Love to hike, bike, or ride horses in the Greenway? You’re not alone. Recreation spending totals a whopping $21.6 billion in Washington State, providing a substantial boost to the state’s economy. As population continues to increase throughout Puget Sound, demand for recreational opportunities is only growing.
Here’s the good news: over a dozen new recreation sites just opened or are about to open in the Greenway. The momentum started in 2015, when Washington State allocated a record sum for recreation infrastructure in the state budget for Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). We worked hard with local land managers and partners to complete these project across the nearly 1 million acres of public land in the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
What’s behind the urgency to improve the Greenway’s trails? First and foremost: user safety. We aim to keep users safe by repairing dangerous trail conditions. Habitat resilience and natural resource sustainability are also driving factors–helping the supply of recreation opportunities match growing demand is a crucial part of protecting a healthy environment and healthy communities.
We’re excited to announce the opening of new trails and re-opening of some recently improved favorites. This work has taken many hands to make it a success! Throughout the summer, make sure to check back to our blog as we announce more openings.
NEW OR IMPROVED TRAILS NOW OPEN
Little Si, Mt. Si, Mt. Teneriffe Connector Trail
A new trail now connects the popular Little Si, Mt. Si, and Mt. Teneriffe trails, with access to the new Mt. Teneriffe trailhead. Its construction is part of a major effort by DNR to link North Bend and nearby communities to local recreation, and addresses safety concerns. DNR worked closely with local neighbors last year to identify safety and congestion concerns, which has led to the development of the new trailhead at Teneriffe, the connector trail, and enforcement of parking restrictions on Mt Si Road.
Mailbox Peak Trail
Local trails advocate Ira Spring said, “It isn’t enough to have just a few righteous people talking about preserving trails. We need a lot of them.” As you trek up Mailbox Peak to see the eponymous mailbox alongside other peak baggers, contemplate how many people who care about preserving trails it took to build this route. While the new trail up this classic mountain opened in 2014, Greenway and DNR crews have continued to make upgrades along the route, focusing on the scree fields in the upper mile.
Middle Fork Trail
For the first time in a decade, the Middle Fork Valley’s signature trail has been reopened, after repair of a major washout. Through the combined efforts of the Greenway Trust, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Washington Trails Association (WTA), and REI Co-op, the Middle Fork Trail now offers a spectacular experience for all kinds of adventurers. The first several miles meander through lush, moss-covered forests, with views out to the river and surrounding peaks. The upper sections of trail offer a stunning backcountry experience, as the trail climbs high into the Cascades to Dutch Miller Gap and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Middle Fork Connector Trail
A brand-new trail links the Middle Fork Trailhead with the Middle Fork Campground. This flat riverside path meanders ½ mile upstream to the Taylor Bridge and allows families to access the Middle Fork Trail, Pratt River Trail, and more, right from their campsite. 200 volunteers from REI Co-op helped smooth the trail tread earlier this summer to get it ready for hikers.
Mt. Teneriffe Trailhead
As one of the region’s most popular hiking areas, the Mt. Si complex struggles with overcrowded parking lots. DNR just constructed a new 100-vehicle trailhead at the base of Mt. Teneriffe to improve road safety and enhance hiking opportunities. From the new trailhead for Teneriffe and the CCC Trail, hikers may access Mt. Teneriffe and Teneriffe Falls, and the CCC trail also allows hike, bike, and equestrian access. The Greenway Trust also decommissioned 7 miles of logging road and converted most of it to a steep trail up to Teneriffe Peak. By providing another trailhead and linking to the Little Si-Mt. Si-Teneriffe Connector Trail, this project is a boon for user safety (in the past, hikers had to walk on Mt. Si Road to connect these trails). The Teneriffe Trailhead brings much-needed capacity to the popular Mt. Si Natural Resources Conservation Area!
NAVIGATION – NEW MAPS IN THE GREENWAY
Green Trails Map of the Middle Fork
Great news for hikers! Local mapmaker Green Trails Maps just published 174SX, a new map of the Middle Fork Valley. Public land managers and members of the Middle Fork Coalition contributed to the content and review of this brand-new map.
Without a capital budget from the state legislature, funding sources for similar projects in 2017 and 2018 will be on hold.