Patricia Guthrie / Whidbey News Group — Residents look over maps for possible additions to hiking, biking and beach areas on Whidbey Island during public meetings this winter. A second round of meetings take place in June on the non-motorized trail plan. County planner Brian Wood explains the bike trail system at a Coupeville meeting earlier this year.

County to hold bridge-to-boat trail meetings in June

Bikers, hikers, paddlers, runners, horseback riders, fishing enthusiasts, beach strollers, sand castle builders and “anyone else who explores Island County with their hands and feet,” are invited to a second round of county meetings about biking, hiking, paddling… you get the idea.

Updated presentations on a trail system that follows Whidbey’s main corridor, known as the 2006 Non-Motorized Trails Plan, will be given at several locations in June. The first open house is 5:30 p.m., June 12 at the Coupeville Library.

Over the winter, at the first round of meetings, maps rolled out on tables became dotted with colorful symbols indicating walking, biking, horseback riding and boating. These were sites that people pinpointed as possible places for recreational pursuits.

County planners then reviewed the suggestions.

“The most popular activity, at this point, appears to be walking,” said Brian Wood, Island County Public Works transportation planner. “People like to walk along roads, down trails and on beaches, and they are hoping to see new opportunities for safe and connected routes.”

A goal of building a biking and walking trail along the entire length of Whidbey Island from Deception Pass Bridge to the Clinton Ferry Terminal, known as the “bridge to boat” trail, is part of the non-motorized trail system concept. It would follow the main state highway and keep bikers and hikers out of the path of motor vehicles.

The trail is being built in sections as right-of-way clearance and funding allows.

Segments of the paved trail roll alongside Highway 525 near Coupeville. Construction is now underway at the first South Whidbey section in Freeland; a third section from Ken’s Corner to Clinton could be completed in three years, Wood said.

“We are seeing a lot of interest in our trails plan update,” Wood said. “Our first series of open houses saw strong turnouts across the county.” Additionally, 188 surveys seeking public comment have been completed, but more input is sought.

“This next round of open houses should give a first look at project ideas that are coming out of our analysis and discussions,” he added.

Open Houses of Trails Plans Update:

5:30-7:30 p.m., June 12, Coupeville Library, 788 Alexander Street, Coupeville

5-30-7:30 p.m., June 15, Oak Harbor Library, 1000 SE Regatta Drive, Oak Harbor

5:30-7:30 p.m., June 20, Freeland Library, 5495 Harbor Ave., Freeland

5:30-7:30 p.m., June 23, Camano Library, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island

A survey on activities and trail use is available at www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3279976/Non-Motorized-Trails-Plan.

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