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River trail along Sky would bridge cities

MONROE — Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism is looking to help Monore and Sultan connect their parks via an 84-mile riverfront trail that extends to Puget Sound.
The trail locally would follow the Skykomish River. Plans developed for each riverfront town will be incorporated into an overall plan the county may adopt later.
The idea arose from a concept developed by a coalition of several nonprofit organizations, agencies, residents, businesses and municipalities. The coalition formed in 2015 and is managed by the Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism office.
Over the summer, two design teams began work on designing the water trail. The designs emphasize river access along the river for the public.
This comes at the same time the city is looking to master plan Al Borlin Park, which is located on the Skykomish River, and the Cadman future park site, also located on the river.
River access points in Monroe are listed in city parks such as Lewis Street Park and Al Borlin Park. The riverfront trail could also connect the two shoreline parks, as well as eventually to the Cadman site.
“Monroe has this great pearl of parks along the river,” Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism planner Kevin Teague told the City Council last week.
Teague and colleague Annique Bennett have been helping the two city teams from Monroe and Sultan design and plan the trail.
“The concept is, of nature and to spark ideas and continue the momentum that you have already generated (with master planning city parks),” Bennett said, telling the City Council the designs were only ideas for now and more planning was still to be done, with a focus “to help Monroe, particularly the historic downtown, be the vibrant gateway hub to the river” and to find ways to attract tourists and river users into the community.
Transportation access along the trail was explored by the two design teams over the summer after a few group walks. Vehicle access, for example, would be planned for the Lewis Street Boat Launch, with the option to park or to circle back around in the cul-de-sac. Pedestrian and bicycle access would be planned throughout.
A boat rack for kayaks and smaller watercraft is also an option at the Lewis Street Boat Launch.
Wayfinding signs, gateway kiosks with both towns’ information and announcements, bike racks, safety call boxes and clearly marked
and enhanced trails will be a few of the main elements along the trail.
On the Sultan side, the connector riverfront trail would run along Mann Road, which is perpendicular to the Skykomish River. The pedestrian trail would connect the Sultan River Park, the Sportsmans Park and the future Steelhead County Park. Gardens, a rain garden, an event center and more trails are planned for the Sultan River Park stop, while a swimming beach, rain garden and access to senior housing are planned for the Sportsmans Park. The future Steelhead County Park, which will boast a lot of space for greenery, viewpoints and a possible pedestrian bridge, will alleviate traffic with additional parking, campgrounds, a boat launch, a separate non-motorized boat launch, and an extensive driveway. The park will also have a side channel or canal that will help separate the camp sites from the parking and roads.
Teague said the next steps will be to add the Monroe-Sultan plans into the overall plan Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism is developing for each community.

 

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