Clallam County inks trail pact with Olympic National Park
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
PREP FOOTBALL: How Neah Bay returned to state championship glory -- 12/7/13 -07:29 PM
Cold snap poised to end on Peninsula — but that's midweek; till then, snow? -- 12/7/13 -07:09 PM
Peninsula Home Fund helps with new home, job gear -- 12/8/13 -08:33 AM
Two-vehicle crash slows Highway 104 -- 12/8/13 -09:11 AM
Ex-paramedic pleads not guilty in theft of narcotics from fire station -- 12/7/13 -07:12 PM
The 4-mile lakefront trail will become a paved segment of the Olympic Discovery Trail, which eventually will span 140 miles between Port Townsend and LaPush.
County commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve a memorandum of agreement with the park to plan, permit, fund and construct the new trail.
The agreement replaces an earlier memorandum that was signed in 2010.
The Spruce Railroad Trail will link 60 miles of existing Olympic Discovery Trail east of the lake with 16 miles of existing trail to the west.
The wheelchair-accessible Spruce Railroad-Olympic Discovery Trail will allow bicyclists, horseback riders, hikers, joggers, in-line skaters and other non-motorized trail users to bypass the congestion of U.S. Highway 101 on the south side of Lake Crescent.
Restore grade, tunnels
The project will restore a 95-year-old railroad grade and two historic railroad tunnels on the north shore of the iconic lake.
“This is a long-awaited item to begin the process of moving bicycle traffic off 101 around the south side of Lake Crescent,” Commissioner Jim McEntire said.
“I think it’s a great project.”
County Transportation Program Manager Rich James told commissioners last week that the agreement with the park outlines a new arrangement that the parties have with the Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration.
“The park kind of needs them to be involved for inspection services when we actually get out there with construction and for review of our design,” James said in an Aug. 19 work session.
“This would just get us on track for the next four-year period.”
The Spruce Railroad Trail project is funded in multiple segments in the county’s six-year transportation plan.
Clallam County received a $999,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office in 2008 to help the park restore the trail.
The county is seeking additional grants to complete future phases of the project, according to the agreement.
In its current form, the Spruce Railroad Trail is popular with hikers and equestrians but not suitable for cyclists or those with disabilities.
The National Park Service conducted an environmental assessment of the restoration and released a finding of no significant impact in September 2012.
Multiple types of users
The new trail will have an 8-foot-wide asphalt surface with 3 feet of gravel to accommodate multiple types of trail users.
Olympic National Park Deputy Superintendent Todd Suess said the park is gearing up to build a new trailhead on Camp David Jr. Road this fall.
A short section of the Spruce Railroad Trail will be built on the Lyre River side early next year.
“After that, we have to wait for more money,” Suess said.
Suess would not speculate on when the project would be completed.
“It’s going be more long term than short term,” he said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 28. 2013 5:07PM