Skagit County, Stand Up May 24: Bike/Walk Projects Are Being Taken Away

Advocate and former Washington Bikes board member Liz McNett-Crowl is the Skagit Healthy Communities Coordinator with Skagit Regional Health and has been active for years in efforts to develop trails and get people walking and biking.

If you care about better biking wskagit_bike_tulip_festival-pic-by-Pam-Headridge-from-Visit-Skagit-Valleye need you to come out and be counted in Skagit County. Stand up for your belief in a county where it is safe for residents and visitors to walk and bike on county roads — to advocate for a county that has a transportation plan that considers all users and builds a network based on their plan.

What: Skagit County Comprehensive Plan update being deliberated by the Planning Commission

When: Tuesday, May 24 at 6pm

Where: County Hearing Room at 1800 Continental Place, Suite 100, Mount Vernon, WA

Be a Visible Supporter: Molly Doran of the Skagit Land Trust and Kit Rawson of BikeWalk Mount Vernon will have stickers for supporters to wear with simple messages like “ I ♥ Bicycles” or “I ♥ Trails”, and we are encouraging all bicyclists to wear your helmet.

Why? Some of you may be aware that 11  non-motorized projects were stripped from the plan last week by the Planning Commission. As you can see in the attached Supplemental Staff Report 4, County Planning Staff is making some new recommendations and encouraging that the commission revisit their decision. Tuesday’s agenda may continue the transportation deliberations and will move on to the Open Space.

Included in these deliberations:

  • Additional policies and project descriptions related to the motorized and non-motorized transportation system;
  • A new policy encouraging implementation of the County’s previously adopted UGA Open Space Concept Plan;

Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings to show their ongoing interest in the issues being considered by the Planning Commission. No public comment will be taken during the Planning Commission’s deliberations. However, your presence at the meeting helps to convey this interest. It also allows individuals to understand concerns the Planning Commission has with the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments. This allows citizens to give informed comment on future occasions.

The public comment period as far as the Planning Commission is concerned is closed. Once the Planning Commission finalizes their recommendations on the Comprehensive Plan they will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners, who may or may not decide to have their own public comment period before they take up the Plan.

 The proposed transportation element contains the most significant non-motorized plan ever proposed by the County. We know in the past that opposition has prevailed to have most previous plans stripped of any projects or concepts related to trails and projects. We already know that there is concern among some Planning Commission members about the 20-year project list and inclusion of proposed trails or conceptual trails. Just for your information, this is a 20 year plan and it is appropriate for there to be a list of projects that are on the 6-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) as well as an illustrative list that goes beyond the TIP for the County to pull from in the future should the opportunity or funding arise.

Implementing the County’s UGA Open Space Plan will mean secure and transparent future implementation of the plan that was adopted several years ago. The plan enables the County to move forward in creating an advisory committee, which would be charged with creating a process of implementation, including identifying sources of funding and how the program would administer an open space program. The plan would create open space buffers between the urban and rural areas of the county, could include open spaces that provide for the protection of open space and wildlife corridors, and when appropriate could include public access or trails in Skagit County. It is important to show the Planning Commission there is local support for moving the open space plan forward.

The meeting generally lasts a few hours. Even coming for one hour will help demonstrate important support.

For more information, The written comments on the County’s 2016 Comp Plan update are posted on the project website (www.skagitcounty.net/2016update) and available via this link: Public Comments


Want to spread the word about issues like this in your area? Get in touch about writing a guest post.

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John Wayne Pioneer Trail: More Chances to Be Heard and to Experience the Trail

Quiet farm country in eastern WA. Randy Pulk pic.

Quiet farm country in eastern WA. Randy Pulk pic.

In addition to the Washington State Parks Commission advisory committee on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail public meetings May 10 in Preston and May 11 in Ritzville, other meetings, work parties and events are coming up.

Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15: The Cascade Rail Foundation invites you to a South Cle Elum work party starting at 10:00 am. Meet at the historic depot, 801 Milwaukee Road,South Cle Elum, WA.

