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Newcastle's Trailblazer | Community recreation feature
Peggy Price has been working on trails for as long as she can remember, and her connection to the pathways that wind throughout Newcastle's wooded hills stretch back even farther.
As a child growing up around south Seattle and Renton, Price would build pathways in the sand and hike with her father in the forests around their home, examining the footpaths and critiquing their engineering. At a cabin her grandfather built near the Tye River, she said the biggest challenge was resisting the temptation of forging a network of trails across neighboring properties.
"We went hiking, and my dad would show me what worked and what didn't," she said of her introduction to hiking. "I'm trying to pass it on."
More than a decade after her work in Newcastle began, Price is on the cusp of taking another step forward with the opening of another section of the May Creek Trail, which will form a link with the Highlands Trail that stretches east and eventually, the Olympus and Waterline trails on the opposite side.
While Price and her own family have dedicated countless hours volunteering on every phase of trail development and planning with the city of Newcastle, nearly a dozen projects have also been completed by area Eagle Scout candidates and their troops.
"There is no way we would be anywhere near finished without the Scouts," Price said. "The kids really get in there."
Bill Burris and his son Zach, now a college graduate, have worked alongside the Price family and Newcastle Trails for several years to preserve the heritage of Newcastle's wooded paths, many of which have been reclaimed from horse trails dating back decades.
Burris, part of Newcastle-based Troop 498, said his family came to Newcastle some 30 years ago and like Price, his childhood included exploring the now developed hillsides and creek beds by foot and even horse.
"It's a nice way to get out and see nature and history of Newcastle," he said. "A part of what Scouts is about is providing for future generations."
A walk through the sloping, eight-tenths of a mile stretch from the S.E. 89th Place to Highlands Trail at Coal Creek Parkway provides an overview of the time, energy and resources local Eagle Scout candidates have put in to earn their distinction and continue to grow Newcastle's trail system.
Projects completed by local troops dot the trail, from a multi-layer waterline crossing to trail grading and resurfacing, and promise to not only enhance the experience for current users, but ensure the history of Newcastle's trail system is passed down.
"We have a tremendous trail system in Newcastle," Burris said. "There are a lot of opportunities for people to get out in the woods without having to drive miles and miles, and all of that is to the credit of Newcastle Trails."
A clearing along the trail is a popular spot with hikers for picnics, and also was home to a rare salmon spawning recently. JOSH SUMAN, BELLEVUE REPORTER
The waterline crossing, with multiple layers underneath for maximum drainage. JOSH SUMAN, BELLEVUE REPORTER
Drainage is one of the most important issues for trail work, and is a constant concern. JOSH SUMAN, BELLEVUE REPORTER
An old USPS Mail truck sits along the trail. JOSH SUMAN, BELLEVUE REPORTER
An improved section of the trail, which was completed by an Eagle Scout candidate. JOSH SUMAN, BELLEVUE REPORTER