The Leafline Trails Coalition got a special guest for their online event announcing their new 900-mile regional trails vision: Governor Jay Inslee, who called in from a bike on the Sound to Olympics Trail in Kitsap County.
The Governor called in to voice support for the trails vision, which spans King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. It happens around the 7:00 mark in the video recording of the event. He called it “the most exciting mapping project since Peter Puget mapped the shores of Puget Sound in 1792.”
Of the 900-mile network, 500 miles are already open. So the region is already halfway there.
The Leafline Trails Coalition started in 2019 as a way to encourage and coordinate a trail network that crosses city and county lines. It includes public partners from cities and counties as well as private partners like REI and community organizations. Below is the print version of the map. You can also explore a digital version. You can also see the criteria for inclusion in the map (PDF).
There are about 500 miles of trails today in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, but there has never before been a concerted effort to create a network that crosses jurisdictional boundaries and Puget Sound. Currently, 56% of the more-than-900-mile trail network is complete. The remaining 44% includes regional spines for active transportation and outdoor recreation, new links between existing trails, and closes gaps between trails to improve network connectivity.
More than 60 public partners and members have officially pledged support for the vision of Leafline Trails Coalition, joining together to realize an integrated mobility network that allows people to bike, walk, roll, and connect to transit by trail. Leveraging this analysis of the Leafline Trails Network, the Coalition will focus on gap-filling and investment strategy with support from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program, and pursue wayfinding and signage to improve user experience of the networks.
Recent investments for active transportation from the federal and state governments are at historic highs and will be a key focus of Coalition work with our partners. Many of the signature projects in the Leafline Trails Network are ready now for federal, state, and local infrastructure investments that will stimulate economic growth throughout the region.
Multiple studies have quantified the benefits of regional trail investments in the state:
- Active transportation provides more jobs per dollar than any other type of transportation;
- Trails in Washington provide $5.9 billion in environmental benefits per year;
- Trails cost less to maintain than roads and cause less air and noise pollution;
- Improving access to trails could help close the health gap in Washington;
- Completing a single trail in Pierce County could result in 2.09 million fewer miles traveled by car each year.