Arlington to celebrate closing of Centennial Trail’s ‘gap’ with Saturday event

ARLINGTON — Chuck and Bea Randall plan to be among other longtime Centennial Trail Coalition members at the dedication Saturday of the final stretch of trail between Arlington and Snohomish.

The coalition lobbied for years to persuade the Snohomish County parks department to close the so-called “gap” in the trail between 172nd and 152nd streets along 67th Avenue NE, the old Arlington-to-Marysville road.

The gap had long discouraged trail users from making their way into Arlington, Bea Randall said.

“It wasn’t safe for people to ride their bikes on 67th or on Highway 9 to get around the gap in the trail,” she said. “So having that finished is a big relief.”

The state and the county split the cost of construction of the 1.2-mile, $1.4 million stretch of new trail, county parks director Tom Teigen said.

“The history of this trail stretches back 30 years. We have tried in the last few years to push ahead to finish it,” Teigen said. “A bunch of us are bringing our bikes out for the dedication Saturday.”

Arlington City Councilwoman Marilyn Oertle is looking forward to the event.

“It’s been a collaborative effort, but we’ve worked hard for that final link,” Oertle said. “Now cyclists, runners and walkers can see what a wonderful downtown we have, with our public art and our soon-to-be-built visitor center and restrooms.”

When it’s fully complete, the Centennial Trail will run from Snohomish to the Skagit County line. Some minor stretches of trail that run through Snohomish and Arlington are set for completion by the end of the year, officials in those cities said. In Snohomish, the city is closing a two-thirds of a mile gap between Bowen and Pine streets. In Arlington, there are five blocks of the trail that need finish work.

North of Arlington, from Bryant to the county line, the final four miles of the trail are almost all done as well, Teigen said. A bridge over Pilchuck Creek and some paving near the north county line are yet to be finished. Repairs to a landslide on the trail north of the Pilchuck added a cost of nearly $1 million to the $6.8 million project estimate, Teigen said.

A year ago, people in Arlington celebrated the opening of the stretch of trail that runs north to Bryant. Another celebration is set for Nov. 5 at the Haller Park trailhead and on the trail near the Skagit County line.

The 29-mile Centennial Trail is considered the county’s largest park and officially opened in 1989, the state’s centennial year. Most of it follows an abandoned railroad grade that was laid in the late 1800s.

Future Centennial Trail connections could allow trail users to travel from Snohomish to Monroe and then south to King County.

For Bea Randall and the trail coalition, the next project is work on what will become the Whitehorse Trail, from its nexus with the Centennial at Haller Park in Arlington along the Stillaguamish River to Darrington.

“It’s all very exciting,” she said.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

Dedication

The dedication of the newest stretch of Centennial Trail is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Armar Road trailhead, 15333 67th Ave. NE.

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