Pictured: A member of the Auburn, Washington, community walks on a trail at Auburndale Park as part of the Auburndale Trailabration.
At Auburndale Park, nestled in a quiet residential area of Seattle-suburb Auburn, residents can enjoy a newly resurfaced trail that extends for a quarter of a mile through a forested area. The resurfacing of this trail was made possible through the National Recreation and Park Association’s partnership with Bobcat Company. The City of Auburn was one of five recipients of a $50,000 Bobcat grant to support park improvement projects awarded as part of Bobcat’s 65th anniversary celebration in 2023.
The park’s outdated asphalt trail was removed, thanks to in-kind support from Bobcat of Seattle, and replaced with crushed gravel. Gravel paths provide nonslip surfaces that promote good drainage and are also eco-friendly. The trail resurfacing makes it more accessible for people with physical disabilities, while also making it more responsive to the surrounding natural environment.
“The City of Auburn’s partnership with Bobcat and NRPA was vital to the much-needed safety improvements of the pedestrian trail system in Auburndale Park,” said Auburn Director of Parks, Arts and Recreation Daryl Faber. “This project illustrates what can happen when corporations and local government team up to make communities better. The recently completed Auburndale trail project is now improving both the health of our community as well as the health of our tree canopy.”
The trail winds through the park’s forested area, adorned with lush greenery comprising trees, ferns and moss, and creates a picturesque backdrop for trailgoers to revel in the beauty of nature without traveling far. It provides the surrounding community — which includes an assisted living facility and several daycares — with a place to reap the health benefits of time spent outdoors. The park stands as a testament to the positive impact of collaborative partnerships and community support.
“Public-private partnerships are essential to the advancement of the park and recreation industry,” said NRPA Senior Director of Development Bret Gaither. “Park agencies are asked to meet so many needs in their communities with limited resources. Partnerships like this allow for a collaborative approach to addressing these needs. This collaboration not only funded a much-needed project in the community and allowed for both organizations to share their expertise in completing the project — it also built a relationship between the local Bobcat dealer and the Auburn Parks, Arts, and Recreation Department that will be beneficial to address additional needs in the future.”
The other recipients of a $50,000 Bobcat grant were The City of Stonecrest Parks and Recreation in Stonecrest, Georgia; Davidson County in Lexington, North Carolina; San Antonio River Authority in San Antonio, Texas; and The City of Buffalo and Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust in Buffalo, New York. We will amplify the other park improvement projects in the weeks to come.
To learn more about how Bobcat and NRPA are building resilient communities through parks in other communities, read this blog post: NRPA and Bobcat Partnership Builds Resilient Park Access: City of Stonecrest, Georgia
Charissa Hipp (she/her) is a marketing and engagement manager at NRPA.