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National, San Juan County parks team up on trail improvements

The National Park Service has the dough, the San Juan Island Trails Committee has the muscle.

And San Juan County Parks will bring the two together.

Two walking trails on National Park Service property, one at American Camp and the other at English Camp, are slated for improvement and expansion thanks to a $25,000 federal "cost-share" grant, as well as the teamwork between the three groups.

On Aug. 19, the San Juan County Council set the stage for enhancement of the two trails by authorizing county Parks to enter into an agreement with San Juan Island National Historical Park and to muster the labor needed for the pending improvements.

As a public agency, county Parks serves as a conduit enabling members of the trails committee, a non-profit group, to work on publicly-funded projects. The committee will provide $25,000 of labor as the local "match" for the federal grant.

At American Camp, the trail slated for improvement connects the visitors center to Land Bank property to the north along Cattle Point Road. At English Camp, a trail leading from Roche Harbor Highlands will be rerouted and cross Westside Road on its way toward Garrison Bay.

If all goes according to plan, National Park Superintendent Peter Dederich said trail construction could begin next month. Though the grant has been secured, Dederich said the slated improvements still must undergo internal review by the National Park Service and that an agreement with county Parks has yet to be finalized.

"We're hoping to start sometime in September," he said.

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