Saturday is Opening Day for Trails, a good time to go out and celebrate the arrival of spring with a bicycle ride on a local trail.
Sammamish River Trail
I’ve never heard of Opening Day for Trails until the Rails to Trails Conservancy sent me a reminder about a free T-shirt offer for telling them about my favorite trail.
The event is obviously ceremonial — like the first pitch at a baseball game — because there is no end to the trail season. Most are open year-round.
Here in my neck of the Pacific Northwest, the rail-trails get plenty of traffic year-round. The only closure is the 2-mile Snoqualmie Tunnel on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in the Iron Horse State Park. That tunnel is usually closed between late October and May 1 because the entrances are likely blocked by snow anyway. (Also, some dirt mountain bike trails close in the rainy season to prevent erosion and other damage.)
Find a trail
In case you don’t know where trails are located in your area, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provides an interactive trail-finding tool called TrailLink. Simply type in your town, state, and zip code and you’ll see all the trails in your area. You can filter by length, surface or other factors.
Here in King County, Washington, we have 175 miles of regional trails, such as the Burke Gilman, Sammamish River, Cedar River, Interurban and many more. A King County Regional Trail Map is available for download.
Pierce County — Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition map
Snohomish County — Centennial Trail
Thurston County — Yelm-Tenino and more
Olympic Peninsula — Olympic Discovery Trail
Spokane — Centennial Trail
Eastside trail open house
By the way, King County is celebrating the acquisition of the 20-mile Eastside Rail Corridor from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. with an open house at the Seahawks Training Facility, 12 Seahawks Way, Renton. [Note the time change.]
Background on this event can be found at “Open house for trail and transit…”.
Meanwhile, Washington state funding for trails is always a concern.
The Cascade Bicycle Club says that the state Senate is debating the funding levels for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. That program pays for many of the state’s trails. Cascade and many other advocacy groups are lobbying for $90 million in funding for the program. That would pay for work on a number of trails, including:
Cross Kirkland Corridor — Kirkland
East Lake Sammamish Trail — King County
Ferry County Rail Trail — Ferry County
Point Defiance Missing Link — Tacoma
Redmond Central Corridor — Redmond
Spokane River Centennial Trail Extension — Redmond
Spruce Railroad Trail/Tunnel Restoration — Clallam County
Susie Stephens Trail — Winthrop
Cascade has this link to contact your state Senator about the issue.