Port Angeles crews expect to start clearing landslide debris from Olympic Discovery Trail on Thursday

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — City crews expect to begin Thursday clearing trees, rocks and dirt that have blocked a stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail near Francis Street Park since a Sunday landslide.

“We're planning to start on Thursday and have it cleaned up by the weekend,” said Corey Delikat, city parks and recreation director, adding that the work will depend on the weather.

The stretch of trail — called the Waterfront Trail as it runs through Port Angeles — has been closed from the first bridge just east of the Red Lion Hotel east to just west of Francis Street Park since the slide sent dirt, rocks and 20 to 25 trees sliding down the hillside.

Delikat said the slide covered about 30 feet of the paved trail, which is popular with area walkers, joggers and bicyclists.

Joggers and bikers can detour around the slide via North Francis, Front and Lincoln streets.

Delikat said Francis Street Park will remain open to act as a trailhead for eastbound trail users.

Recurring issue

Slides along the trail between mile markers 2 and 3.5 are a recurring issue. The hillside often stays saturated with water year-round, Delikat said.

“You can go by even in the summertime and see water pouring out of the banks,” Delikat said.

To clear the most recent slide, city crews will use an excavator to dump the material directly into Port Angeles Harbor to the north, Delikat explained.

The city has permission from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to clear slides in this way, Delikat explained, because agency officials say hillside trees, rocks and dirt would slide into the water naturally if the trail were not there.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 18. 2014 6:32PM
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