Land Trust volunteers Nancy South, left, Sue Payton, and Robert Payton work on building a new trail in Central Whidbey that will be part of the future Walking Ebey’s Trail System. Photo provided

Land Trust volunteers Nancy South, left, Sue Payton, and Robert Payton work on building a new trail in Central Whidbey that will be part of the future Walking Ebey’s Trail System. Photo provided

Volunteers get jump on improving trails

  • Friday, March 29, 2019 8:30pm
  • Life

By Ron Newberry

for the Whidbey News-Times

It may be a year before Robert and Sue Payton are able to walk the new trail they recently helped build in Central Whidbey. But as far as Robert is concerned, it will be worth the wait.

The Paytons were among 11 people who came to a patch of woods near Coupeville on March 22 to finish the construction of a quarter-mile section of trail. Many had come earlier in the month to start building the segment, which will be part of the future Walking Ebey’s Trail System.

“We belong to a walking club so we hike all kinds of trails,” Robert Payton said. “We’re excited to get this finished so we can have another walk through here.”

The enthusiasm over the new trail project was infectious, leading to another double-digit turnout of volunteers.

“I like to hike,” Nancy South of Freeland said. “Any new trail on Whidbey is great.”

The Whidbey-Camano Land Trust started planning for a trail system in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve more than a decade ago. By securing conservation and trail easements from private landowners, the Land Trust now is connecting existing trails in Central Whidbey to create a European-like walking experience to and from Coupeville through surrounding forests, farmlands and parks and along beaches.

“When we heard about it, we were immediately interested because it’s sort of a great interface between the forest and the prairie,” said Ed Aites of Oak Harbor, who was joined by his wife Lorna. “And that’s the type of landscape we’re particularly fond of. We were also kind of thinking it’s a parallel to the walking paths of Britain where there are a lot of public walking areas that go through farmland. And we’ve always enjoyed that idea.”

Trail building started in 2018 near the Land Trust’s Admiralty Inlet Preserve, north of Fort Casey State Park. The first two phases will make it possible to walk from that preserve through the pastoral interior and connect with Rhododendron County Park, which joins with the county’s Kettles Trail along State Highway 20 and leads into Coupeville and north to Fort Ebey State Park.

The trail project plan has five phases. Phases 1 and 2 include more than four miles of trail and are expected to be completed and open for public enjoyment in 2020.

Grant funding for this project is from Island County Conservation Futures Fund and a National Park Service and Outdoor Foundation grant. The Land Trust needs to secure additional funding to complete the trail system and will be working on this in the months to come.

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust is a nonprofit nature conservation organization that actively involves the community in protecting, restoring and appreciating the important natural habitats and resource lands that support the diversity of life on our islands and in the waters of Puget Sound.

For information, including volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.wclt.org/, email info@wclt.org, or call 360-222-3310.

More in Life

Coupeville Library staff digs in to solve photo mysteries

Let’s say you find a box of a few hundred old photos… Continue reading

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Captain Whidbey Inn bartender Aaron Bloom mixes a specialty cocktail as part of the Christmas pop-up Miracle. As part of the inn’s holiday-themed events, community members are invited to help decorate the tree in the lobby, a revival of an old tradition.
Christmas spirit flows at historic inn

The Captain Whidbey Inn might be under relatively new ownership, but this… Continue reading

Downtown Oak Harbor lights up for the holiday season

The rain let up just in time for Santa’s arrival. The Oak… Continue reading

She makes a village

With a click of a button, Tammy Butler’s living room comes bursting… Continue reading

Hitchcocks celebrate 50th wedding anniversary

Martha “Marty” and Robert James Hitchcock recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. For… Continue reading

Gallery presenting holiday show

During December, Artworks Gallery at Greenbank Farm is presenting a group show… Continue reading

A wild card: South Whidbey resident ventures into tarot reading

Gerry Reed does not look like a stereotypical tarot card reader. A… Continue reading

Photographer Paul Lischeid captured this image of an osprey on Whidbey Island.
Ospreys are not your typical raptor, according to speaker

By RON NEWBERRY Special to the News-Times Michelle Landis has worked with… Continue reading

Oak Harbor police are guests of honor at academy’s ‘friendsgiving’ feast

What “friendsgiving” is complete without green eggs and ham? Luckily, Timmy Aston,… Continue reading

Whidbey Clay Center throwing an open house

Anyone who has ever wanted to learn how to make a ceramic… Continue reading

Ryan’s House serves as ‘stepping stone’ for young formerly homeless woman

At age 21, Victoria Brown was preparing to leave a drug rehabilitation… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Anna Cosper
                                An example of one of Anna Cosper’s holiday cards.
Langley illustrator taking commissions for the holidays

Langley illustrator Anna Cosper likes to joke that she’s been drawing since… Continue reading