The qualities that makes the Northwest such an amazing place to live – access to nature, beautiful landscapes, and adventure around every corner – are embodied in our system of wide, paved, and accessible public trails.
King County is a founding member of a new four-county collaborative effort, the Leafline Trails Coalition (formerly the Regional Trails Coalition). Finding broad support for creation of a Coalition for regional trails, King County hosted a successful summit in October 2018, kicking off efforts to develop a charter, mission, and vision for the Coalition.
Five hundred+ miles of these types of trails exist today in the Central Puget Sound region. Managed by a variety of public agencies, regional trails provide an amazing resource for people who bike, hike, roll, and more. Built mostly in old railroad corridors, these trails are flat, mostly paved, and wide, making them accessible to people of all ages and abilities. However, many of our communities, particularly in areas with low incomes and poor health indicators, do not have access to quality trails. Many of our existing trails are not interconnected, intuitive to navigate, or welcoming to everyone.
To achieve a vision for a four-county trails network that is more interconnected, accessible to people of all ages and abilities no matter where they live, and welcoming, the Leafline Trails Coalition is bringing together trail managers, business leaders, city planners, advocates, and trail visitors.
Now, April 2020 welcomes a new name – transitioning from the Regional trails Coalition to the Leafline Trails Coalition – and a new face! We are excited to announce that King County Parks and other early investors are partnering with Cascade Bicycle Club to provide coordination and support services.
Claire Martini started as Leafline Trails Coalition Manager on April 1, 2020. In this new role with Cascade Bicycle Club to provide backbone staffing to the Leafline, Claire works with the Coalition to accomplish shared goals, and to give trail advocates, supporters, and managers a stronger and more cohesive voice. She brings six years of non-profit advocacy experience spanning active transportation, public lands, and conservation priorities. Most recently, she was a policy manager at Cascade Bicycle Club working to connect East King County by bike.
Claire says, “Imagine the communities of Puget Sound, seamlessly knit together by trail. To make this vision a reality, we need to scale up investments, and people will need to work together. The Leafline Trails Coalition is a tool to maximize our collective impact. We have government, business, and community groups together at the table, with the shared goal of ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality, connected trails. It’s important and exciting work, especially now when more people are out on trails for their physical and mental health during the pandemic.”
Claire will work closely with a new leadership group–comprised of trail managers, community groups, and businesses–to maintain the Coalition’s focus and momentum on creating an interconnected network of paved trails across the central Puget Sound region. Together, we can make sure trails are available for all to enjoy, that trails provide reliable transportation options, and accessible connections with the outdoors.
By advancing an interconnected network of paved trails across the central Puget Sound region, the Leafline Trails Coalition seeks to improve health, community, quality of life, mobility, and access for all. The Coalition is gaining momentum, with a new Leadership Group, shared staffing, and virtual work (the next Coalition meeting is on June 18).
To support the Leafline Trails Coalition and its mission, sign up for the newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming Leafline meetings and events.