STANWOOD — A new trail at Kayak Point isn’t just a path through the woods.
It might have put some teens back on the road toward career and life goals, after running afoul of the law.
“They’re in a program called Trails to Success,” said Jeb Bolton, a juvenile corrections officer with Snohomish County Superior Court. “It’s a work experience program.”
From December until May, groups of offenders from the Denney Juvenile Justice Center helped build the trail for two weekends every month. The new trail starts and ends at the campgrounds in Kayak Point Regional County Park. It was finished in time for summer and has seen plenty of traffic since then.
“This 1.1 mile trail at Kayak is already absolutely loved,” county parks director Tom Teigen said.
County staff and elected leaders celebrated the trail’s official opening Thursday.
Trails to Success started as a pilot program in 2015. It’s a partnership with the juvenile court, the parks department, Snohomish County WorkSource and the court’s Reclaiming Futures program. Kids are referred to the voluntary program by their probation counselor or community corrections officer.
The teens learn how to create a resume and practice interviewing. After completing the program, they get letters of recommendation from Superior Court and the parks department.
“Honestly, confidence is the No. 1 thing they learn,” Bolton said. “They learn construction skills. This project, we built two sets of bridges and three sets of stairs.”
The loop trail is just one of several spots where they’ve been active. Other groups are rebuilding a different Kayak Point trail that goes down to the beach. The program has helped improve the Paradise Valley Conservation Area, Lord Hill Regional Park, the Interurban Trail and Tambark Creek Park.
“It’s a significant opportunity for kids who have maybe gone a wrong direction,” Teigen said. “Sometimes it’s not fun labor. You get something done. It’s tangible.”
The program costs the parks department up to $10,000 per year, the parks director said. Without it, some park improvements would never get built. An Eagle Scout also is working to build a bench along the new trail.
Separate from the program for juvenile offenders, Snohomish County in June finished a construction project at the Kayak Point campgrounds. It provided water to all of the sites, upgraded power outlets and added camping spaces. Crews also rebuilt the road through the campground.