Volunteer crews will clear brush, do landscape cleanup, and feed brush into a chipper. This is a follow-up to work done in mid-April. Work items may be expanded to covering window areas of the substation with Lexan and fabricated  wooden frames, and working with a signal crew to wire and hook up two railroad block signals out on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in front of the depot. Arrive and leave when you like; overnighters get a special “volunteer discount rate” at the adjacent historic Iron Horse Inn Bed & Breakfast. To RSVP email Paul Krueger at kruegerp12@gmail.com or visit the CRF website.

Monday May 16: JWPT Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Moses Lake — the final meeting before the whole plan gets presented to the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission July 21. For information contact Randy Kline: randy.kline@parks.wa.gov

May 19 to June 5: John Wayne Pioneer Wagons & Riders cross-state ride. Easton to Tekoa,Washington at about 20 miles a day. Horses, wagons and bicycles: the cross-state ride that created a cross-state trail. Registration required, and spots are currently available. Visit website for FAQs and registration, schedule and payment information.

Thursday July 21. Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission meeting in Clarkston. Agenda: presentation of the recommendations from four sessions of the JWPT Advisory Committee.

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John Wayne Pioneer Trail: Public Hearings May 10 and 11

State Parks to host second round of public planning meetings for John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Columbia Plateau Trail crosses over John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern WA.

The Columbia Plateau Trail crosses over John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern WA.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to help plan for the future of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern Washington through a second round of public meetings.

Because the trail spans such a distance, State Parks has scheduled two meetings that will cover the same topics. The first meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave., Preston. (Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/yuDgjmYSFzH2). The second meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, 109 E. First, Ritzville. (Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/dWS6sXBJpYF2).

These meetings are the second of two rounds of public meetings in which State Parks staff will provide information on the planning process and gather information and comments from the public that will help lead to a long-term plan for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. At these meetings, State Park staff will have a presentation followed by a breakout session to collect public comments on preliminary recommendations for a range of trail-related issues, including noxious weed and vegetation management, trailhead and camping opportunities, fencing and trail-use permits.

To view a map and get more information about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail planning project, visit http://parks.state.wa.us/979/John-Wayne-Pioneer-Trail-Planning. The public may provide written comments at the meeting, online or by contacting Randy Kline, Parks Planner, (360) 902-8632 orrandy.kline@parks.wa.gov.

Washington Bikes Senior Director of Policy Blake Trask serves on the advisory committee appointed to produce a plan to address management and recreational use issues on this section of the trail. The advisory committee members represent an array of trail interests, including:

  • Adjacent landowners
  • Tekoa Trestle and Trails Association
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism and economic development
  • Natural resources
  • Historic and cultural resources
  • Hikers/walkers
  • Cyclists
  • Equestrians
  • Utility provider

Our round-up of bike travel posts about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail gives you a sense of what an incredible asset this is for the state and how important it is to preserve, manage, and promote the trail in a way that creates success for all interests and grows the economic benefits of bike tourism.

A longer version of this post first appeared on the Washington State Parks site.

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Will Your Town Celebrate Bike Month with a Proclamation?

Spokane bike rack

One of the 3 racks at Spokane City Hall that fill up when advocates appear before City Council.

Want your city or county to be recognized for its bike-friendly qualities in the nation’s #1 Bike-Friendly State? How about a quick way to determine which local elected officials are bike-friendly or to give a few moments of publicity to someone you already knew makes a great ally? Ask them to sponsor a Bike Month proclamation.

Step 1) Download or copy our sample proclamation.

Step 2) Tailor it with the names of your local bike group, May Bike Month activities, supporters and partners who appreciate the value of bicycling for your community’s quality of life, health, and economy, and anything else that captures the unique experience of bicycling in your community.

Step 3): Take the proclamation to your mayor, city council, and/or county leadership and ask them to adopt it.

