A Mercer Slough trail. (Washington Trail Association)

Join us for a tour of the Mercer Slough Nature Park led by Trust for Public Land’s Mitsu Iwasaki this Saturday, August 5 at 9am. Together with the Urbanist, Iwasaki will lead a tour that highlights the story of Mercer Slough and discusses the importance of greenspaces and the future of public access to this cherished park. Coming East Link light rail expansion will make the park highly accessible via public transit.

Mercer Slough is an open wetland in the heart of Bellevue that is treasured by the community. Iwasaki will share how Trust for Public Land (TPL) helped protect 100 coveted acres of Mercer Slough for Bellevue Parks. Today, visitors can enjoy more than 320 acres, featuring canoe access, and more than seven miles of boardwalks and interconnected trails.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. outside the South Bellevue Station, which is near South Bellevue Park and Ride and served by Route 550, 556, or 241, all of which stop at South Bellevue Station.

South Bellevue Station will include a parking garage with 1,500 parking stalls, and also connections for those traveling by bus, bike, or foot, with paths through Mercer Slough starting just east of the station. Construction progress from 2020. (Sound Transit)

That starting location will allow for discussion of the significance of the arrival of East Link light rail in the next year or two. Parks, greenspace, walkability, rapid transit, and a wide array of housing opportunities are essential to the quality of life in cities. The excellent trails crisscrossing Mercer Slough will be much more accessible by transit once East Link opens, which, granted, has been delayed to 2025 due to construction defect issues, but a 2024 opening could still be possible if Sound Transit pursues a Eastside starter line option.

Iwasaki is the Northwest Director at Trust for Public Land (TPL). He oversees TPL’s work to create parks and protect wildlife in Washington State – to date TPL has helped preserve more than 220,000 acres of land in Washington state, including Cougar Mountain, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and the Mountain to Sound Greenway.

Mercer Slough is a Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland, an idyllic getaway betwixt freeways. (City of Bellevue)

Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. From summits to the sound, they’ve helped put the outdoors in reach by developing parks like Rattlesnake Ridge, Olympic Sculpture Park, and more. TPL envisions a Washington where every person, in every community, has access to safe, quality outdoor spaces.

Tickets are $10 and spots are limited. Reserve your spot on walking tour today.

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Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.