County to celebrate expansion of Centennial Trail

SNOHOMISH — Snohomish County’s political leaders see a promising road ahead after completing the purchase of a 12-mile extension of the Centennial Trail.

To mark the milestone, they’ve planned a celebration at the Hal Moe Pool in Snohomish at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“I’ve been waiting for this for years,” Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak said. “It’s going to be great for walkers, for strollers and for folks on bicycles.”

County leaders had been in talks to buy the property since 2009, when the Port of Seattle finalized its acquisition of the Eastside Rail Corridor between Renton and Snohomish.

As other local governments bought up more southerly portions of the former BNSF Railway tracks, Snohomish County also appeared to be closing in on an agreement. Talks got put on pause last year, leaving the Snohomish County segment the last piece in port ownership.

Earlier this year, Executive Dave Somers announced that negotiations had resumed. The $3.5 million purchase closed March 25.

“This new extension of the Centennial Trail is one of the most exciting additions to Snohomish County’s trail network,” Somers said. “Soon it will be possible to bike or hike across the entire county, from the northern edge to the southern tip. Snohomish County is already well-known for some of the most beautiful recreation opportunities in the country, and we look forward to seeing this new addition add even more luster to our reputation.”

The addition will link to the existing Centennial Trail, which runs 30 miles between Snohomish and the Skagit County line. Once built out, the southern addition would connect to King County’s Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River trails.

“In short, this 12-mile connection will be huge for knitting together a regional trail network,” said Blake Trask, senior policy director for Cascade Bicycle Club, a statewide bicycle advocacy group. “With this trail’s completion in the coming years, folks will be able to travel on trails exclusively from Bellevue or Ballard, up to Woodinville and then onto the Centennial Trail. They’ll then be able to connect to the Whitehorse Trail in Arlington and go another 27 miles to the foot of the Glacier Peak Wilderness in Darrington.”

Don’t expect to bike, walk or ride horses through the newly acquired corridor just yet.

County planners still are designing the southern portion of the Centennial Trail. Building it out is likely to take many years and “easily $23 million to $25 million,” parks director Tom Teigen said.

By the end of this year, parks staff hope to have the design about 30 percent complete, Teigen said. That should give them a clearer picture of construction costs and put the county in a better position to compete for grants.

Freight trains still use the tracks. That isn’t expected to change anytime soon.

The county’s plan, all along, has been to preserve the rail line and build a parallel recreation trail of approximately 12 feet wide, Teigen said.

Local civic leaders have long entertained the idea of a tourist train that would run between Woodinville’s wineries and the antique district of downtown Snohomish. They’ve discussed the possibility of some day running commuter trains on the line.

The corridor starts at a trestle over the Snohomish River and continues south to the Brightwater treatment plant in Maltby. It measures about 100 feet in most areas, Teigen said. It is narrower in some spots but reaches 200 feet wide in others.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

If you go

What: Snohomish County celebrates the purchase of a rail corridor for future expansion of the Centennial Trail

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Hal Moe Pool, 403 3rd St., Snohomish

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Dave Calhoun speaks during a 2017 interview in New York. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)
Lawmakers to confront Boeing CEO on mounting quality and safety issues

Before the Tuesday hearing, a congressional subcommittee accused Boeing of mismanaging parts and cutting quality inspections.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

Mountlake Terrace maintenance crew Ty Burns begins demolishing “the bunkers” on Monday, June 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Eyesore no more: After decades, Mountlake Terrace bunkers bite the dust

The bunkers held a storehouse of history, much of it moldy, outdated and unwanted.

The intersection of Larch Way, Logan Road and Locust Way on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Alderwood Manor, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Roundabout project to shut down major Bothell intersection for months

The $4.5 million project will rebuild the four-way stop at Larch and Locust ways. The detour will stretch for miles.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.