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.
A group of community members came together in 2017 to pursue those goals. Together with staff from the Greenway Trust and the Nature Conservancy, this Project Leadership Group envisioned a world class network of multiple use trails that would link the communities to one another, the nearby Teanaway Community Forest, and other regional trail systems like the Coal Mines Trail, Rat Pack Trail, and Palouse to Cascade trails.
Thanks to broad community support and engagement, the Project Leadership Group successfully raised funds and produced a master plan for this system in 2018. It lays out a conceptual design for a public, non-motorized, multiple-use trail system that meets the following goals:
- Build in stacked loops that meet a variety of user abilities, with accessible trails and trailheads
- Prioritize relatively easy routes from each community to the Cle Elum Ridge
- Preserve wildlife corridors and enhance habitat
- Develop partnerships with private landowners
- Ensure non-motorized and snowmobile trails adhere to standard policies of public and private land owners
- Ensure new trails are sustainable and low maintenance
- Decommission or reroute trails that do not meet these criteria or standards
- Engage volunteers to construct and maintain trails
- Minimize impacts to the community, while driving the local outdoor recreation economy
Now, in partnership with the Kittitas County Parks and Recreation District and the Project Leadership Group, we are implementing this plan! Since 2018, we have built 10 miles of new trail. Every year we continue to realize new pieces of the Towns to Teanaway system.
Creating a recreational corridor to connect these communities to the Teanaway Community Forest is an important undertaking that will benefit the people and wildlife of the region for generations to come.