Whidbey Island trail blazers make path at Kettles

The complex Coupeville Kettles matrix will expand this coming weekend.

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to bring their tools, including gloves, hoes, shovels, lopers, pulaskis and pole-saws, to break ground on a new leg of the Kettles in honor of National Trails Day.

The trail blazing party is a first for the area, said Joantha Gutherie, Island County Public Works project manager, of the new hiking, mountain biking and equestrian path that will be cleared Saturday on the 243-acre Kettles property adjacent to Fort Ebey State Park.

National Trails Day evolved from a report by the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, established in 1982 by President Reagan. The commission’s 1987 report recommended that Americans have better access to local trails. A group of public and private parties took hold of the issue, and in 1993 the American Hiking Society launched National Trails Day to celebrate America’s existing trails, encourage trail use and expand the country’s trail system.

The trail blazing party will take place Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet at the north end of the paved Kettles Trail, off Highway 20. For more information, call Joantha Gutherie, at 360-678-7965.

Meanwhile, efforts to extend the south end of the Kettles Trail to Highway 20 and Jacobs Road are expected to resume this week, according to Gutherie. Construction on the new section of paved pathway, called the Rhododendron Trail, began in October with a groundbreaking ceremony but was put on hold at the start of the rainy season. Some day, Gutherie said, she hopes the trail will extend south to the Rhododendron Garden.

The Rhododendron Trail project was funded in part through STPE, a transportation enhancement grant through the Federal Highway Administration. Island County provided the remaining cost of the trail, which ran just over $1 million.

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