Step 4) Don’t forget to tell your friends on Facebook and alert the local media when a group of people on bikes plan to show up at a City Council meeting for a celebration of biking. You want those elected officials to be recognized and appreciated for their support.

Additional things you can do: Consider organizing an informal ride to City Hall. Take pictures of people riding and those overflowing bike racks. And make sure you invite a variety of people from different backgrounds wearing all kinds of clothing to show that bikes are for everyone. (Looking for even more ideas? Check out our Bike Advocate Toolkit.)

Step 5) Come back and drop a link here to the local media coverage, minutes of the City Council, and what-have-you; tweet the link and tag us at @WAbikes; post it on our Facebook page; and email us.

We’ll shout out every town, city, and county in Washington that wants the positive reputation that goes with supporting and celebrating bicycling and add to the applause and acclaim.

Draft language in case the download file doesn’t work for you:

The City/County of ____

Proclamation

Whereas, the bicycle is a healthy, convenient, financially and environmentally sound form of transportation and an excellent tool for recreation and enjoyment of [insert city/county]’s scenic beauty, local attractions, and friendly neighborhoods; and

Whereas, throughout the month of May, the residents of [insert city/county] and its visitors will experience the joys of bicycling through educational programs, commuting events, Bike to School Day, trail work days, helmet promotions, charity events, races, or by simply getting out and going for a ride; and

Whereas, [insert city/county]’s road and trail system attracts bicyclists each year, providing economic health, transportation, tourism, and scenic benefits; and

Whereas, creating a bicycling-friendly community has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being, and quality of life, growing the economy of [insert city/county], attracting tourism dollars, improving traffic safety, supporting student health and learning, and reducing pollution, congestion, and wear and tear on our streets and roads; and

Whereas, Washington Bikes, [insert local bicycle club/ organization/chamber/tourism bureau], Cascade Bicycle Club, the League of American Bicyclists, schools, parks and recreation departments, police departments, public health districts, health care providers, companies and civic groups will be promoting bicycling during the month of May YEAR; and

Whereas, many of these same groups are also promoting bicycle tourism year round to attract more visitors to enjoy our local restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, locally produced foods and beverages, and cultural and scenic attractions; and

Whereas, these groups are also promoting greater public awareness of bicycle operation and safety education in an effort to reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities and improve health and safety for everyone on the road;

Now therefore, I, _____, Mayor/Executive of [insert city/county], do hereby proclaim May YEAR as

Bike Month

in [insert city/county], and I urge all residents to join me in this special observance

Signed this ___ day of May, YEAR

Mayor/Executive _______________

 

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2016 Legislative Session Recap

Kidical Mass Wenatchee RideThe 2016 state legislative session represented a time to assess and solidify gains following the 2015 legislative session. Last year state leaders made historic investments in bicycling, health, and safety, made advances in promoting outdoor recreation, and passed our priority legislation that addresses broken red lights for bicycle riders.

A status report on the 2016 priorities based on our legislative agenda:

  • Investments that get Washingtonians where they want to go: Retain historic funding levels made by 2015 Legislature for the Safe Routes to School Grant Program, Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Grant Program, Complete Streets Grant Program, as well as the bicycle and pedestrian project list.
    • End of session outcome: Through the supplemental budget, progress continues on implementing the historic investment
  • Protecting Trails Statewide:  Washington Bikes will monitor and explore the potential for additional investments that connect and improve trails for neighboring residents, visitors, and neighboring communities that benefit from the economic opportunities that trails bring via the $3.1 billion that bicycle riders spend in Washington state.
    Iron Horse Trail is a western portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Pic by Visit Kittitas County.

    Iron Horse Trail is a western portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Pic by Visit Kittitas County.

