Community News

2016 0614 guemes trail 600

The city has picked up an award for design work on the partially-completed Guemes Channel Trail.

Walkable Washington Symposium awarded the City of Anacortes the first prize Innovation Award in recognition of the engineering and design work on the Guemes Channel Trail.

Parks Foundation Members and Guemes Channel Trail supporters Michelle and John Pope submitted the award application.

Ms. Pope states, “I think our trail deserves this award.” The Guemes Channel Trail was selected for its infrastructure and structural development and because it promotes a healthy, livable, and walkable community.

Mayor Gere said in a press release, “It’s with great anticipation that I look forward to riding my bike from Washington Park to March’s Point via the Guemes Channel Trail. On behalf of the City, we are all committed daily to the completion of this community project.”

The Guemes Channel Trail is on an old rail bed that hugs the north coast of Fidalgo Island. Eventually, the trail will connect the Washington State San Juan Ferry Terminal and the west side of the island to downtown Anacortes, linking to the Tommy Thompson Trestle Trail along the east shoreline and crossing Fidalgo Bay.

The trail will offer the only safe route for pedestrians and bikers to get to the downtown area from the State Ferry Terminal. It parallels State Route 20 Spur, a narrow, two-lane highway without sidewalks and with narrow and inconsistent shoulders. Right of way issues have prevented shoulder widening.

The Guemes Channel Trail has long been proposed as a safe alternative off the main road for non-motorized travel to the Ferry Terminal and the west end of town. Non-motorized travel appeals to local and visiting ferry passengers who can avoid automobile wait times (often 4 hours or more in peak season) at the ferry by using their feet or their bike.

To date, 1.1 miles of the Guemes trail from Edwards Way to Lovric’s Marina has been constructed. It is a 12 foot-wide asphalt walkway over an old rail-bed that accommodates multi- modes of human-powered transportation – pedestrians, dog-walkers, strollers, bicycles, and inline skates. The trail is at and twists along the Guemes Channel, offering spectacular views of the water, islands and mountains.

One portion of the Guemes Channel Trail yet to be completed, from the Marina to downtown Anacortes, lies on privately owned rail bed parcels overgrown with blackberry bushes. Right-of-way easements need to be obtained from property owners, requiring more funds to complete the trail. 

Walkable Washington Symposium is the state’s only event designed to provide helpful resources, network opportunities with over 150 planners, landscape architects, engineers, non-profit leaders, educators, and community advocates, and to recognize outstanding projects through Innovation Awards.