Arlington, Bothell, Index, Stanwood get $2M for parks, trails

EVERETT — Snohomish County has divvied up $2 million in grants to buy land for parks and trails in and around Arlington, Bothell, Index and Stanwood.

The largest chunk — $1 million — would help Bothell acquire land known as Shelton View Forest. The nearly 17-acre parcel of private land is in an area locals call Nike Hill, after a former missile site. It would help satisfy a need for more parks on the north end of Bothell, which straddles the King-Snohomish County line.

“It’s the city’s intention to preserve the forest and to turn it into a passive park,” Bothell parks and recreation director John Keates said.

The county’s Conservation Futures program is supplying the grant dollars for the potential purchases. Property owners pay 3.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to support the program. An advisory board makes recommendations about where the money should go. The County Council approved the project list unanimously Wednesday.

The city of Stanwood stands to get $500,000 to buy farmland that’s been in the same family for generations. Together with $200,000 from the city, the money should allow Stanwood to move forward with buying 30 acres of the Johnson family farm and to obtain an easement to keep another 150 acres in permanent agricultural use.

City administrator Deborah Knight called it “an important keystone project.”

“It’s one of the last remaining farms that’s over 150 acres that’s in Snohomish County,” Knight said. “Those large acreages are important to anchor the surrounding farm community.”

The land lies along the Stillaguamish River where it empties into Skagit Bay. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife manages nearby lands. Stanwood received a previous round of Conservation Futures funding to buy the former Ovenell farm directly to the south for park land.

The Johnson property provides the chances for conservation and new recreation trails, Knight said.

Near the town of Index, a nonprofit that focuses on land conservation and sustainability would get $405,000 to preserve a section of popular hiking trail. Forterra intends to put the money toward purchasing about 200 acres from a private landowner. It includes about a half mile of the trail system to Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene, not to be confused with the Lynnwood-area lake with the same name.

Forterra still needs to raise more money to move ahead.

“We think that probably gets us around halfway there, which is fantastic,” said Adam Draper, Forterra’s vice president for conservation.

The purchase is part of a broader initiative that Forterra calls the Great Northern Corridor. It takes its name from the historic railroad that shadows U.S. 2. The initiative aims to provide environmental, recreational and economic benefits in communities from Everett to Stevens Pass.

Snohomish County also is in line for a $94,000 grant to add to its Portage Creek Wildlife Area near Arlington.

The city of Bothell has been working on its land purchase with the Shelton View Forest Stewardship Association, a neighborhood nonprofit.

“It’s a start, not a complete funding package,” Keates, the parks director, said of the $1 million county grant.

The city ultimately hopes to buy two separate land parcels in the area.

Bothell secured past Conservation Futures funding to preserve woods on the other end of town. North Creek Forest straddles the county line west of I-405. Gov. Jay Inslee plans to attend a ribbon-cutting event there Friday morning as one of several stops in the area.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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