news-trailAn established trail through Twisp will be nice. Photo by Sue Misao

 

BY ANN McCREARY

A Seattle firm with extensive trail development experience has been recommended by the Twisp Planning Commission to work on the town’s proposed Community Trail project.

Planning Commission members recently reviewed  proposals from three trail planners and selected MacLeod Reckord, a firm specializing in landscape architecture, planning and urban design.

Among the firm’s previous trail projects are the Burke Gilman Trail in the Seattle area, the Centennial Trail in Snohomish, the Snohomish Riverfront Trail, the Green River Trail, The Driggs/Alta Trail in Idaho and the Teton Pass Trail in Idaho and Wyoming.

Twisp officials are proposing a community trail running through the town and following the shorelines of the Twisp and Methow rivers where possible. The idea has been discussed for more than 20 years, and got a boost about three years ago when Twisp received a state grant to acquire land for the trail.

As a result, the town has secured easements, rights-of-way, and letters of support from property owners along much of the proposed trail route. The proposed trail would run three miles through town from the westernmost border at the Twisp Ponds, through the Twisp Park, and continuing to Burton Street on the east side of town.

The next phase of planning, as outlined by the proposal from MacLeod Reckord, would include developing a schedule for the project and a contract agreement, creating maps and surveys, developing a public outreach plan and holding community workshops, and developing alternative design concepts for the trail.

The town council must receive a contract proposal from MacLeod Reckord and approve it before the firm begins work on the project, said Mayor Soo Ing-Moody.

Dwight Filer, a member of the Twisp Planning Commission, said MacLeod Reckord would also help the town in efforts to secure funding for the trail development.

In its proposal, MacLeod Reckord cited several key attributes that makes Twisp a good candidate for a community trail. These include the Twisp and Methow Rivers, which the proposal described as “the front and back doors to town.” The town park at the confluence of the rivers provides “a trailhead and a hub of recreational opportunities without significant additional capital cost.”

Additionally, the town has pedestrian and/or bike corridors on both bridges, and has undeveloped streets, which lend themselves to trail development. The community of Twisp has “environmental awareness and appreciation” and an “enthusiastic group of trail advocates,” MacLeod Reckord’s proposal stated.

“Your town is established and authentic, your downtown is charming and welcoming. This trail will connect to your downtown, increasing use and popularity of the trail and providing benefits of greater visibility and accessibility to businesses,” the proposal said.

Among challenges facing the town in developing a community trail, the proposal said, is Highway 20, which runs through town and  “divides residents from town, creating a barrier to easy passage between homes, businesses, parks, community center, church and school.” The trail will seek to remedy that separation, the planners wrote.

They suggested working with the Washington State Department of Transportation “on changes to the highway to facilitate non-motorized use along its length and at critical crossings” to improve the livability of Twisp.

“We have helped Port Townsend reclaim and revitalize their own State Highway 20 through downtown, slowing motorized traffic and expanding sidewalks for more pedestrian and bicycle use,” the proposal said.

The planners recommended a series of community meetings to allow people to share their knowledge and opinions about the trail project. “We strongly believe this plan should be a product of, and by, the community,” MacLeod Reckord’s proposal said.