Clallam County extending Olympic Discovery Trail to La Push

Commissioners updated on project in the works

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County is making progress in extending the Olympic Discovery Trail from Forks to La Push, Steve Gray, Clallam County Transportation Program manager, told the county commissioners Tuesday during their regular meeting.

“We’re really focusing on that U.S. 101 to Three Rivers, seven and a half miles of trail corridor. We’ve secured a half-mile of that with an easement from (the state Department of Natural Resources),” he said.

“But we’re still rolling up our sleeves and negotiating with Rayonier for probably six miles of that and another property owner,” he added.

The update was part of discussion of a $250,000 personal services contract between the county and its public works department for Olympic Discovery Trail projects. The commissioners will consider approving the contract at their regular meeting on Jan. 10.

County Commissioner Mark Ozias said although the grant is awarded to the county’s own public works department, everyone must go through the same lodging tax grant process.

The 13-mile trail segment will run between U.S. Highway 101 and La Push along state Highway 110, also known as La Push Road.

DNR is selling an easement to Clallam County for $32,000. It will be the first piece the county will acquire between the Olympic National Park (ONP) boundary and Highway 101.

Gray said that for the section from U.S. 101 at Forks to the Three Rivers area, the program has a $900,000 state recreation and conservation grant and the lodging tax grant is going to be the match.

Gray delivered more good news, saying the county has received a draft purchase and sale agreement, although Rayonier still is looking at the property appraisal, and that the company assigned the project to someone local so the county isn’t just dealing with the company’s Texas office.

“The other property owner, I think they are more concerned about whether they want to go the easement route or purchase because I think they have some development plans,” Gray said.

“I think they are trying to figure out how they want to proceed. He needs more time to negotiate the property development,” he added.

“I think they are looking at reconfiguring their lots. They just want to make sure that the trail corridor we are looking for isn’t going to mess with their plans.

“They haven’t said no. I think that they are comfortable with the trail, but we need more time to figure out what is the best path for them,” he said.

The Olympic Discovery Trail is a combined-use path and on-road route that, when finished, will extend 130 miles from Port Townsend to La Push at the Pacific Ocean.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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