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Maylor family happy as trail rejoins point and Oak Harbor
Like most projects in Oak Harbor, the Maylor Point extension trail took a combined effort by the Navy and city of Oak Harbor. Unlike other trails within the city, however, the gravel pathway out to Maylor Point required a little extra push and paperwork to get the job done.
Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Navy restricted public access to the Seaplane Base, and consequently to Maylor Point, for all non-military personnel.
This did not go over well for some lifelong Oak Harbor residents including Westley Maylor, the father of fifth-generation Maylor family member and Oak Harbor native Helene Valdez. She attended the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon with her grandson, 5-year-old Cole Valdez, a seventh-generation Oak Harbor born “Maylor.”
“I’m so tickled pink,” she said of the Navy’s decision to re-open access to Maylor Point. “I just wish (my father) could have see this.”
Westley died about a year and a half ago, about six months before the announcement of the Maylor Point trail extension plan.
The much-anticipated trail had long been a topic of discussion, and was listed as an objective in Oak Harbor’s Comprehensive Plan for more than 15 years, said Mayor Jim Slowik.
A change in base classification re-opened the discussion of the trail extension, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Captain Gerral David said at the boardwalk connection trail opening last year.
Capt. David quoted President Abraham Lincoln at the Maylor opening: “Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”
“And that’s how we did it,” he said. “We’ve been the number-one naval air station for two years in a row. That’s not my fault. It’s because we are a team.”
As an on-going project, Oak Harbor parks manager Hank Nydam said it’s his department’s goal to install signs with historical information about Oak Harbor Bay including information on the infamous wharf fire and chronicles of various boat sinkings.
Following the ribbon cutting the mayor, skipper, and various city and county officials and staff walked the trail.
Slowik signed a two-year contract with the Navy last November for access to Maylor Point. The contract will allow access through November 2011, and then the agreement will be reviewed, said City Engineer Eric Johnston.
The trail is a three-quarter-mile addition to the existing waterfront “fitness trail” from the Scenic Heights Trailhead to the Oak Harbor Yacht Club. The new addition continues from the yacht club, through the marina parking lot — marked by a painted pathway — past the storage area and boat ramp and onto Seaplane Base property where the trail turns to gravel.
“It’s roughly three miles from the Scenic Heights trailhead to Maylor Point,” Johnston said.
Trail maintenance is expected to cost approximately $5,000 each year, including pathway upkeep, trash collection and disposal, Johnston told the City Council at a meeting in September. City officials plan to cover maintenance costs with money from the city’s general fund.
The city will continue to improve its trail system, he said.
Several parking spaces, interpretive maps and other improvements will be made later this summer to the Scenic Heights trailhead off Scenic Heights Road.