Repair of Anacortes trail’s damaged bridge gets major funding jumpstart from Puget Sound Energy Foundation, Samish Indian Nation

ANACORTES, Wash. (December 9, 2009) – The fundraising campaign for repair of Anacortes’ fire-damaged Tommy Thompson Trail bridge across Fidalgo Bay got a major jumpstart today with $50,000 in contributions from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation and the Samish Indian Nation.

The two donations to the Anacortes Parks Foundation were announced at the trestle this afternoon by Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell, Samish Indian Nation Tribal Chairman Tom Wooten and Bert Valdman, interim acting chair of the Puget Sound Energy Foundation’s board of directors and PSE’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“These contributions are marvelous gestures by your organizations – tremendous holiday gifts to our community,” said Maxwell. “I hope others will follow your lead and step forward to help us rebuild this vital link of the Tommy Thompson Trail.”

The Samish Indian Nation, who has significant holdings adjacent to the trail, has a very long history in the area and has demonstrated a sincere interest in the health of Fidalgo Bay, is collaborating with the city of Anacortes on the structure’s repair. The tribe today committed $30,000 to the trestle project.

Tom Wooten, Samish Tribal Chairman said, “The impact of this incident has raised public and community awareness of the larger project of the replacement of the trestle and the opening up of the head of Fidalgo Bay. No one person or entity can fix this, but collectively and as a community we can and will make this repair happen.”

“Our foundation’s mission,” Valdman said, “is to help strengthen the communities in areas served by Puget Sound Energy. It’s clear to us that the recreational and environmental value of this trail – not just for the people of Anacortes but for the entire region – is deserving of support from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation.”

The PSE Foundation is donating $20,000 to the trestle-repair project.

The nonprofit Anacortes Parks Foundation, which partners with the city on development and preservation of parks and open space in the community, has set a $300,000 fundraising goal for the trestle project. The trail bridge, renovated by the city in 2005 to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, was heavily damaged Oct. 15 by a suspected arson-caused fire.

Gary Robinson, director of the Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department, said the city plans to have the trestle repairs completed by next April. Approximately 300 feet of the bridge’s midspan decking, along with the upper portion of its pilings and girding, has to be replaced.

The 3.5-mile Tommy Thompson Trail extends south and east from the commercial center of Anacortes across Fidalgo Bay to the southern end of March Point. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, with runs from Glacier National Park in Montana to Cape Alava on Washington’s Pacific coast, incorporates the Tommy Thompson Trail.

Tax-deductible donations to the bridge-repair effort can be sent to Anacortes Parks Foundation at P.O. Box 1902, Anacortes, WA 98221. Donations also can be made online at the foundation’s Web site (www.anacortesparksfoundation.org). For more information, call the Anacortes Parks Foundation at (360) 293-1918.

Puget Energy, the parent company of Puget Sound Energy, created the Puget Sound Energy Foundation in 2006 to continue PSE’s legacy of leadership and support of worthy, community-based programs. The foundation’s charitable grants place emphasis on human services, environmental stewardship, education and workforce development, arts and culture, and community development. The foundation’s grants derive from $20 million in shareholder endowments; none of the grant funds involve payments from PSE’s utility customers.