Since 1993 when she moved to Seattle to start working for the National Park Service (NPS) Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), Sue Abbot has been tirelessly working behind the scenes to help support trail efforts in the State of Washington. For the past 26 years, Sue has worked alongside many partners on their trail and greenway efforts by providing design, planning, organizational development, community engagement, and outreach assistance.
Over the years, Sue helped to pioneer the concept of water trails in our state and across the region. She helped to plan the Lakes to Locks, Kitsap Peninsula, and Upper and Lower Columbia River Water Trails. She helped guide numerous trails through the designation process to become part of the National Trail System and can take credit for helping to get water trails added to the list of eligible trails for National Trail designation.
Her career’s work in Washington State spans from backcountry hiking to front-country mountain biking trails to urban greenways. Some of the numerous terrestrial trail projects that have been benefited from Sue’s expertise include Mt. Baker’s Chain of Trail in Whatcom County, San Juan Island Trails, Snohomish County’s Centennial Trail, and Rainier Valley Greenways in Seattle.
Sue co-authored a user-friendly notebook, “Building Gateway Partnerships: A Process for Shaping the Future of Your Community” that focuses on how to engage partners and the public into your project and how to successfully plan together.
It is simply not possible to list all of Sue’s work advancing the causes of Trails in Washington. They are too numerous. In a field full of bureaucracy, red-tape and challenges, Sue has been able (more times than not!) to deftly steer her trail partners to success and she has done so with a friendly demeanor and infectious smile that led one person to deem her “the goddess of good neighborliness.”