Improved Eastlake trail opens with ribbon cutting

June 18, 2013

By Peter Clark

Many gathered at the East Lake Sammamish Trailhead June 12 for King County’s official opening of the newly paved path.

Unveiling the 2.2-mile stretch that runs from Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 43rd Street, county parks director Kevin Brown welcomed the early afternoon crowd.

By Peter Clark King County Parks Director Kevin Brown told a gathered crowd about the importance of a connected landscape before the official ribbon cutting of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. The 12-foot-wide paved surface runs 2.2 miles from Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 43rd Street.

By Peter Clark
King County Parks Director Kevin Brown told a gathered crowd about the importance of a connected landscape before the official ribbon cutting of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. The 12-foot-wide paved surface runs 2.2 miles from Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 43rd Street.

“Our trails are essential components for our communities,” he said, praising the work that went into 12-foot-wide trail with gravel shoulders. “This makes the trail safer and more accessible for all.”

Brown said that the $2.7 million that it cost to enhance the trail came from an open space and trails levy that was approved by voters in 2007. Capital planning sections manager Monica Leers added that they received large grant support as well, with $500,000 coming from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and $975,000 from the Federal Highway Administration.

“We have been in design for several years,” Brown said. “We’ve got a couple more segments in the city of Sammamish.”

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is part of a larger King County goal to add to its existing 125 miles of trails. Brown said that they hope to connect Issaquah to Redmond with the trail along the east side of Lake Sammamish. The total 11-mile span is being constructed in three parts. The Redmond piece was completed in November 2011, leaving the Sammamish piece unfinished.

Leers said that county officials expect to begin work in Sammamish in February with a completion date projected by 2018, though voters could have an impact on those plans.

“These phases will be dependent on funding through the parks levy,” she said, indicating the measure that will appear on the Aug. 6 ballot.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger also presided over the event, offering praise of the completed trail and the increased use it will allow for the city’s many recreational spots.

“This provides even further access to the Issaquah Alps,” she said of the trail. “It’s a marvelous partnership with King County, and a great thing.”

With representatives from the Cascade Bicycle Club present with their bikes, ready to ride, they all cheered when Brown helped cut the ribbon and said, “Feel free to run on down the trail and enjoy it.”

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