After more than a decade of work, the Vashon Maury Island Land Trust on Sunday celebrated the completion of the Judd Creek Loop Trail with a ribbon-cutting at the trail head on 111th Avenue between 204th and 216th streets.
The Land Trust made the initial purchase of the property back in 2004, and Executive Director Tom Dean noted that it’s not unusual for a project like this to take as long as it did.
“It’s an ongoing venture,” he said. “And we’re certainly hoping to be able to make more purchases and extend other sections of the trail going forward.”
The trail is described as a one-mile loop that winds through Paradise Valley, across Judd Creek and through a variety of forests and meadows.
“This is a great teaching trail (that) showcases the Land Trust’s habitat restoration along Judd Creek,” Charley Rosenberry, Land Trust board president, said in a press release.
The Judd Creek Preserve plays host to spawning Coho and chum salmon, threatened songbirds and the rare Western Pearlshell Freshwater Mussel.
The trail was funded by both private donors and a $10,000 matching grant from King County’s Community Partnership program. The total cost of the project came in around $25,000.
The trail will be open to pedestrians and leashed dogs only, as soft soil conditions are not appropriate for horses, bikes and motorized vehicles. The leash policy for dogs is necessary to prevent them from going in the creek and interfering with the spawning salmon and their eggs or harassing other wildlife or people in the area. If trail users fail to follow the policy, dogs will have to be banned from the trail altogether.
Dean explained that the Land Trust provides public access wherever it’s appropriate and safe, but “at the end of the day,” he said, “the stewardship of Judd Creek is the responsibility of the Land Trust and this community.”
The Judd Creek Loop Trail is another piece of the long-term plan to establish a pedestrian trail system that connects Island Center Forest to Quartermaster Harbor. The 103rd Street right-of-way improvements were completed last month.