Tuesday, July 20 a group of volunteer workers added the final touches to
the Lime Kiln Trail outside Granite Falls. After years of work, the trail
is set to open for day hikes sometime after Labor Day. The trail is set in
a 970-acre property along the Stillaguamish River and follows parts of the
old Monte Cristo Railroad.
culminates seven years of hard work and volunteerism,” said Stanwood
resident Steve Dean at the trailhead last Tuesday. Since 1995 Dean has
been key in organizing the Robe Canyon Historic Park and spearheading the
volunteer work parties.
1998, groups have cleared brush, dug culverts, erected signs, built
bridges and hauled rocks, dirt, wood and tools up and down the seven-mile
roundtrip trail. A quick look at some of the numbers shows just how much
work went into the trail’s creation:
10,419 total volunteer hours.
325 different volunteers.
1,139 work days, and
176 organized work parties.
male and female, young and old, have come from all over the Northwest to
work on the trail. They’ve been as young as junior high students and as
old as 84. Some have been experienced hikers for decades while others were
relative newcomers to hiking. Last Tuesday’s final group of nine workers
was indicative of the wide range of people willing to lend a hand on the
resident Charlie Forbes, 78, has worked the trail on 17 different
occasions over the last four years. “I’ve done it all,” says Forbes.
“Clearing soil, raking, brush cutting, moving rocks. I like to hike and
I love to give back to the trail. We do this so people can enjoy the
says volunteering over the years has opened his eyes to Dean’s and all
the volunteer’s work ethic. “I’m amazed at Steve’s commitment and
abilities and the various people I’ve met doing this.”
of the people he met, on the other end of the age spectrum, is 16-year-old
Cory Traulsen of Lake Stevens. The Viking sophomore spent two days working
on the trail to fulfill his necessary community service hours. He returned
to the trail last week strictly for pleasure.
came today just for fun,” says Traulsen. “I love this trail. It’s
the perfect hiking trail because you don’t have too much sun, it’s
real peaceful and it’s the closest trail to home that I know of.”
Harper is a long time resident of Granite Falls and with her father was
one of the first volunteers to hack the trail out of the mountainside.
“We did a little bit of everything,” says Harper. “Put in foot
bridges, dug, brushed, and hauled in rock by the bucketfuls.”
says growing up so close to Robe Canyon made the work easy because it felt
like home. “I never wondered why I was doing it because it’s my back
yard,” she says. One reward, says Harper, has been seeing the level of
work and cooperation from so many people.
amazing to see just what human hands can accomplish,” she says. “Out
in the real world it’s competition, but out here it’s unity.”
unified effort has come through Dean’s leadership He has logged in more
hours on the trail than anyone. Of the 176 total work parties since 1998,
Dean has missed only two.
started working on the trail as an advocate in 1992, before it was a
park,” says Dean. “I was enamored with the history of Monte Cristo
Railroad and so much of that is intertwined with Robe Canyon.”
primary objective of all this work is to provide families in our area an
opportunity to come out and enjoy a wild place that’s interrelated with
the historic beginnings of our county,” he said.
Lime Kiln Trail is laced with historic evidence of people who made their
living up Robe Canyon long ago. Volunteers put up signs at certain points
of the trail to show indications that the area now quiet and serene was
once alive and bustling with industry.
the trail hikers can see the old railroad grade, lumber mill and dry kiln
from a generation long gone, all reminders of a people’s hard work.
Rusted saw blades, telegraph poles, building foundations and other
artifacts are now tucked away in a century of Mother Nature’s growth.
lot of that growth made forward progress on the trail slow and difficult.
Dean says volunteers averaged about a half mile a year. What he
anticipated being a two or three-year effort turned out to be seven
year’s of hard work.
hard work culminated last week as the final work party erected the sign
marking the end of the trail and the end of an enormous team effort.
“It’s been a real pleasure to see people who are interested in hiking
and are willing to come back more than once to work and make this
possible,” says Dean.
formal date has been set for the opening of the Lime Kiln Trail although
Snohomish County Parks and Recreation officials hope to have it open in
September. The county still has some work to finish at the trailhead,
including putting up a county park sign. More information, including
contact information for the county’s parks department, is available
online at www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Parks.
Copyright ©2004 Lake Stevens Journal,
by The Lake Stevens Journal., Lake Stevens, Washington