News Release: Leafline, Governor Inslee, & regional leaders launch vision for 900 miles of trails

Subway-style graphic shows existing and planned trails connecting King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties

June 1, 2022

Leafline Trails Coalition, Governor Inslee, and regional leaders launch vision for more than 900 miles of trails to connect communities across Central Puget Sound

Summary

The Leafline Trails Network will connect more than 900 miles of trails throughout King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, where more than 4 million people live, work, and play. Currently, the vision is 56% complete.

Story

Today the Leafline Trails Coalition was joined by Governor Jay Inslee, local leaders, and advocates to launch a visionary network with more than 900 miles of trails that safely and efficiently connect communities throughout the central Puget Sound region.

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.
Relevant Links
Quotes

“Connections are key; when we can walk, bike or roll without barriers to reach transit or anywhere we want to go it reduces air pollution and makes Washington a better place to live. I am proud to support trail projects throughout the Leafline system.” — Jay Inslee, Governor, Washington

“I can’t imagine a better way to unite the region than through a shared vision of non-motorized facilities that link our communities throughout Puget Sound. For our health, for our recreation, for our economic vitality – the Leafline vision can get us there.” — Rob Gelder, Commissioner, Kitsap County

“Our trails in Pierce County have provided a safe and beautiful place to walk, bike, run and ride over the last couple of years. Creating this system of connected trails is a gift for Puget Sound residents today and preserves a legacy of health and wellbeing for generations to come.” — Bruce Dammeier, Executive, Pierce County

“Trails are good for our economy, environment, and quality of line. The Leafline Trails Network will be another asset in the Pacific Northwest, ensuring a vital future for our residents.” — Dave Somers, Executive, Snohomish County

“Poulsbo is all in on trails—as a city on the Sound to Olympics Trail, Great American Rail-Trail, and Leafline Trails Network, we’re embracing trails for their transportation, health, economic, and recreational benefits. Poulsbo is working with our regional partners to share our experiences in supporting trail creation and the benefits of a walking community.” — Becky Erickson, Mayor, City of Poulsbo

“We are so excited to see the region come together to connect our trail network. The Tahoma to Tacoma Trail Network will connect Pierce County. The Leafline Trail Network will connect our region. When we invest in this vision, it is easier to travel without a car and trails are more accessible to more people, making all of our communities healthier.” — Kristina Walker, Councilmember, City of Tacoma

“For the last three years we have brought over 60 organizations, agencies, businesses, and community representatives together to work toward today’s launch, unveiling how an interconnected network of trails will improve equitable access, recreation, and safe transportation opportunities for over 4 million residents.” — Terry Jungman, Leafline Trails Coalition Chair & Park Planning and Development Manager, City of Kent

“REI Co-op has been an avid supporter of the Leafline Trails Coalition because the Leafline network is so important for the health of our communities, to help combat climate change by promoting biking and walking, and for equitable access to the outdoors. REI is proud to have funded a direct trail connection along the network.  We’re happy to provide ongoing fiscal support and to help expand the coalition of trail partners.” — Marc Berejka, Director of Community & Government Affairs, REI Co-Op

For more information, contact:

Claire Martini, Leafline Trails Coalition, Claire@leaflinetrails.org

About Leafline

The Leafline Trails Coalition works to realize a connected trails network – the Leafline – that provides equitable access, improved health, enhanced mobility, economic benefits, and recreational opportunities to thriving communities across Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce counties in the Central Puget Sound region. The Coalition catalyzes the collective impact of diverse representatives from governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, health organizations, community groups, businesses, trail users, and advocates who partner to grow and promote the regional trails network.

Watch the recording

6 thoughts on “News Release: Leafline, Governor Inslee, & regional leaders launch vision for 900 miles of trails

    1. Thanks for your comment. The coalition adopted King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties as our geographic focus in 2019, and we know that communities support connections to the north, south, east, and west as well.

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