    • End of session outcome: Through lobbying by supporters of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, a budget proviso of $100,000 (not new money) was included to direct Washington State Parks to control invasive species along the trail.
  • Growing the Multimillion Dollar Bicycle Travel & Tourism Industry: Funding for a study of the economic impact of bicycle travel and tourism by the Department of Commerce will help quantify the industry and improve strategies to grow our state’s economy.
    • End of session outcome: Conversations about the need for growing bicycle travel and tourism continued and will be a priority in future years.
  • Strengthen Washington State’s Distracted Driving Laws: The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) agency request legislation would improve upon the current law by broadening the definition so that any person (with much narrower exceptions) operating a motor vehicle while holding a personal wireless communications device is guilty of a traffic infraction.
    • End of session outcome: Again, this legislation fell short.

Looking toward 2017 with many budget challenges looming (particularly around education), many are expecting a challenging legislative session. Over the summer Washington Bikes will be working with partners and stakeholders statewide to craft its upcoming legislative agenda. Stay in touch to know what’s happening.

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John Wayne Pioneer Trail An Incredible Experience

Talk about getting away from it all! These blog posts and videos give you the flavor of what it’s like to ride the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, whether in the eastern portion that is less well-known or on the more developed western end of the trail. Some also cover public meetings that have been held on the trail and its future. Another post will round up media coverage of the policy questions being debated.

When consulting blogs for travel ideas always check the comments. People who have ridden the same section often post additional tips, alternate routes around a temporary closure, and other useful items. A key comment that comes up in a few places: Riding west to east gives you tailwinds rather than headwinds much of the way.

Older posts may refer to railway tunnels in the Iron Horse Trail stretch being closed and requiring detours; those tunnels opened in 2013.

The Cycling Sojourner Washington guidebook includes a tour from Spokane to Ellensburg. Royalties from sales of the book support bike advocacy and education, including the Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute.

Trip Reports

Forum Discussions

General Information

Are we missing a great post? Share it in the comments.

Videos

We created a YouTube playlist that includes both travel footage and coverage of some of the public meetings that have been held on the trail. Comment on the videos to thank people for riding, taking video, and posting to draw attention to this unparalleled asset — the longest rail-trail in America.

What’s Next for the John Wayne Trail?

  • Washington State Parks John Wayne Pioneer Trail Planning: Our Senior Director of Policy Blake Trask serves on the committee appointed fall 2015 to look at trail issues and develop proposals.
  • To support trail advocacy with a tax-deductible donation, join or donate to the new Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.
  • To support our work on state policy and politics, including advocacy for trail funding and protection of public ownership and future endorsements of bike-friendly candidates, you can donate to us. Donations to Washington Bikes are not tax-deductible.
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The New Washington Bikes

Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, and Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director

Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, and Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director

We headed into 2016 with a new organizational structure to carry out a statewide mission. What does that look like now, as we’ve settled in a bit?

In short, fantastic! We’re now working on an update to two strategic plans–one for Cascade Bicycle Club, one for Washington Bikes. It’s high time for an overview and an invitation to ask questions, with a touch of IRS regulations just to spice things up–

The Washington Bikes mission of statewide advocacy, education and outreach continues under two organizational names and roles with some evolution and realignment. Former Washington Bikes executive director Barb Chamberlain now serves as the Chief Strategic Officer for Cascade Bicycle Club as well as for WA Bikes, while Blake Trask serves as Senior Director of Policy for both organizations.

Ride Your Bike, Support Statewide Work

Two big events to be aware of as opportunities to support Washington Bikes that formerly were associated with Cascade:

Seattle to Portland (STP): This iconic destination ride now serves as a joint fundraiser for Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club. When you register for STP you’re supporting statewide policy work and help for advocates around the state along with education and outreach.

Bike Everywhere Challenge: We encourage people to register for commute challenges wherever you live as a way of being counted and connecting with the groups that organize these events. In the Puget Sound region (and beyond) people who register for the Bike Everywhere Challenge can choose to donate to support our policy work. (Since Washington Bikes is now a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, this donation is not tax-deductible.)

What Each Organization Is Doing in the Early Days

Note that this list is not our updated strategic plan for either organization. It’s where responsibilities rest while we go through the planning process.

