A couple of weeks ago we marked the first anniversary of the opening of the Ebey Waterfront Trail, the city’s newest and one of our popular parks properties.
You may recall that the trail opened last year with a public ceremony and celebration on Earth Day, which was certainly fitting because residents and visitors can now enjoy an up-close natural habitat experience that previously was not so easily accessible this close to home. Since it opened, the Ebey Waterfront Trail has been incredibly popular; it gets used every day, rain or shine; one snowy winter day, our parks staff even found cross-country ski tracks there.
Work by the city of Marysville, Tulalip Tribes, Department of Ecology and Army Corp of Engineers over many years to restore the Qwuloolt Estuary returned nearly 400 acres of former dairy land to its natural saltwater marsh environment. Here you can observe native plants and wildlife including river otters, seals, herons and some 255 other bird species identified there.
You’ll always find something beautiful to look at, including the Cascade and Olympic mountains when the weather cooperates. The city is designing the next phases of the trail with some construction beginning this summer. We are grateful that this year the state of Washington allocated $1 million toward Ebey Waterfront Trail construction and another $500,000 to help develop and build a new Olympic View Park in Sunnyside.
This new park will include road access, parking, restrooms, play and picnic areas, a connection to the trail and car-top boating access to Ebey Slough. It will become the third city park to serve and complement trail use, joining Harborview and Ebey Waterfront parks. Park construction is expected to start next year. Speaking of trails, there’s more good news. This year the state also designated $1.5 million to build the one-mile connection between Bayview and Centennial trails.
The new segment will start near 84th south of Marysville Getchell High School and pass under Highway 9 to join the Centennial Trail. This will give residents direct bike and pedestrian access to the regional Centennial Trail, and visitors from throughout the region a better opportunity to see and experience all that Marysville has to offer. We expect to start construction late this year and open the new connection in 2019.
If you regularly walk Bayview Trail, you may recall the colorful trash cans placed there last summer. Those were painted by Marysville elementary school students, and this year’s students are painting new versions that you should see back out on the trail in the next month or two.
This great partnership project with the Marysville School District lets students contribute to their community and encourages them to get out walking with friends and family to show off their artwork. Trails are an important component of our city parks system. I know that when my family and I are out walking the trails, we appreciate the natural beauty of our community even more. I hope to see you out there, too.
Jon Nehring is the mayor of Marysville. His column runs each month.