projects that are chosen through an un-biased and highly scientific process by a state agency, the Recreation and Conservation Office, she added.
Similar to countless other causes, the WWRP is facing considerable cuts — numbered at $30 million —during this time of economic negotiations between the House and the Senate. For the time being, Sumner’s grant request seems to be out of the crossfire, although other WWRP grants will suffer greatly, said WWRC Outreach Director Tom Bugert. Both the Senate and the House versions of the capital budget list a grant to the Sumner Urban to Mountain Trail for $978,999. Only time will tell if Sumner ultimately receives the grant. The budget must first be passed and then signed by the governor.
“What’s going to happen next is the House and Senate will enter into negotiations,” explained Bugert. “I think it’s highly likely that the Sumner (Urban to Mountain Trail) project will receive the grant because of its appearance on both the House and Senate budgets for $979,000. It could be weeks before we know for sure but it definitely looks good.”
According to the grant request, prepared by Sumner Associate City Engineer Ted Hill and Sumner Communications Director Carmen Palmer, the completion of the trail will encourage environmental responsibility, outdoor recreational activities and “long-range financial stability to provide a balance of city services.” Palmer said that the proposed trail section is an integral part of the trail system.
“Getting (the Sumner Urban to Mountain Trail) funded and completed will give us one giant step forward to a regional trail system for recreation, commuting and enjoying the outdoors year-round,” Palmer said.