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Gone Bikin’: At long last, E Lake Sammamish Trail clears legal hurdles (probably)

IMG_2882.JPGSeattle Bike Blog Editor Tom Fucoloro has Gone Bikin’ until Labor Day. In the meantime, we will be periodically posting short news bits and excerpts from good reads floating around the web.

OK, we totally missed posting about this huge story from the Eastside back when it broke in April. I don’t really know how it fell through the cracks. Probably due to my terrible organizational skills. So if you haven’t seen this news yet, pretend it says “August” and not “April.”

But seriously, this is (was) huge news for a long, long effort to get this wonderful trail completed. For background, see our coverage of the county’s fight to keep the trail safe and high quality. Details on the legal win from King County:


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On April 20, Federal District Court Judge Marsha J.Pechman ruled in King County’s favor on property ownership and use issues within the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) corridor. The ruling recognizes that King County possesses all property rights in the ELST corridor that were previously owned by BNSF.  Along substantial portions of the ELST, King County owns the corridor in fee.  Where the railroad acquired corridor property by “adverse possession” over 100 years ago, King County currently owns a “railroad easement” that is 100’ wide (subject to prior legal settlements or BNSF property sales).  Even where King County’s ownership is limited to a railroad easement, this robust form of ownership allows for “the exclusive use and possession of the area on, above, and below the surface of the corridor.”  The federal court’s recognition of King County’s property rights in the ELST corridor is important because it allows the County to move forward with completing the last section of the ELST, known as South Sammamish B. Once constructed, this “golden-spike” segment will complete the 44-mile regional trail corridor from Ballard to Issaquah for public use and enjoyment.

From a King County mailer
From a King County mailer

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