Arlington's Country Charm moves closer to completion

ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington’s Country Charm Recreation and Conservation Area is currently on track to open by the fall of this year, and over Arbor Day weekend a number of partners throughout the region pitched in to help the city’s progress toward completing the planned campground, public garden and off-leash dog park.

Seattle-based band Pearl Jam donated $8,000 for the purchase of native trees and shrubs that were planted along the Stillaguamish River at the former Graafstra dairy farm on April 9, while the Williams pipeline company donated 100 fruit trees to be planted along their underground pipeline on the property.

City of Arlington Natural Resources Director Bill Blake explained that these trees not only identify the pipeline and prevent it from being dug into inadvertently, but also foster the presence of wildlife and further beautify the landscape.

“We’re not ready to serve the public without designated parking areas, and we haven’t annexed the property yet,” Blake said. “We’re still leasing the property from Don Tillman, but we hope to have it ready to open as soon as it’s annexed.”

Blake estimated that Williams donated $20,000 for the trees and other amenities, and credited local Boy Scout Mohonri Dorff with working to finish the off-leash dog park. The Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force provided volunteers and supervised the efforts of other area Boy Scouts and community members as they planted close to 700 trees at the two sites, with Kristin Marshall estimating that about 70 volunteers showed up that day, double the 45 who had RSVPed.

“It takes a lot of people to plant this many trees in a day,” said Marshall, project manager for the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force. “I love working with Arlington. They’ve done great restoration work on the South Fork of the Stilly, and they always turn out to provide a ton of support. The city is making this into an effective multi-use area.”

While the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force aims to aid in the recovery of Chinook salmon by furnishing them with shade trees, other volunteers saw the day’s planting as an opportunity to serve both the community and the ecosystem as a whole.

“This is my third tree-planting since I moved here,” said Claire Candiff, an Arlington resident since September of last year. “I’m impressed by this program. I’ve learned a lot here.”

Erika Sigmon, committee chair for Cub Scouts Pack 86 in Stanwood, brought a number of boys to dig in the dirt, and echoed Candiff’s sentiments about the importance of conservation.

“Each boy had his own tree, and they counted how many they’d put in,” Sigmon said. “They really took ownership of this project, which is important for our kids to do with nature.”

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