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Enumclaw joining trail-building trend

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Although the city of Enumclaw is preparing to build a one-mile stretch of paved trail, there are several barriers that will prevent it from connecting to the Foothills Trail in the foreseeable future.

First is the natural barrier in the form of the White River. Crossing any river is an expensive proposition, and things only get stickier when the waterway is home to endangered species. Second, it doesn't appear the King County budget contains the extra money that would be necessary to continue a trail toward Pierce County. And finally, the county has given no indication that trail building is high on anyone's priority list.

As boosters of the Foothills Trail celebrate the coming construction of another stretch of pavement, Enumclaw is getting ready for a project of its own. The city trail will begin just south of state Route 410 (near the Schuck's auto parts store) and travel one mile. It will be 10 feet wide and designed for any type of non-motorized use.

Enumclaw Mayor John Wise is an ardent trail booster and has visions of Enumclaw's trail not only connecting to the Foothills Trail in Pierce County, but also running north out of town. In his perfect world, the city builds a mile of trail, then King County funds another mile, which allows the trail to reach the White River. Then, federal funds are secured, allowing the trail to span the river and connect with the Foothills Trail.

Wise envisions the day when someone can leave Enumclaw on foot or on a bicycle and follow a trail all the way to Puyallup.

"It's an awesome quality-of-life issue for the city," Wise said, predicting the trail will be a hit with walkers, joggers, bicyclists and more.

The city received a $127,500 grant from the state's Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation to help build its mile of trail. The project has an estimated price tag of $280,000, Wise said.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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