The String of Pearls Trails are envisioned to connect and enrich North Kitsap County with a regional system of land and water trails which will promote active and healthy lifestyles in all of our communities. This trail system will create opportunities for both active recreation and transportation and enhance our communities' livability by connecting us to natural areas. The network of trails that we build and plan today will continue to shape a legacy of integrated trails and open space in North Kitsap for generations, building a strong foundation for our community's appreciation and stewardship of our natural resources. Like ripples across a pond, we envision a network of local community trails that spread out from each community, linking residents to nearby parks and amenities, and connecting all of our communities to a spine of regional trails. The network of regional trails will provide a variety of opportunities for walking, biking, running, paddling, observing wildlife and horseback riding. It is our goal that walking and bicycling for local trips, exercise and enjoyment, will become a safe, pleasant and healthy choice for people of all ages and abilities. Our goal is to create a regional trail system that boosts community pride, health, community connections and the local economy by becoming a popular destination for both locals and visitors.
Olympic Property Group, originally promoted a trail system as one of several key elements in their String of Pearls vision for their 8,000 acres in the Port Gamble area and as a way to add value to their real estate holdings. Over 500 residents turned out for a single meeting voicing their support for a trail system and their concern about retaining access to OPG's property. The idea of a regional network of trails took fire, spurning the foundation of the non-profit North Kitsap Trail Association as a partnership between community volunteers and Olympic Property Group. Our organization reached out the community and with the assistance of political leaders, local and Tribal governments obtained a grant from the National Park Service to help craft a Master Trail Plan. The North Kitsap Trail Association has since expanded our board of Directors and volunteers to include representatives from local governments and all of our communities, in order to become a true community-public-private partnership. Our goal is for all of North Kitsap to work together to create a seamless system of connected multi-surface and multi-use land and water trails.
The American sedentary lifestyle and our car-oriented communities have combined to create what is considered an epidemic of obesity and surge of related illnesses. NKTA has collaborated with our local Health district, our schools and athletic depts. to design a trail system that promotes healthy lifestyles for people of all ages that improves the safety and use of trails as an active, healthy transportation choice and connects our communities and schools to diverse outdoor recreation activities and to each other.
The String of Pearls trails will create trails that highlight the natural beauty of our region and promote appreciation of wildlife and natural systems. Trails will provide educational opportunities and identify points of interest throughout the trail system that highlight cultural resources, working lands, local history and natural science. We believe the String of Peals Trail system will become an incredibly valuable asset for our communities and an important asset for promoting North Kitsap as an eco-tourism destination and enticement for sustainable economic development.
North Kitsap is in a key strategic location to connect two major paved trails of statewide significance; the Olympic Discovery Trail in Clallam and Jefferson County and the cross state trail corridor that links Seattle to the Idaho border. It is our goal to obtain outside funding to link these two trails via North Kitsap and link our regional trail to other regional, county and cross-state trail systems. These paved trail sections will encourage the use of non-motorized transportation by offering multiple trail access points that link to transit stops and provide safe, reasonably-direct routes between North Kitsap communities, ferries and bridges. The growing concern about Global warming is generating increasing interest in supporting active transportation choices that provide safe and pleasant ways for people to access transit without cars. Nationally, ninety percent of public transit use starts on foot, a regional trail system that connects to transit stops and park and rides will encourage the use of public transportation and facilitate environmentally preferable transportation choices.
The North Kitsap Trail Association is partnering with Olympic Property Group and is supportive of innovative land uses to maximize public access to open space and development of trails between North Kitsap communities, working forests, agricultural areas and new development. We are proud to work with both private landowners and local government to create a vision for works for our communities.
The String of Pearls Trails will link all of North Kitsap with a network of water "trail heads", that provide access to the shoreline and allow places to launch kayaks and enjoy the richness of Puget Sound. Our land and water trails will encourage environmental stewardship and an appreciation of our natural areas and will facilitate active healthy lifestyles by providing opportunities for non-motorized transportation choices as well as locally available healthy recreation options. We believe the String of Pearls Trails can help transform North Kitsap into an outdoor recreation destination that brings in sustainable economic development and tourism that supports the individuality of our communities.
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Download the NKTA Trail Plan