PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County trails supporters expect the 8-mile Larry Scott Memorial Trail link from Port Townsend’s waterfront to Four Corners Road to be completed by this fall.
Beyond that comes the county’s share of the Olympic Discovery Trail, which is planned to run from Port Townsend to LaPush, and the far more daunting challenge of acquiring private rights of way and locating the trail over Eaglemount and down and around the foot of Discovery Bay, hugging U.S. Highway 101.
The initial plan to run the trail over an existing railroad berm, cutting through the Discovery Bay estuary near Highway 101, was scuttled after the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and state Department of Fish and Wildlife chose to remove the berm to allow free tidal flow for fish passage in the bay.
More than $2 million in marine habitat restoration has taken place at the mouths of Snow and Salmon creeks.
That means the trail stretch around the head of the bay will have to run close to busy Highway 101 before it ducks in closer to the bay at the south entrance to Old Gardiner Road.
County principal transportation planner Josh Peters and Jefferson Trails Coalition members, the Jefferson chapter of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, look next at a trail stretch of about 2 miles from Four Corners Road at Milo Curry Road that will connect to an existing trail at Anderson Lake State Park.
Then another stretch of about a mile through the park, which Buckhorn Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen and Jefferson Trials Coalition members recently improved, will be added.
“This is essentially the first part of the Olympic Discovery Trail in terms of the complete concept from Port Townsend to the [Pacific] coast,” Peters said.
The county is applying for state Resource and Conservation Office grants to site and cut the next trail segment to Anderson Lake State Park, Peters said, and contracts will be awarded on the final mile-and-a-half of the Scott Memorial Trail.
“We are also working with the Pacific Northwest Trails Association to determine a route to continue the [trail] past Four Corners to connect with the trails in Anderson Lake [State] Park,” said Jeff Selby, Jefferson Trails Coalition chairman and Jefferson County vice president for the Peninsula Trails Coalition, which helps and supports Olympic Discovery Trail maintenance through a volunteer network.
“Together with the completion of the Tollefson Trail, connecting the Hadlock ball fields across Chimacum Creek to H.J. Carroll Park, this will bring access to the Olympic Discovery Trail to within 2 miles of the Tri-Area community.”
Selecting the Olympic Discovery Trail routes to and from Anderson Lake State Park will require right-of-way acquisition of private land, Selby said.
No route has been scoped out yet, he said.
Chuck Preble, a Blyn resident and Peninsula Trails Coalition vice president, said Jefferson County has a difficult challenge ahead to acquire rights of way and cut the trail from Four Corners Road south over Eaglemount to Discovery Bay.
The stretch of about 5 miles from Discovery Bay to the county line would be less difficult, he said.
________Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2390 or at [email protected]