Survey: People like trails in city


Staff writer

City parks officials have received positive feedback from a survey to determine whether people in Federal Way use city-owned trails.

So far, the 196 usable responses to the survey indicate there is a community interest in public trails in the city, but the final report won’t be released until it’s given to the Parks Commission Jan. 9, parks planner Betty Sanders said.

Inquiry into citizen interest in trails began several months ago after the parks department heard there might be some public interest in building a trail along West Hylebos Creek.

Officials held a community meeting to gather input in October. Residents living along the creek attended and said they had concerns — “for many reasons,” Sanders said — with a trail so close to their homes and properties.

That meeting led to a larger discussion about the need for community trails in Federal Way. Parks officials launched the survey to see what the level of interest is for community trails and how much existing trails actually are used.

“We wanted to pull back and see if there was any community interest in trails generally and in that location specifically,” Sanders said.

The city owns two trails — the BPA Trail, which most are familiar with, and the West Campus trail, which runs parallel to First Avenue South behind The Quad shopping center — and the state owns the West Hylebos State Park boardwalk.

Use of parks and trails drops off dramatically during the winter, which means parks crews focus mainly on maintenance, parks operations superintendent Kurt Reuter said.

During the summer season, which runs from March to October, the parks department hires 18 to 20 seasonal employees just to keep up with all the garbage collection, mowing and upkeep. But once winter rolls around, the department trims down to a bare-bones staff.

Parks staff periodically mow back the growth along the trails, and once a week they empty trash cans, check for vandalism, replace signs and look for cracks in pavement.

Reuter said crews spend a “good deal of time” covering graffiti and picking up garbage along the trails.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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