Building Towns to Teanaway,, photo by Courtney Baxter

Towns to Teanaway Trail System

A multi-use, stacked-loop, nonmotorized trail system linking the communities of Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald to the Teanaway Community Forest.

Located just a latte away from Seattle, the mountain communities of Ronald, Roslyn, and Cle Elum are experiencing a steadily growing stream of visitors seeking connection with the outdoors. Recreational tourism generates $185 million annually within Kittitas County, supporting approximately 1,700 local jobs. As these numbers grow, so does the need for a well-designed trail system that can absorb user impacts, direct visitors away from wildlife habitat and sensitive areas, keep ongoing maintenance costs low, and connect the downtown centers with nearby public lands. 

In 2013, Washington State protected 50,241 acres in the Teanaway River Basin, located a stone’s throw away from Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald. Those lands became the Teanaway Community Forest, an increasingly popular destination for year-round recreation. In 2014, The Nature Conservancy took on management of the ridgeline between the towns and the new forest, and community members saw an opportunity to create something that would benefit locals and visitors alike: an official trail system to new public lands. At the time, the Teanaway Community Forest managers were undertaking a recreation planning process, and the people who would end up shaping Towns to Teanaway thought: “What if we could have a bigger conversation about trails in the Upper County?”  

Together, staff from The Nature Conservancy, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Kittitas Conservation Trust, and the Economic Development Group of Kittitas County raised $70,000 in grants, donations, and other grassroots sources to hire a professional landscape architect. In 2017, they kicked off an 18-month design and public input process for the Towns to Teanaway System.  

The trails broke ground in 2018, with help from REI. The project leadership group, led by the Greenway Trust, strives to complete a new trail every year, relying on grants, donations, and volunteers to execute the project. 

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