Clallam County backs pact for sprucing up trail
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Peninsula Daily News
Warren Horsley of Port Angeles and his dog, Einstein, walk across a bridge on the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent in January 2011. Behind him is his wife, Julie.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County, Olympic National Park and the Federal Highway Administration will team up to improve the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent, according to a new agreement that commissioners approved Tuesday.

“It talks about funding, but it's mainly about roles and responsibilities — who's going to do what and when,” said Clallam County Transportation Program Manager Rich James.

The county in 2009 received a $999,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office to restore the Spruce Railroad Trail and two historic railroad tunnels for multiple user groups on the north shore of the iconic lake within the park.

The Spruce Railroad Trail will become part of the ever-expanding Olympic Discovery Trial, which eventually will connect Port Townsend to LaPush.

Clallam County already has built 6.4 miles of paved Olympic Discovery Trail from the middle of the lake to the top of Fairholm Hill to the west.

Improvements

The county has been working with the park to improve the 3.5-mile Spruce Railroad Trail to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Under the new agreement, 2,500 feet of the existing trail will be widened, regraded and paved, while 1,300 feet of new trail will be constructed.

Parking spaces will be added near the Lyre River trailhead, and a 550-foot spur will connect the new trail to an existing stretch of the Spruce Railroad Trail.

Both the timeline and the cost in the agreement could change, James told commissioners.

According to the agreement, Clallam County will cover the estimated $800,000 construction cost.

The agreement schedules a bid award Aug. 8 and construction for Dec. 31.

Once completed, the trail will be 12 feet wide with 8 feet of pavement for bicyclists and wheelchair users.

According to the agreement, the county will prepare the plans, specifications and bid estimates for the new trail section.

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division will review the plans, award the bid and administer the construction contract.

Olympic National Park will review the project for consistency with the National Environmental Policy Act and provide “overall direction for the project.”

Restoration review

Meanwhile, commissioners approved a separate but related agreement with the Federal Highway Administration to transfer $90,000 to a federal review of trail restoration.

The Spruce Railroad-Olympic Discovery Trail will allow hikers, cyclists, equestrians and others to bypass U.S. 101 Highway around the scenic lake.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 09. 2013 5:58PM
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