Easement to allow extension of Olympic Discovery Trail

Link would be made between Forks, La Push

PORT ANGELES — The state Department of Natural Resources is selling an easement to Clallam County for an important portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail from Forks between La Push.

“This is part of the segment we need to establish the Olympic Discovery Trail between U.S. Highway 101 and La Push along state Highway 110, also known as La Push Road,” said Steve Gray, Clallam County Transportation Program manager.

The Clallam County commissioners will discuss the acquisition at their Monday work session, set for 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

Participation is possible remotely through Zoom audio by calling 253-215-8782 and using meeting ID 875 561 7844 and passcode: 12345. To participate in the meeting via Zoom video conference, visit https://zoom.us/j/8755617844 and use the same meeting ID and passcode.

This meeting also can be viewed on a live stream at this link: http://www.clallam.net/features/meetings.html.

Action on the acquisition will occur at a future date. The cost is pending an updated appraisal. It originally was set at $32,000, which will be funded by a state grant.

Gray said the easement is the first piece the county would acquire between the Olympic National Park (ONP) boundary and Highway 101.

The county is actively negotiating with other landowners in the area between Highway 101 and the Three Rivers area, he said.

The “grand plan” is to develop the trail between Highway 101 and ONP, then through the park and connect to the Second Beach and Third Beach trailheads.

Then it would connect to the La Push waterfront area.

The county has a federal lands access program grant to build this first section, Gray said.

“The county and its partners are really working to get the final connection between Forks and La Push,” he said.

The proposed 134-mile Olympic Discovery Trail, which will span the North Olympic Peninsula from south of Port Townsend to La Push, is about 60 percent complete.

Peninsula Trails Coalition President Jeff Bohman said, “It’s another exciting piece of the puzzle to get that westernmost portion of the trail completed.

“When we get that completed, it’s really going to present the loudest squeaky wheel to connect that portion of the eastern part that’s already completed.”

Completing that western section of the Olympic Discovery Trail also will get significant national attention because it’s the westernmost part of the Great American Rail-Trail, Bohman said.

The proposed 3,700-mile trail, which is more than halfway completed, will cross 12 states and the District of Columbia. It is a project of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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

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