Neighbors oppose improved trail access

A proposed trail and parking project to improve access to a trail on county property has been met with strong opposition by the surrounding residents.

Island County Public Works Director Bill Oakes discussed options near a county-owned dike, where certain improvements need to be made. The construction of a new home brought to staff’s attention that there is a county culvert and trail that goes to the dike on private property. Public works has proposed making other improvements while staff is in the area to move the culvert and relocate the trail to public property near Deer Lagoon Road.

In September, the department presented options for improvements to the public areas at the site that included putting in some parking and an ADA-compliant space.

Approximately 200 people attended the meeting, and while some showed support for the ADA space, most people discouraged any changes outside of moving the culvert and trail, Oakes said.

People who use the trail now park on the street.

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson recommended making the needed changes and not doing anything else. Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson said she’d like the trail to be more accessible and recommended either adding the ADA space or creating a turnaround closer to the trail head so someone could be dropped off.

She noted the county’s large cohort of elderly individuals and that the flat trail presented a good option for people who might have mobility impairments.

“Making it easier to get out in nature is a high priority,” Price Johnson said.

Oakes said he’ll look into enhanced street parking and adding one ADA space and will bring those options back to the commissioners.