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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Introducing Leafline, a coalition to connect Central Puget Sound with regional trails

Summary

Launching today, the Leafline Trails Coalition is committed to expanding and connecting trails in the four-county Central Puget Sound region, providing more equitable access to safe places to walk and bike, offering reliable and healthy transportation options, and growing the region’s economy.

Story

Elected officials, non-profit organizations, community groups, local businesses, and trail advocates from King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties today announced the formation of Leafline, a coalition to connect Central Puget Sound with an integrated, equitable network of regional trails.

The Leafline Trails Coalition will advocate for investments to expand and connect existing trails to:

  • Provide more equitable access to safe places to walk and bike
  • Offer reliable and healthy transportation options
  • Grow the region’s economy by adding jobs, connecting businesses to customers and employees, and providing millions of dollars in healthcare savings

"Leafline will achieve what Central Puget Sound has needed for generations: a regional trails network connected to high-capacity transit for the benefit of our people, our economy, and our environment,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The founding coalition members have the shared vision and determination we need to unify our trails and realize the potential for healthy, reliable, equitable transportation and recreation.”

Many of the signature projects – including Centennial Trail, Eastrail, Foothills Trail, Interurban Trail, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail, Sound to Olympics Trail, and Whitehorse Trail – are ready now for federal infrastructure investments that will stimulate equitable economic growth throughout the region.

There are nearly 450 miles of trails in the four-county region – including more than 300 miles in King County – but there has never before been a concerted effort to integrate trails across jurisdictional boundaries and Puget Sound.

The Leafline symbol, which represents trails as a “Living Connection,” is the unifying marker representing the four-country trails network. The brand itself shows how various parts of the system can connect to create a living, vibrant whole, reflecting themes communicated during the community engagement process. Leafline is optimistic, nature inspired, inviting, inclusive and timeless. Under one name, Leafline unifies the trails network to connect place to place, to nature, neighbors, communities.

The coalition has four objectives:

  • Build a resilient trails network that offers safe, reliable, and healthy transportation options that connect to high-capacity transit
  • Connect more communities to the region’s trails, prioritizing those communities that are currently underserved
  • Strengthen the region’s economy by creating jobs and tourism destinations and better connecting commuters and customers alike
  • Improve public health outcomes by providing more convenient, equitable access to outdoor exercise, active transportation, and open space

Evolving from the King County Regional Trails Summit in October 2018, the Leafline Trails Coalition is inspired by and modeled after a national movement of trail coalitions that harness their collective impact by leveraging resources, fostering partnerships, and growing public awareness of trails.

The founding members of the coalition are:

  • Bikes Club of Snohomish County
  • Black People Hike
  • Cascade Bicycle Club
  • City of Federal Way
  • City of Maple Valley
  • City of Marysville
  • City of Renton
  • Conservation Biology Institute
  • Eastrail Partners
  • Foothills Trails Coalition
  • ForeverGreen Trails
  • GirlTrek
  • Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association
  • King County Parks
  • Metro Parks Tacoma
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
  • North Kitsap Trails Association
  • Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition
  • Pierce County Parks and Recreation
  • REI Co-Op
  • Si View Metropolitan Park District
  • Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Snohomish County Transportation Coalition
  • Trail Coalition of Snohomish County
  • Washington Bikes
  • Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Washington Trails Association
  • West Sound Cycling Club
  • The Wilderness Society

As congressional leaders consider opportunities for economic growth, the Leafline Trails Coalition has identified 11 projects that are ready for investment in planning, design, and construction:

  • Centennial Trail
  • Eastrail
  • Foothills Trail
  • Georgetown to South Park Trail
  • Green River North Extension
  • Interurban Trail
  • Lake to Sound Trail
  • Mountains to Sound Greenway
  • Pipeline Trail
  • Seattle Waterfront Trail
  • Sound to Olympics Trail

Healthier transportation options connecting more people to opportunity

Infrastructure investments in regional trails have produced positive, lasting results for decades in the Central Puget Sound region. Major employers – including REI Co-op and Facebook, who recently contributed $2 million to connect the Eastrail – have located near trails in part because they offer healthy, reliable commuter options. Knitting together a four-county network of regional trails will better connect communities that are currently excluded from economic opportunities.

The Leafline Trails Coalition will also connect more residents to high-capacity transit. The emerging 42-mile Eastrail – one of the north-south pillars of Leafline – will connect to four of the 10 Link light rail stations that Sound Transit will open on the Eastside in 2023.

Multiple studies have quantified the benefits of regional trail investments in the state:

  • Active transportation translates into more jobs per dollar than any other type of transportation
  • Trails in Washington likely provide $5.9 billion in environmental benefits per year
  • Improving access to trails could help close the health gap in Washington
  • Completing a single trail in Pierce County could result in nearly 3 million fewer miles traveled by car each year

Relevant links


Quotes

Leafline will achieve what Central Puget Sound has needed for generations: a regional trails network connected to high-capacity transit for the benefit of our people, our economy, and our environment. The founding coalition members have the shared vision and determination we need to unify our trails and realize the potential for healthy, reliable, equitable transportation and recreation.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Trails give people reliable, healthy, and fun transportation options. With Leafline you can walk, bike, or roll to transit, and use trails for your entire trip.

Bruce, Dammeier, Pierce County Executive

We can strengthen the local economy with trails by providing jobs and tourism, and making it easier for customers or commuters to get to their destinations.

Rob Gelder, North Kitsap County Commissioner

With trail use at record levels during the pandemic, the need for more trail options is clear. Working together as a broad-based four-county coalition, we can get more done to connect our trails and make them more accessible to everyone.

Peter Mayer, Deputy Director Metro Parks Tacoma and Chair of the Leafline Leadership Group

High-quality regional trails are an important part of making the outdoors and active transportation accessible to everyone no matter where they live. Leafline Trails will improve connections between communities and provide a gateway for all to enjoy improved quality of life, healthy lifestyles, economic development, and safe commute options.

Joe Impecoven, REI Co-op Experiences Market Coordinator and Vice Chair of the Leafline Leadership Group

Trail use has doubled nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are showing that they value trails to improve mental and physical health. That's a major reason why expanding the trails network in Central Puget Sound is key to recovering from the pandemic and associated economic downturn.

Vicky Clarke, Policy Director, Cascade Bicycle Club

Trails are where we connect to take a walk and join a movement. In the footsteps of a civil rights legacy, GirlTrek is a national health movement that activates thousands of Black women to be change makers in their lives and communities — through walking.

Trina Baker, Organizer, GirlTrek

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-263-1250
Claire Martini, Leafline Trails Coalition Manager, 206-620-0470


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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