Millie Fonda recently started walking the wooded trails again near Engle Road in Coupeville and found new interpretive signs to be a welcome surprise.
“It’s really nice to have all that information,” Fonda said.
New things keep popping up at the Admiralty Inlet Preserve property and surrounding land owned and managed by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.
The most recent addition is an excavator, which is carving out a new public trail and re-routing an existing one with the intent to give Coupeville residents and visitors another place to recreate in a scenic natural setting.
The near 0.4 miles of new trail and 0.3 miles of improved trail follow along Engle Road near where the land trust is restoring prairie habitat.
The new Engle Trail isn’t expected to be ready for public use until June with a community event to be held this summer to celebrate the trail, interpretive signs and educational kiosks placed around the property.
“When we do our management plans for the property, we always look at where are appropriate places where we can let the public come and enjoy nature,” said Jessica Larson, land steward with the land trust. “Part of our mission is to help people connect with the land.”
The ultimate goal is to be a part of a network of connected natural trails that would allow users to roam from Camp Casey to Ebey’s Landing, Larson said.
The landowners involved in that scenario are the land trust, Washington State Parks, Seattle Pacific University and a private landowner with a National Park Service trail easement, Larson said.
Discussions have started with some of the parties, however, the plan is still tentative with no timetable in place, Larson said.
The new Engle Trail will be open to runners and bikers and offer loop trail options for walkers to connect to existing trails already in place in the Admiralty Inlet Preserve.
Currently, only walking is allowed in the interior trails within the preserve, which include water views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The new trail is being funded by a grant from the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
Twin Oaks Construction & Metalworks, based in White Salmon, was contracted to create the new trail and re-route the existing one, which was done to allow more space for prairie restoration.
Krista Thie, co-owner of Twin Oaks along with husband Daryl Hoyt, considers Coupeville home, having spent part of her youth living in the town. Her mother, Mary Louise Thie, still resides in Coupeville.
“Getting to be part of this is very, very special,” Krista Thie said.