Students have trudged along the muddy Cotton Hill Park Trail to get to Kirkland Junior High and Peter Kirk Elementary schools. Highland residents have also used the trail for walking or jogging to the nearby Crestwoods Park.
Over the years, people have laid down a hodge podge of old boards along the trail to provide a somewhat drier route through the puddles.
But tired of being stuck in the mud, Karen Story wanted a more permanent solution.
Last November, Story, communications chair for the Highlands Neighborhood Association, contacted the Kirkland Parks Department about building a raised gravel trail. Using funds from Highland’s Neighborhood Connections grant and with the help of about 40 volunteers, the trail was recently completed.
Last Saturday morning, nearly 50 residents and city leaders gathered by the trail to celebrate its grand opening.
“I love to walk,” said City Manager Dave Ramsay, but, “that little stretch was difficult to walk during the winter months, so what an improvement to my walk. I’m really impressed.”
During the grand opening event, several volunteers were recognized for their dedication, including Stu Clarke, who volunteered more than 100 hours on the project. An avid hiker, the 79-year-old South Juanita resident also volunteers for the Washington Trails Association and recently finished building trails in Crestwoods Park.
When the city approached Clarke and asked him for help on the Cotton Hill trail, he set out measuring the 500 foot, four-foot wide trail right away.
Work parties cleared brush to widen the trail and laid riff raff. They set timbers four feet apart on top of the rocks and spiked the timbers into the ground using long pieces of rebar. Then they filled between the timbers with medium sized rocks and put gravel on top.
According to Story, the turnpike” trail will allow water to flow underneath.
“The gravel packs down to make a very solid, permeable trail surface that will never be slippery,” she said, adding that the gravel trail should last for many years with little maintenance and it was less expensive to construct than a boardwalk.
The community had fun with the project, she said, and there were days when no one wanted to stop working.
To see photos of the project, visit http://kirklandhighlands.org/CottonHillTrail.
Carrie Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166, ext. 5050.