Crews have knocked back brambles, hauled out trash and widened the shady gravel pathway. There’s still work left to do on Whitehorse Trail between Darrington and Arlington, but the project is well under way.
It’s part of an ongoing effort to kickstart the economy in the Stillaguamish Valley after the devastating Oso mudslide.
The slide killed 43 people and covered a stretch of Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington. It also wiped out part of Whitehorse Trail, a county-owned corridor along a former Burlington Northern Railroad line. Restoring the trail is a priority for officials focused on boosting business in the area, specifically tourism and outdoor recreation.
Thanks to a $301,000 private donation, Snohomish County also plans to fix up 14 bridges along the trail.
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington says the long-term vision is to link the Whitehorse Trail with other trails, allowing people to travel from Seattle all the way into the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
“There’s just a lot of things coming together that I don’t think any of us would have expected before the tragedy on SR 530,” Trask said. “Real progress is being made in the valley, and this is an example of that progress.” Eventually, he hopes to see Whitehorse Trail connect to Centennial Trail, which would then link into the King County trails system. More than 100 miles of trails would traverse the area, from Seattle to the Glacier Peak Wilderness.