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Bridge brings people to Meadowbrook farm

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For the first time, the public will soon be able to explore Meadowbrook Farm, all because of two new bridges.

The bridges are almost finished, after being started on Earth Day,

April 22. They are located on Meadowbrook land near State Route 202, east

of Snoqualmie Middle School.

Greg Watson of the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association

said that it shouldn't be more than a few weekends until the bridges are

completed and people will be able to walk around the property. Currently,

the land is largely inaccessible because of wetlands and drainage ditches.

"The bridges really helped us jump-start access to the farm,"

said Betsy Peabody of Puget Sound Restoration Fund, the organization

that helped secure funding for the project. "It will be a magnet for

community involvement for years to come because it has so much to offer."

Meadowbrook Farm is a 450-acre parcel that sits just west of Mount

Si and was acquired in 1996 by the cities of North Bend and

Snoqualmie with King County conservation funds. The property has both historical

and ecological significance. Rock formations located on the land have

been central to the Snoqualmie Tribe's creation myth and the land provides

open space and habitat for wildlife, such as elk, birds and trout.

The property got its name from serving as a dairy and vegetable

farm for many years, starting in 1910. Before that, it was the world's

largest hops-growing farm.

The bridge project is the first step in constructing an extensive trail

system throughout the property that will link Meadowbrook Farm with

the King County Snoqualmie Valley Rail Trail. According to Peabody, 2.5

miles of the trail system will be built once a federal grant is secured, which

should be by the end of the year.

Watson said the trail will be open to pedestrians, horses and

mountain bikes. No motorized vehicles of any kind will be allowed on the property.

Many individuals and organizations have been involved in

building the bridge. The Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation sponsored the

project through Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

The cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie also helped, along

with the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association and Weyerhaeuser

employees. The Student Conservation Association provided engineering

expertise and supervised the volunteer labor for bridge-building.

Since the land is mostly undeveloped, a master plan for the

property was developed by the two cities and will eventually include other

amenities, including an interpretive center near Boalch Avenue. Agricultural

activities will continue in order to preserve the land's history.

The master plan recently won an award from the Washington State

Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for "outstanding

achievement in historic preservation planning,"

said North Bend Special Projects Coordinator Sara Barry.

Watson said the goal for Meadowbrook Farm is to leave

a legacy for future residents.

"This is a piece of beautiful and historically significant open space

that is in the middle of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley communities,"

he said. "And it is going to be increasingly important as the population

increases for passive recreation, wildlife habitat and flood storage."

To volunteer with the bridge building or other projects at

Meadowbrook Farm, call Sara Barry at (425) 888-1211.

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