Submitted by the Lopez Community Trails Network
The 2019 Lopez Walkabout hike over the length of Lopez Island took place on Sept. 21 and 22, with participation by 50 hikers who traversed public and private lands hiking over 18 miles in all. Both hikers and property owners were thrilled and pleased by the event. Starting from near Iceberg Point in the south and the Ferry Terminal in the north, two groups traveled to the school on the first day and finished the full length on the second day. Horses accompanied the southern group on the first day and a third group hiked the entire length in one day.
The walkabout is a yearly event put on by Lopez Community Trails Network, an association dedicated to connecting all parts of Lopez Island with hiking, biking and equestrian trails. LCTN envisions developing a trail near you that will connect to all of Lopez: ferry, school, Village, east and west sides, major public parks, the Monument, Land Bank preserves, farms and more.
Now in its 10th year, LCTN boasts 500-plus members with a common vision of sharing our island through connecting trails. Many members participated in two trail building classes and now guide the construction of trails. Last year LCTN held a successful Trail Trial, opening a route between the ferry and the Village to the public for an entire month over trails and pastures, almost completely off roadways. The hope is to make this route permanent in the future, utilizing short term events as tests so problems can be resolved.
The rest of the developed world sees trails as a normal, expected resource developed over thousands of years. Several countries provide access for hiking across all lands (with minor restrictions) while others have extensive networks of trails across public and private property throughout the country.
LCTN recognizes that as Americans we have a greater emphasis on private property rights. Trails exist mostly in public parks and preserves although the “rails to trails” movement has converted extensive right-of-ways. The vision of LCTN’s founders is that we are a sharing community and have more in common with that old-world notion of free passage providing the opportunity to create trails that connect us as a sharing community.
Through patience and endurance, LCTN will fulfill its vision, mission and goals bringing a new, natural connection to Lopez we can all share. More information and illustrations are available at LopezTrails.org.