MOUNT VERNON, WASH. — KNKX Connects to Skagit County this Thursday, when All Things Considered broadcasts live from the Mount Vernon City Library. In this sneak peek of our show we meet Craig Romano, who is an award-winning guidebook author. He hiked to the summit of Little Mountain with producer Geoffrey Redick.
Romano spends a lot of time hiking trails across Washington state. He has authored more than 20 books, including several on urban trails.
“Little Mountain was the very first place I introduced my son to the trails,” Romano said. “He was 10 days old when I brought him out here.”
The sub-1,000-foot summit is part of Mount Vernon’s largest park — more than 500 acres with sweeping views of Skagit Bay and the Olympic Mountains. With 10 miles of trails, people from all walks of life can enjoy scenic nature from within the Mount Vernon city limits.
“It is a park for the people,” Romano said. “It’s our park.”
The trails advocate has visited Little Mountain for more than 20 years, and acknowledges areas that used to resemble Skagit, such as the Kent Valley, have changed rapidly in that time. He says stewards have a responsibility to help strike a balance between continued development in the region and preservation of open space. “We’re in one of the last green wedges here.”
One way to guarantee protections for those open spaces is to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy them. At Little Mountain, trails offer accessibility to everyone from a mother pushing a stroller uphill to hardcore runners and hikers training for bigger summits.
“The trails cater to all different types of fitness levels,” Romano said.
Plus, they are clean and clearly marked — a labor of love by an army of volunteers.
Listen to the full conversation above. And check out Romano's website hikeoftheweek.com, where you can get tips for exploring the outdoors.