Cascade Bicycle Club is now a 501(c)(3) public charity that is expanding its mission to be statewide. Donations to support this work are tax-deductible, and any time you register for a Cascade event ride you’re supporting its charitable work across the state. Activities you’ll find under the Cascade name that formerly rested with Washington Bikes:

  • Washington Bike Summit: Cascade now presents the annual statewide bike conference with Washington Bikes a sponsor of the event. Save the date: March 20-21, 2017, in Olympia.
  • Local group partnerships: Cascade is committed to continuing the strong partnership culture Washington Bikes established with groups all across the state. A few examples of what’s already under way:
    • Chief Strategic Officer Barb Chamberlain will travel the state to strengthen these partnerships and support efforts of local groups in highlighting the value of bicycling to their hometowns, backed up by other Cascade staff efforts and visits.
    • A Statewide News section has been added to the Cascade e-newsletter Braking News. (To sign up for Cascade’s e-news, see the link at the bottom of the Cascade home page.)
    • The Cascade Courier print publication now includes news stories from around the state. 
  • Education: Bicycle/pedestrian middle school safety curriculum funded by a grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is delivered by the Cascade Education Department. The curriculum is being aligned with the primary-school curriculum Cascade delivers in Seattle Public Schools and high-school encouragement programs such as the Major Taylor Project. Key Contact: Shannon Koller, shannon@cascade.org
  • Share the Road license plates: Revenue from these supports educational materials, classes, and marketing of the plates. We look forward to seeing more and more plates on the road as mini-billboards for safer streets. The extra fee for the specialty plate is now a tax-deductible donation to Cascade to support statewide education.
  • Bike data: The bicycle/pedestrian permanent counter project funded by WSDOT is being managed by the Policy and Planning staff, along with the statewide volunteer bike/pedestrian count conducted each fall. Key contact: Jeff Aken, jeff@cascade.org
  • Bike tourism: The economic value of Cascade rides and connections with communities rides touch are increasingly part of the Cascade message and mission. Cascade will be developing a library of downloadable rides for people to plan a bike outing on their own or with friends. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain, barb@cascade.org
  • Advocacy: Cascade continues its support for bike advocacy. Key contact: Blake Trask, blake@cascade.org

Washington Bikes continues to work statewide, now as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit affiliated with Cascade Bicycle Club. A new board is being appointed with statewide representation.

  • State policy: Our work in Olympia during the legislative session and around the state with advocates who want to influence state policy continues under the Washington Bikes name. Key contact: Blake Trask, blake@wabikes.org
  • Local group partnerships: Washington Bikes will always be a partner to local groups. Depending on the focus of the group’s efforts, partnership activities might be carried out by either or both Washington Bikes in its c4 capacity and by Cascade. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain, barb@wabikes.org
  • Candidate endorsements: Formerly carried out under the Cascade name when it was a c4, political endorsements are now an activity of Washington Bikes. We’ll spend some time evaluating how this works for a statewide organization. Key contact: Blake Trask, blake@wabikes.org
  • Bike tourism: We have a lot of great travel information on this site. We’ll continue to tell the story of the power of bikr tourism as economic development in our state policy work. Through either WA Bikes or Cascade we’ll work directly with communities interested in becoming Bicycle Friendly Communities and enriching their appeal as destinations for bike travel. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain, barb@wabikes.org

By merging we created the nation’s largest statewide bike nonprofit organization and strengthened our ability to continue the policy work that has helped make Washington the #1 Bicycle Friendly State eight years in a row — so far. Roll with us into a bike-friendly future!

 

 

 

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Donate to the Bike Everywhere Challenge

Free "I Bike WA" t-shirt with every donation >$25

Who bikes WA? YOU bike WA!

We want everyone to participate in the Washington Bikes Bike Everywhere Challenge, our fun, free trip-tracking contest. We also hope you will help support this awesome event for years to come by giving to Washington Bikes – with your help, we will keep the bicycle movement rolling forward throughout the state!

You can show your support by donating $25 or more during May: we’ll send you this AWESOME limited-edition “I Bike Washington” t-shirt! We made certain to pick t-shirts we actually WANT to wear: high-quality cotton with sizes for both men and women.

