The Lakes-To-Locks Water Trail began as the idea for a water trail in Seattle in 1996. A 1998 Puget Sound Urban Resources Partnership Award helped fund planning and work parties within Seattle boundaries. Halfway through the year Seattle increased the number of “legal, safe, and suitable” launching or destination sites for hand-carried, non-motorized watercraft in city parks from six to forty-two.
This gave the impetus for “The Greater Seattle Urban Water Trail.” The project was renamed, a logo designed, and the scale of the project ramped up to “Lakes-To-Locks” to include communities connected by water in King County around Seattle. Washington Water Trails Association (WWTA) received National Parks Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program technical help and convened meetings in 1999 to enlist agency partners for the Trail.
After celebrating the Cascadia Marine Trail’s Millennium Trail designation in June of 2000, Washington Water Trails began the “Summer of Celebration” for the Lakes-To-Locks Water Trail, highlighted by its dedication August 26 on Seattle’s Lake Union. It quickly received national notice, winning the inaugural Blue Ribbon Award from North American Water Trails in 2001 and the National Park Service Partnership Award in Recreation in 2002.