Marysville to build new trails at estuary and Whiskey Ridge

Marysville to build new trails at estuary and Whiskey Ridge

More than $2 million of work, to create 2.6 miles of paths, is planned this year.

MARYSVILLE — Two trail projects are scheduled this year to connect and expand popular paths.

Marysville is set to add about 2.6 miles of trail total. More than $2 million in work is planned.

One of the trail additions is near the restored Qwuloolt Estuary and the once-industrial waterfront the city aims to revamp for public use. The other would link the Bayview Trail on the east side of the city with the regional Centennial Trail.

The city last year opened the Ebey Waterfront Trail. The two-mile stretch has become a popular spot, city spokeswoman Connie Mennie said. More than 400 people use the trail weekly during fall and winter, and that number doubles in the spring and summer, based on city estimates.

The trail runs from near Ebey Waterfront Park along the slough toward the Qwuloolt Estuary. That’s where a habitat restoration project was completed in 2015. Saltwater marsh was restored by breaching a levee that separated former farmland from the slough, the culmination of a 20-year, $20 million project led by the Tulalip Tribes.

City leaders are working on changes at Marysville’s waterfront that go beyond habitat restoration. They’ve bought up properties and drafted plans, with a goal of turning what had been an industrial waterfront lined with lumber mills into a recreation destination with park and event spaces and opportunities for restaurants, boat rentals or other businesses.

The trail is part of that effort. The stretch that opened last year is the first of three phases. Design is under way and money is in place to build the second portion, nearly 1.3 miles near the northeast edge of the restored estuary, this year.

A third stretch winds around the north and west ends of the estuary to complete a 5-mile loop. It could move forward soon, too. The city is requesting $500,000 from the state for design work and is looking for building money through other sources, Mennie said. The state also has set aside funds to develop a new Olympic View Park in the Sunnyside area, she said.

The second trail connection this year is planned across the city, near Marysville Getchell High School. The city received $500,000 from the state to build about 1.3 miles of trail connecting Marysville’s Bayview Trail to the Centennial Trail. It’s a link that leaders and planners have been talking about for years. The Bayview Trail runs nearly three miles along Whiskey Ridge. The new connector would start near 84th Street NE, south of the high school. There’s a Centennial Trail access point and parking lot just off 84th.

“We expect to complete that segment this year, giving Marysville residents direct access to the regional Centennial Trail and trail users stunning views from Bayview Trail along with another way to visit Marysville,” Mennie said in an email.

By linking Bayview to the Centennial Trail, part of Marysville’s trail system would connect to more than 30 miles of paved walkway stretching from near the city of Snohomish to the Skagit County line.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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