MARYSVILLE — At 10 a.m. Saturday, Marysville’s waterfront will grow from 900 feet to nearly two miles.
That’s when the city of Marysville plans to officially open the new Qwuloolt Waterfront Trail.
“The public’s been out here for a good month,” said Jim Ballew, Marysville’s parks and recreation director. That just hasn’t been permitted until now.
The new trail runs from just east of Ebey Waterfront Park — the city’s only real waterfront to date — down the riverside to the Qwuloolt Estuary, where Allen Creek empties into Ebey Slough.
A second leg of the trail picks up on the other side of the creek’s mouth, and terminates at Harborview Park off 60th Avenue NE.
A short segment to run under Highway 529 to Ebey Waterfront Park should be complete by August, Ballew said.
The city had to coordinate that work with the state Department of Transporation, and the trail will need better drainage installed where it dips below the highway.
“During a high king tide event, that trail will get wet,” Ballew said.
The trail has been in the works since 2015, and planning for it goes back even further.
The key milestone was the Tulalip Tribes’ 20-year project to restore the estuary to a saltwater marsh by breaching the dike that separated it from Ebey Slough.
That breach took place in August 2015, after the Tulalips, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, built up a levee to protect the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The estuary has transformed into a saltwater marsh, home to waterfowl and providing salmon access to Allen and Jones creeks. Qwuloolt means “marsh” in Lushootseed, part of the Salish language spoken by the Tulalips and other Northwest tribes.
Work on the city’s trail got under way shortly after the breach, although it was delayed by budget wrangling in Olympia.
The trail is 12 feet wide and paved, suitable for pedestrians and bicyclists. Dogs are permitted, but horses are not.
Key viewpoints have interpretive signs, benches and waste bins. Picnic tables near the estuary can double as an outdoor classroom for local students to study the natural environment.
The trail cost $684,000 to build, with half of the money coming from a state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account grant and the rest coming from the city.
The next phases of the project will connect the two segments, running the trail up the levee and around the estuary to connect to Harborview Park.
The city has requested $1 million from the Legislature to help fund that, Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said.
The City Council also has approved $3 million of its own for the project, Nehring said.
Marysville plans to officially open the Qwuloolt Waterfront Trail at 10 a.m. Saturday at the western terminus of the trail. Visitors should park at Ebey Waterfront Park, 1404 First St., and follow the signs across Highway 529 to a temporary access point to the trail.