Washington Bikes is supported by people like you who care about better bicycling, safer streets, and strong towns. Your donation will ensure that we continue to advocate, inform, and inspire to grow bicycling statewide… and organize programs such as the Bike Everywhere Challenge.  Contributions and gifts to Washington Bikes are not tax deductible because they may be used to support our political activities.

Men's and Women's t-shirts available

FREE “I Bike WA” t-shirt with every $25 donation! Keep the Bike Everywhere Challenge Rolling.

Type the amount you would like to give above. Remember to include your T-shirt Size and Type below if you give more than $25!
Women's T-shirt: S, M, L, XL, 2XL Men's T-shirt: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL

To participate in the Challenge, you need only to start or join a team, commute at least four days throughout the month and track your trips online. It’s simple and fun! You can ride solo or form a team of coworkers, friends or neighbors and log your commute trips on the user-friendly Washington Bikes Bike Everywhere Challenge website. Invite a friend to join your team and help a newbie get started biking. You could be the one who makes them fall in love with two-wheeled transportation.

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Speak up for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Cheney and Ellensburg

Bicyclists on John Wayne Trail heading to Snoqualmie Pass. Gravel biking.Show up and speak up for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail at two upcoming meetings held by Washington State Parks as part of a planning process under way to examine the trail’s opportunities and challenges.

March 8, 6-8pm, Cheney City Hall
March 9, 6-8pm, Student Union and Recreation Center Room 137A, Central Washington University, Ellensburg

If you can’t attend a meeting submit written comments by contacting Randy Kline, Parks Planner, (360) 902-8632 or randy.kline@parks.wa.gov.

The trail is an amazing bike tourism opportunity as the longest rail trail in the US. Just think: We can connect from Washington into Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Route of the Hiawatha on the east, the many great trails in the Puget Sound in the west, for an incredible system.

As tourism promoters will attest, the longer a trail is the farther people will travel to bike it and the more they will spend per day while on their trip, making this an incredible destination asset as well as a gem for the people of Washington.

John Wayne Pioneer Trail

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail stretches across the state in purple. The orange trail that crosses it is the Columbia Plateau Trail.

At the open house you can identify trailheads and camping opportunities, among other topics they’ll talk about in a presentation and breakout discussions. The committee appointed to advise the planning process includes Blake Trask, Senior Director of Policy for Washington Bikes, and Marie Dymkoski, Pullman Chamber of Commerce executive director, who serves on the board of Cascade Bicycle Club and previously served on the board of Washington Bikes.

Posted in Advocacy, Alert, Infrastructure, News, Rural, Tourism, Trails, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Maltby-Mount Vernon Century Bike Ride

maltby-mtvernon-barn

The century ride I mapped out is an out & back route that begins in Maltby and heads north to Mount Vernon. This relatively flat hundred rolls through the open farmlands, thick woodlands and wetlands, surrounding the lush countrysides of Snohomish County out to Skagit County.

Sixty percent of this ride is on the Centennial Trail; a 30 mile well-maintained multi-purpose trail that begins in the town of Snohomish and ends at the red barn of the historic Nakashima Farm at the North Trailhead. This linear path is built on the old Burlington-Northern railroad line and goes through the towns of Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Marysville and Arlington.

We exit Maltby Community Park onto Broadway Ave and head north on this two-lane road through residential neighborhoods.

Springhetti Road drops us down through the valley with views of the vast agricultural lands of this rich fertile region. This countryside is filled with dairy farms, corn fields, a Christmas tree farms, horse ranches, a plant and tree nursery and farm stands.

We continue on Airport Way/99th Ave SE past a few large farm houses and Harvey Field to cross the bridge over the Snohomish River into Snohomish.

We enter the historic downtown business district of Snohomish on 1st St; this area is filled with many antique shops and collectibles, cafes and restaurants and galleries. The town overlooks the Snohomish River with fantastic views of the water and the River Trestle.

