Celebrating 50 Years Throughout 2013

This year, Snohomish County Parks Department is celebrating 50 years of providing great programs, parks, trails, and the Evergreen State Fair for the citizens of Snohomish County. The Parks Department was formally created on March 4, 1963. Commemorating the Department of Parks and Recreation’s 50th Anniversary honors those who served before us and reminds each of us that our responsibilities extend beyond here and now - to the community around us and to the community to follow.


Since 1912, Snohomish County has acquired some of the county’s most valuable open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas to ensure their protection and in 1988 expanded its preservation efforts with the Conservation Futures Program. Through these acquisitions, Parks and Recreation Department today manages thousands of acres of passive open space including and wildlife sanctuaries such as:

  • Spencer Island
  • Snohomish River Estuary
  • Lord Hill
  • West Lake Roesiger
  • Bob Heirman Wildlife Refuge at Thomas’ Eddy
  • Paradise Valley Conservation Area
  • Narbeck Wildlife Sanctuary

Since that first acquisition the park system has grown to over 10,000 acres, 105 park properties, 47 miles of shoreline, over 30 miles of paved trails, and hundreds of miles of unpaved trails. Since 2004 over $67 million has been invested in the park system to acquire and develop new trails and parks for the citizens of Snohomish County.

Park Directors

Park directors through the years include Earl Torgeson (1966-68), Ron Taylor (1968-71), Dick Fowler (1975-92), Ron Martin (1993-2006), Gary Weikel (2006-07), and Tom Teigen (2007-present).

Yearly Milestones

  • 1912: Acquired property where the Evergreen State Fairgrounds now stands
  • 1926: Acquired property for Squire Creek Park
  • 1939: Lake Roesiger Park property acquired
  • 1945: Acquired additional property at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds site
  • 1951: Acquired property for Logan Park
  • 1958: Property for McCollum Pioneer County Park acquired
  • 1969: McCollum Pool opens to public
  • 1971: Acquired property for Meadowdale County Park
  • 1972: Acquired property for Kayak Point County Park
  • 1973: Acquired property for Gissberg Twin Lakes County Park
  • 1976: Flowing Lake County Park opens
  • 1985: Property for Lord Hill Regional Park acquired
  • 1987: Wyatt County Park opens
  • 1991: Centennial Trail 1st Phase opens
  • 1992: Martha Lake and Thomas’ Eddy Parks open
  • 1995: Lord Hill Regional Park, North Creek, Spencer Island
  • 2000: Acquired property for Paradise Valley Conservation Area
  • 2005: Willis Tucker Park and new Park Department headquarters opens
  • 2008: Acquired property for Heybrook Ridge & Miner’s Corner County Parks
  • 2009: Wenberg State Park transferred to county ownership
  • 2012: Wellington Hills County Park property acquired
  • 2012: Completed the last 4 miles of the Centennial Trail (30 miles)

About Parks and Recreation

The Department of Parks and Recreation, manages over 100 active public parks including:

  • River Meadows
  • Picnic Point
  • Meadowdale
  • Kayak Point
  • Kayak Golf Course
  • Centennial Trail
  • Whitehorse Trail
  • Wenberg
  • Willis Tucker
  • Martha Lake Airport

The department continues to invest in its active parks with recent acquisitions and improvements at Tambark, Miner’s Corner, and Wellington Hills County Park; and the Department of Parks and Recreation manages and invests in its park system to provide for a variety of activities such as:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • BMX
  • Horseback riding
  • Golf
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Team sports
  • Dog parks and other opportunities for outdoor play and rest

The department continues to expand its investments in other forms of active recreation including shooting sports, synthetic turf athletic fields, and yurt camping.