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Thursday, July 13, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Walkabout

Tommy Thompson Trail trestle

Location: Anacortes

Length: Two miles round-trip from the Fidalgo Bay RV park to March's Point (entire trail is 3.3 miles each way).

Level of difficulty: Level, paved multi-use trail.

Setting: This recently completed, award-winning trail converted an abandoned 2,000-foot-long railroad trestle over Fidalgo Bay into a wide pedestrian/bike path. Although the trail begins at 11th Street across from the downtown Safeway (near Cap Sante marina), and travels along the shorefront behind the town of Anacortes, the best part (with the trestle) runs from the RV park across Weaverling Spit to March's Point. The trail was named for a local man who was a narrow-gauge railroad enthusiast.

Highlights: As you start out on the trail, on your left is a forest of firs and madronas, with the exposed mudflats of the bay on your right at low tide. The shallow waters of Fidalgo Bay harbor expansive eelgrass beds and other habitats that provide important spawning and rearing areas for fish and other marine animals, including chinook salmon. Look over the trestle railing to see small fish swimming among the eelgrass. Migratory waterfowl also use the area; keep an eye out for great blue herons. Views include Mount Baker to the northeast, as well as an industrial complex of oil refineries on March's Point. Occasional benches offer a place to rest.

Facilities: Restrooms at 22nd Street; portable toilet at RV park.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect.

Directions: Heading west on Highway 20, just after you pass the turnoff to Whidbey Island, turn right on Fidalgo Bay Road. Drive about a mile and turn right into the RV park. Drive over the trail and either park on the right on the grass, or continue straight and park on the left by the clubhouse.

For more information: 360-293-1918 or www.cityofanacortes.org.

— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times

Cathy McDonald, a Renton-based freelance writer, is a regular contributor to Northwest Weekend

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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