From Maple Ave, we pick hop onto the Centennial Trail off Pine St; the trail is up to 10 feet wide and runs parallel to Machias Rd and the Snohomish River. It goes through the many open fields and meadows with occasional scenes of the river.

mtvernon-rolling-hills

As we’re rolling along, we catch a glimpse of a colorful field of flowers. I stop to turn around for a second look and Michael motions for me to continue on the trail to a little side road, maybe it’ll lead us to the flowers? We follow the road down and around the side and come upon a white sign for Accent Dahlias. I stop to read the little pink paper posting and it welcomes visitors to the display gardens-just follow the trail of orange ribbons to the garden. We walk the bikes through a small path that opens up to eye popping colorful dahlias! The flowers are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and some of the blooms are 10-12 inches wide — WOW! Ken, the owner is very friendly and more than glad to answer any questions you may have. For 2010, he grew over 400 varieties and has won Best of Show several times.

We continue on the trail through Lake Stevens past residential backyards out to the industrial edge of town.

The tree-lined trail continues through the dense woods along the ridge with fantastic views of Marysville valley.

The trail enters the lumber town of Arlington along 67th Ave NE, this road divides the town with lumber and industrial located to the west and residential neighborhoods to the east.

We continue through the edge of Arlington’s historic downtown area. This is where a guy just randomly yells out at us to eat the $1 burgers at the bowling alley. $1 burgers, I could go for that, we’ll have to try it on our way back!

The trail crosses over the Stillaguamish River on the old train trestle by Haller Park in Arlington. The views are amazing and bring about a very peaceful feeling; the river runs through the dense forests along the gravel bar with glimpses of the mountains in the far, far distance!

The trail takes us along the ridge above the valley floor and through the wetlands to the small town of Bryant.

The path continues through more pastoral settings out to the tree-lined stretch along Pilchuck Creek.

The Centennial Trail ends at the red barn of the Historic Nakashima Barn — the North Trailhead. The surrounding area is very scenic with its dense forests and wide open meadows — everything is green!

The rolling gentle terrain on WA-9 N takes us through the small town of Lake MacMurray to WA-534. WA-534 leads us out of the “country” towards I-5 and Mt Vernon.

malby-hay

Cedardale Road is a frontage road along I-5; the flat terrain takes us through the agricultural fields of Skagit County.

We cross I-5 on Anderson Road and ride along Henson and E Section Road into Mount Vernon with a lunch stop at Bill’s Diner on South 2nd Street.

Mount Vernon is the turnaround point; from here we basically reverse our way back to the North Trailhead and continue on the Centennial Trail.

We do stop in Arlington to take advantage of the $1 burgers at Rocket Alley: a beef patty with secret sauce on a soft bun. The burger is one dollar if you buy a drink or an order of fries. This will fuel us back to Maltby!

Near Lake Stevens, we hear thunder and see some lightning flash across the sky. Rain is in the forecast and we get caught in it for the last 15 miles back through Snohomish and to Maltby Park.

For dinner, we stop at Hong Kong Dim Sum on our way back into Seattle. We had soup to warm the tummy and lots of vegetables. The Shanghai dumplings are pretty good too! We have enough leftovers for tomorrow night’s dinner.

This century was most enjoyable — the flat 60 miles out and back on the Centennial Trail allowed for a quiet peaceful ride with no traffic! The broad path takes you through the old lumber towns, past the rich agricultural farmlands and woodlands around Snohomish and Skagit Counties.

This would be a great first century for anyone with minimal elevation gain. The scenery alone is worth the ride and the side trip to Accent Dahlias is well worth the extra time!

Garmin Stats:
105.53 Miles with 2694′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 445′
Max grade: 7%
Terrain: Flat with a few low climbs

mtvernon-malby-map

GueGuest blogger Nancy Yu biked all over Washington, Nancy shared her experience doing Maltby-Mount Vernon Century Bike Ride, to see all her posts and find out where she’s riding next follow her blog:http://ridechronicles.com/

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