McCollum Park nature trail is a labor of love

EVERETT — With a whole lot of volunteer help, the nature path steadily is taking shape.

Leaders of a project to build an elevated interpretive boardwalk trail at the southeast end of McCollum Park figure they’ve completed about 55 percent of the work.

On Saturday, they had a show-and-tell session to give people a glimpse of the progress.

It’s remarkable in many ways.

The boardwalk will use more than 250,000 pounds of pop bottles and containers that have been recycled into plastic lumber. There will be more than 80,000 screws in the boardwalk, which will cross a trout stream.

The trail, complete with foot bridges and educational signs, will loop about a half mile through the woods east of North Creek and around the wetland area on a 20-acre piece of land leased from Snohomish County. It will cost more than $500,000.

To date, 158 people have volunteered to make it happen.

In May through July alone, volunteers worked more than 1,100 hours.

Tom Murdoch, director of the Adopt A Stream Foundation, a nonprofit restoration and education group, credits regulars Marian Hanson and Larry Gearheard with leading the planning, design, construction and preservation efforts.

“None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for Marian and Larry and their energy and dedication,” he said.

Murdoch said the beauty of the project is the way it interconnects forests, wetlands, streams, fish, wildlife and people.

The recycled plastic lumber comes by truck in 42,000-pound loads. The first arrived in June.

Volunteers used the dry months to “get through the wettest of wet first,” Murdoch said. In some places, they toiled waist-deep in mud. They’re now working on drier terrain at the beginning of the trail.

Many people have spent long hours removing invasive vegetation, stuffing a huge container with deadly night shade. Its removal revealed a headwater stream flowing from a pond.

They’ve also dug up native plants where the boardwalk is being built and will transplant them elsewhere on the site.

“We wanted to make sure we practiced what we preached,” Murdoch said.

The site includes a mix of Sitka spruce, western red cedar, vine maple, osier dogwood, deer ferns, sedges, rushes and a grove of skunk cabbages.

When the project is complete, passersby will be able to peer through windows into the stream where cutthroat trout will feast on a diverse diet of insects. The stream also is home to fresh water mussels and clams.

While volunteers work on the trail, Adopt A Stream continues to seek financial help. Saturday was a good day with more than $7,000 given in donations and sponsorships.

Murdoch can’t predict with any certainty when the project will be completed. So much depends on the weather. He’s hoping the elevated nature trail will be done by year’s end and other work, such as creating and installing interpretive signs, by late spring or early summer.

The long-range plan is for the trail to be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. six days a week, including weekends. Groups of up to 30 will be staggered each half hour.

To learn more about the project, volunteer opportunities and how to donate, go to www.streamkeeper.org or call 425-316-8592.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

Talk to us

More in Local News

Ric Ilgenfritz is the new CEO Community Transit. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Community Transit’s new CEO looks beyond the pandemic

Ric Ilgenfritz anticipates continued growth and more bus service adjustments as light rail extends north.

Bernie Sanders meme using an app with Google Maps.
Bernie’s mittens: Feel the Bern? Or are you Berned out?

That photo of the senator looking frumpy and bored at the inauguration is everywhere, including Everett.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
$2.2B COVID conversation begins; a road feud may be easing

Here’s what’s happening on Day 15 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Micah Hogan (Rotary Club of Everett)
Three Everett students earn monthly Rotary honor

Everett Rotary names January students of the month Three high school students… Continue reading

submitted by Peg Tennant
Oak Harbor Farmers Market closes after more than 20 years

A new group is already planning for a new market this spring at Windjammer Park.

Carol Rochnowski, of Lake Stevens, enjoyed a socially distanced dinner with her neighbors, Andy and April Taylor, before the weather changed their weekly meals. The neighbors, along with Rochnowski's housemate Bernie Terry, have supported 24 restaurants during the pandemic. (Courtesy Carol Rochnowski)
With weekly take-out, neighbors feeding their friendships

These Lake Stevens families have made it a point to order takeout from an array of restaurants weathering the pandemic.

Jacob D. Little
Man accused of taking police gun in riot faces murder charge

Police charged Jacob D. Little, 25, of Everett, with second-degree murder and second-degree assault.

Lynnwood bookkeeper embezzles $230K from security company

Sheryl Rucker pleaded guilty to stealing from her employer, Absco Solutions. She must pay back the money.

Inslee pauses local highway projects to fund culverts fix

Lawmakers and civic leaders were peeved. The move slows work on Highway 9 in Lake Stevens and I-5 in Everett.

Most Read