North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Marysville celebrates opening of Ebey Waterfront Trail

 

Christopher Andersson

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, center left, Board member of the Recreation Conservation Funding Board Mike Deller, center, and Tulalip Tribal Chairwoman Marie Zackuse, center right, cut the ribbon for the new Ebey Waterfront Trail on April 22.

Local officials opened up the Ebey Waterfront Trail for public use on April 22, creating 1.8 miles of new public waterfront.

Tulalip, Marysville and state officials cut the ribbon in front of a crowd on April 22 to commemorate the opening.

The new trail follows the Ebey Slough and travels into the restored Qwuloolt Estuary area.

It has two entrances, one in downtown Marysville by the SR-529 bridge and one in the Sunnyside area.

The trail provides downtown access to the waterfront and nature areas.

"This community really was starving for exposure to its waterway. We only had 900 feet of waterway until now," said Jim Ballew, director of Marysville's Parks, Culture and Recreation Department.

"Today we're celebrating the real return of public access to our waterfront," said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

Nehring said that many residents have been excited to explore the area that had been previously relatively closed off.

"Your energy is really encouraging to us," he said.

Local parent Cheryl Brandt said that the trail "looks nice. We'll be back in the summer to walk the whole thing."

She said she was excited for the new trail "especially for everything to be done."

The new trail explores the Qwuloolt restoration area, a project organized by the Tulalip Tribes to restore natural salmon habitat to the area.

"This wouldn't be possible with the monumental work from the Tulalip Tribes over many years to restore the estuary out there," said Nehring.

"With the Qwuloolt restoration our salmon have been given an opportunity to survive," said Marie Zackuse, chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes.

"One of the points that we have emphasized is that large-scale restoration projects can make communities more livable and offer more recreation opportunities, educational opportunities and the opportunity to see more habitat," she said.

Zackuse wanted to thank partners like the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Ecology, Washington Fish and Wildlife and the City of Marysville which have helped with the Qwuloolt restoration project.

"The Qwuloolt Estuary restoration took 17 years, a lot of money and a commitment from our partners to make it a reality," she said.

Nearing said that native animals are already returning the area.

"That restoration has actually happened quicker than anybody thought it would over the last couple of years," he said.

"Since that dike was breached over two years ago you have nearly 200 acres of former dairy land that has returned to its native habitat," he said.

City officials opened the first phase of the trail, but additional trail paving and amenities are planned for the future.

Currently there are 1.8 miles of shoreline trail. About 1.3 miles of trail on the west side of the Qwuloolt and another half mile on the east are open.

When finished, the trail is planned to be about 5 miles and circle the entire Qwuloolt Estuary area.

"The City Council put funds in the last budget to do [the next phase] and we've requested some state help that would provide some amenities like lookouts," said Nehring.

He added that some work is scheduled to begin in summer to extend the trail under the SR-529 bridge so it connects with Ebey Waterfront Park.

Ballew said he hoped that the entire five miles of the planned trail could be finished within the next year and a half.

Christopher Andersson

Will Brandt, left, Xavier Brandt, center, and Cheryl Brandt walk down the new Ebey Waterfront Trail shortly after it was opened to the public on April 22

Approximately $342,000 in matching grants from the state's Recreation Conservation Office helped to fund the project, through their Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, said Nehring.

Board member of the Recreation Conservation Funding Board Mike Deller said that he was glad that the project came together.

"I'm really proud of what we do and you do when we make these investments in our community in outdoor recreation," he said. "There's a real return on investment. There's over 200,000 people in this state that work in the recreation business and over $21 billion is spent annually on recreation-related equipment," he said.

He added that it helps protect clean water and clean air with those investments.

The Ebey Waterfront Trail is now open for public use and the west side entrance can be found near SR-529 and the Ebey Waterfront Park.

 

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