Coalition staff attended the Washington Trails Coalition Conference in eastern Washington this month to network and educate about the WWRP.
Every two years, trail stakeholders from around Washington gather to share best practices, network, and learn what is exciting and new about all things trails. Over 200 trails leaders from business, nonprofits, and municipal, county, state, and federal agencies descended upon Richland, WA for a fantastic three days. This year, the Coalition decided to attend the conference – so Lou and I eagerly headed east over the mountains to collaborate and spread the gospel that is WWRP.
The first thing that hits you about a trails conference…everyone is dressed like they are going for a hike. It is a casual atmosphere which lends itself to great comradery. This year’s theme was Creating Community – Connecting Community and presentations were as diverse and compelling as is the geography in our beautiful state. One presentation that stuck out was the spotlight section on the Whitehorse Regional Trail in Snohomish County. Amy Lucas (Senior Planner at Snohomish County Parks & Recreation) and Annique Bennett (Strategic Tourism Coordinator at Snohomish County) gave a heartfelt account of the events that have led to the rebuilding of the Whitehorse Regional Trail after the devastating mudslide back in March of 2014.
Opening this trail serves as a healing opportunity for communities to come together and memorialize the Steelhead Drive neighborhood and to develop Darrington and Arlington into Trail Town destinations.
The project sponsors are seeking $1,090,000 in WWRP grant funding for this important project, with a $1,096,000 sponsor match. Large donations have also been received to re‐deck the rail bridges and over $3.7 million in grants have been awarded to rebuild the trail at the mudslide and to re‐surface the trail for accessibility. Hats off to Amy and Annique for a great presentation and thank you to the organizers and volunteers that made this year’s conference such a great experience.