OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The final phase of a multi-year collaborative project to revamp and improve accessibility along the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent is scheduled to begin in early March, closing the trail until November.
Several pieces of heavy equipment will in use so the entire 4-mile trail along Lake Crescent will be closed until the project is finished, Olympic National Park officials said.
The Daley Rankin Tunnel will be restored, rockfall mitigation will be done, a retaining wall will be constructed and other trail improvements will be finished, along with paving the length of the trail and the Lyre River Trailhead parking area.
The improvements are part of a project to establish the entire 10-mile length of the trail as a 12-foot-wide, universally accessible, multi-purpose trail to be shared by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and people traveling in wheelchairs.
The Spruce Railroad Trail follows the historic railroad grade of the Spruce Railroad, which was built in 1918 and abandoned in 1951.
When the project is completed this fall, it will become part of the 134-mile-long Olympic Discovery Trail that will eventually connect Port Townsend to La Push — in other words, Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.
During construction, East Beach Road will be closed to the public at the intersection with Joyce-Piedmont Road.
Camp David Jr. Road will be closed to the public beyond the North Shore Picnic Area.
Devil’s Punchbowl will be accessible only by boat.
The westbound portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail and Pyramid Peak Trail will remain accessible from the North Shore Picnic Area on Camp David Jr. Road.
“We understand visitors will miss getting out on the trail while it is under construction and we look forward to its reopening and the creation of nearly ten miles of universally accessible trail,” said park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said.
“This would not have been possible without the continued collaboration with Clallam County and the Federal Highway Administration.”
The $5 million contract for this phase was recently awarded to Bruch & Bruch Construction of Port Angeles.
Clallam County and Olympic National Park are jointly funding the project. The park received about $1 million for the contract through the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 which provides cost-sharing funds to the National Park Service to improve infrastructure. Clallam County is funding the remainder of the contract.
Federal Highway Administration staff provide construction management and general contract oversight.
Restoration of the 450-foot long McFee Tunnel was completed in summer 2017. Previous contracts also included bank stabilization, culvert installation, and demolition and removal of a park-owned structure to allow for construction of a new 33-car parking lot at the Lyre River Trailhead with additional parking for oversized vehicles and a horse trailer turn-around.
For current trail, road and travel information, visitors can see www.nps.gov/olym or call the recorded Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131.