Monday afternoon, Representative Jay Inslee (WA-01) reintroduced the Cascadia Marine Trail Study Act with bipartisan support including co-sponsors Representative Charlie Bass (NH-02), Norm Dicks (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Jim McDermott (WA-07). The Cascadia Marine Trail Study Act, passed the House by unanimous consent in 2009, would direct the Department of the Interior to conduct a study to assess the feasibility of adding the Cascadia Marine Trail to the National Trails System.
"The Cascadia Marine Trail is a beautiful route to experience the history and beauty of Puget Sound," said Rep. Inslee. "The trail was created and to this day has been maintained by extensive local support. This study is an important step in bringing federal recognition to a trail that thousands of people already enjoy. The trail's designation as a National Scenic or Historic Trail, if recommended by the Department of Interior study, would raise its national profile, provide for educational and interpretive resources along the trail, and ensure preservation of the trails for generations to come."
The Cascadia Marine Trail is a unique, 150-mile long water trail stretching from the Canadian border south through the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound to Olympia. It was started in the late 1980s by local kayaking enthusiasts wanting to highlight the 5,000-year old small-boating tradition along the water trail.
The Cascadia Marine Trail's has been recognized as a significant environmental and tourist resource, including its 1994 designation as a National Recreation Trail and in 1999 as a National Millennium Trail. In 2005, the American Canoe Association (ACA) designated the trail an ACA-Recommended Water Trail.
According to the Prosperity Partnership, the Tourism and Visitor industry cluster is the region's largest economic cluster with more than 108,000 jobs across the region. Scenic travel to places like the Cascadia Marine Trail can have a significant impact on the economy of surrounding communities.