Partnerships leverage funding and efforts to create safer driving, parking and hiking at Little Si Trail system
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Partnerships leverage funding and efforts to create safer driving, parking and hiking at Little Si Trail system 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                        
June 6, 2009
 
Partnerships leverage funding and efforts to create safer driving, parking and hiking at Little Si Trail system  
Grand opening of popular area on National Trails Day

OLYMPIA – The completion of two years of facility improvements at the popular Little Si Trail was celebrated today to kick off National Trails Day. Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark joined Bill Chapman, President of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and Gwen Lewis of King County’s Road Services Division for the grand opening of the renovated trail system, new bridge across the Snoqualmie River at the site, new parking area and connector trail.

In the shadow of the broad edifice of Mount Si, Little Si is the smaller knob, at an elevation of 1,576 feet. The rocky outcropping at the summit of Little Si Trail offers expansive views of the Snoqualmie Valley. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have taken their toll on the trails, and inadequate parking and the mixing of walkers and cars on the narrow access road have caused safety concerns.

“Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area—including Little Si—is a jewel, and DNR manages it to combine protection of the native forest ecology and extensive hiking access,” said Peter Goldmark. “But heavy use places demands on the trails and local community. That is why this collaboration and funding from Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the Recreation Trails Program, along with the help of hundreds of volunteers and crews is so important. We are able to keep the trails in good condition, and provide safer access to this forest trail overlooking the valley.”

Collaboration leads to better solutions and efficiencies
A longstanding partnership between Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust helped solve two challenges at Little Si: building a connector trail between the new lot and Little Si Trailhead, and carrying out extensive repair of 2.2 miles of hiking trails. In addition, King County helped DNR solve issues regarding access.

DNR acquired a $75,000 Recreation Trails Program grant from Recreation and Conservation Office, and DNR contributed $75,000 to renovate the Little Si Trail, with help of hundreds of volunteers and conservation corps crews.

Greenway Trust coordinated conservation corps crews and volunteers to build a new trail to connect the two parking lots, resurface the Little Si Trail and build retaining walls, steps, and drainage and rock turnpike to prevent erosion. Over the past two years, volunteers contributed more than 6,300 hours to the projects.

“The new and improved Little Si Trail, expanded parking area and new bridge over the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River offer better access for the hiking public to this great trail,” says Bill Chapman. “Little Si offers close-in hiking for the family with a Northwest forest feel and sweeping views of the Snoqualmie Valley, right in the heart of the Greenway. We truly appreciate the hard work by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and King County Department of Transportation, as well as the efforts of hundreds of Greenway volunteers who made these improvements possible.”
 
DNR’s collaboration with King County found ways to save money and accomplish the goals of each organization. King County needed a new Mount Si Bridge across the Snoqualmie River. DNR needed a new parking lot and access away from the road for the huge influx of hikers and climbers at Little Si. DNR offered the county a staging area for bridge construction and King County provided the design and permitting of DNR’s parking lot.

DNR then acquired a $250,000 Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant to pay for construction of the new parking lot. Combining these two projects saved significant funds, and one storm water retention facility could be used rather than two separate ones.

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources
Administered by Commissioner Peter Goldmark, DNR manages 5 million acres of state-owned lands, including 2.9 million acres of state trust lands. Trust lands earn income to support public schools, universities and other state institutions; and they help fund local services in many counties. Trust lands provide habitat for native plant and animal species, protect sources of clean water, and offer public recreation and educational opportunities statewide.

DNR is also steward of 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, including many beaches, and all navigable rivers and natural lakes. These are managed on behalf of all Washington State citizens to protect fish and wildlife, and to facilitate commerce, navigation, and public access.

A small but significant statewide system of Natural Resource Conservation Areas and Natural Area Preserves —130,000 acres — is managed by DNR to protect native ecosystems and the plant and animal species that depend on them. Many also provide access for education and low-impact public use, including Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area, and Little Si. It is an icon of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, the spectacular landscape that connects Seattle and Central Washington, including the natural lands, rivers and communities. www.dnr.wa.gov  

About the Mountains to Sound Greenway
The Mountains to Sound Greenway connects natural areas, trails, working farms and forests, historic towns and communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington. The Greenway provides easy access to recreation and nature for millions of people in the Northwest, key to the quality of life in this region.

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance this landscape, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Since 1991, the Greenway Trust has worked to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, teach people of all ages about the importance of conserving forests and wildlife, improve recreation access, create new parks and trails and mobilize thousands of volunteers. www.mtsgreenway.org  

King County DOT
The Road Services Division designs, builds, operates and maintains roads, bridges and pathways in unincorporated areas of King County. The division strives to make the county's transportation system safe and efficient for all uses and modes of travel. The Road Services Division is responsible for 1,795 miles of paved roadway, 270 bridges, 54 miles of unpaved roads and many pathways in unincorporated areas of King County.

Media Contacts:  Aaron Toso, Director of Communications and Outreach, 360-902-1023, cell: 360- 870-3853 aaron.toso@dnr.wa.gov
Doug Schindler, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Deputy Director, Seattle; cell 206-618-6265 doug.schindler@mtsgreenway.org

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