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Fennel Creek trail plan is winding its way through city

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By Brian Beckley

The Courier-Herald

Consultants for the city of Bonney Lake have completed a draft proposal of the Fennel Creek Trail plan and have presented the document to both the city council and the planning commission.

The draft plan calls for 5.2 miles of trail in a “linear park” to be added within city borders, linking to the Foothills Trail in Buckley and a possible link to Riverside Park in the Puyallup valley.

“That's the most aesthetic route to follow,” Consultant Bruce Dees told the planning commission.

“Where else in Bonney Lake can you find a corridor where there aren't houses and Wal-Marts in the way?” echoed Planning Manager Steve Ladd.

The trail will run parallel to Fennel Creek, within the creek's buffer zone, with trail heads at Allan Yorke Park, on city property near Target, on 218th, north of Old Buckley Highway, and Victor Falls.

The report was prepared by Bruce Dees and Associates at a cost of $40,000. The city has had a plan for the Fennel Creek trail since 1997, but according to Ladd, the plan was “skimpy” and lacked detail, leading the city council to commission the recent study.

Along with a detailed survey of the parcels involved, Dees also conducted 11 meetings of an ad hoc Fennel Creek trail committee and two public meetings.

Current plans call for a 12-foot wide multi-purpose asphalt trail with an adjacent equestrian trail. That would make it the same size at the Foothills Trail, which runs in a semi-circle around Bonney Lake from Enumclaw through Buckley, Orting and Sumner.

The trail could be used for educational purposes as well, teaching about the Fennel Creek habitat system and its importance to the Puyallup Rivershed.

The main trail head in Bonney Lake will be at Allan Yorke Park, a “logical” choice, according to Dees. The trail will start on he existing path at the park and then lead out through several “unbuildable lots” for which the city is currently negotiating, according to Dees. The trail would then cross 197th Street and access the city right-of-way.

After crossing Church Lake Road, the trail would follow the Lake Bonney outfall. The trail would then split, with one path heading south to the Foothills trail connection and the other aimed northeast toward the proposed Pierce County Flume Trail.

The trail would split again at the Corliss property, across Sumner Buckley Highway from the Target site, with one path headed toward a trail head at 214th Avenue and the other heading south, crossing Sumner Buckley at an existing cattle crossing, continuing to state Route 410. At 410, it would move west in the right-of-way to Angeline road, providing access under the highway. The trail would then cross to the east side of the creek, staying as far away from homes as possible.

The path continues south through several subdivisions before heading downhill toward the valley after Victor Falls, site of another trail head.

The city owns or has rights to several properties along the trail path though much of the corridor belongs to private owners. The plan calls for the city to build as much of the trail as it can and work toward obtaining the other land through purchase or subdivision agreements, like the ones it has in place with Falling Water, Garden Meadows and Copperfield Estates.

Until then, the plan suggests “short-term links” using existing rights-of way.

Dees would not comment on the possible purchase or construction prices of the trail, but a detailed, parcel-by parcel breakdown is included in the plan. The plan also includes suggested cross sections, trail heads and rest room design and recommends several possibly grants available for trail construction.

Property owners along the proposed path said the presentation was informative and the trail provides many advantages to the city.

Rebecca Watts said she got a pleasant change in the final draft when a section of the proposed trail was moved off her land. Watts and neighbor Sandra Goodspeed worried about possible vandalism to their properties as well as liability and privacy concerns.

The planning commission is expected to conduct a public hearing on the proposal in early December before making a recommendation to the city council, who will have final say over the plan.

Brian Beckley can be reached at bbeckley@courierherald.com.

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