East Lake Sammamish Trail to open tomorrow

I’m excited to see this latest addition to our regional trails system. We will now have trails that extend from Ballard to Issaquah. For anyone who’s run or biked on East Lake Sammamish, this will be a welcome relief from contenting with the very fast and very heavy auto traffic on that road.

This is also a good example about understanding Title Reports when you purchase real estate — particularly when it comes to existing easements. For those of you not familiar with the history, the Seattle Times has a good story about the events leading up to the opening. The abridged version is:

  • Lakeside homeowners purchased property with existing Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad easement — even though it was no longer active the easement remained
  • Under the federal Rails to Trails act, King County purchased the easement for purposes of a recreational trial
  • Homeowners sue to try and block the trail
  • A federal judge rules that the former rail bed is appropriate for trail use

So ask yourself — should you ignore that easement that shows up in title just because it’s not in active use?

The property rights issue aside, I’m looking forward to trying out the trail tomorrow. One cocession they did provide for the homeowners was to add heavy fencing along the path. For others using the trails, I plead for you to remember that the adjoining homes are private property so please respect thier rights and stay on the trail.  Happy trails to all.