Bounty Loop Trailhead Takes Shape

Author: Whidbey Camano Land Trust | 10/01/17
       

Disabled Veteran Welcomes Progress

William Allen loves the quiet of the forest.

He and his friends on Bounty Loop Road in Freeland used to enjoy peaceful retreats in the woods near their homes on a trail wide enough for carts and scooters. That was critical for Allen and his friends, all limited by disabilities.

“It was really nice to get out,” Allen said. “You’ve got little birds chirping and flying around. It was just nice to sit there and have a sandwich and enjoy the whole routine.”

But those outings ended about six years ago when a neighbor locked the gate and blocked access to the woods. So when Allen learned recently about a new access being developed in his neighborhood, one specifically designed for people with mobility impairments, a smile returned to his face.

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust and Island County are partnering on a project that will feature an ADA-compliant loop trail allowing Allen and others with physical limitations to enjoy part of our Trillium Community Forest.

Allen, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran, has a condition that impacts his equilibrium, making it a challenge for him to stand on uneven surfaces. So when he ventures around the neighborhood, he travels in a mobility scooter he personally restored.

“Any place where it’s not level, I fall down a lot,” he said.

Donations from more than 1,500 people helped the Land Trust acquire much of the 721-acre Trillium Community Forest in 2010. Bounty Loop will be the third access point into the forest, joining trailheads on State Highway 525 north of Freeland and Smugglers Cove Road.

Northwest Trails, Inc. is scheduled to build the trail in November and it’s expected to open in late December. The Island County Road Shop cleared an area to make room for a parking lot during the summer. The asphalt went down in September. Funding for the parking lot and trail was provided by the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office through its Local Parks and Land and Water Conservation Fund grant programs.

The loop trail will be five feet wide. It will start out as asphalt, then transition to packed gravel. It will also be a nice option for parents with small children.

“I’m excited about the access,” said Brian Van Wetter, another Bounty Loop resident. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Allen can’t wait to get back out on the trails. He and others limited by disabilities used to help maintain the old trails when they could still access them. “Lots of us chronically gifted folks live out here,” Allen said with a laugh. “I’m trying to be politically correct. Chronically gifted sounds better than gimpy old buggers.”