Horse trailer, vehicle parking area planned for Spruce Railroad Trail’s start

PORT ANGELES — A horse trailer and vehicle parking area will be constructed near the east end of the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent, Clallam County commissioners learned Monday.

The Federal Lands Access Program will provide $230,000 for the parking facility and Clallam County will contribute a $30,000 match, County Engineer Ross Tyler said in a work session.

Clallam County is working with the National Park Service to reconstruct the 3.5-mile Spruce Railroad Trail and to restore two historic railroad tunnels. Once completed in 2019, the Spruce Railroad Trail will become part of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

The Spruce Railroad Trail parking area will be built near the trailhead later this year as part of a National Park Service project to repave East Beach Road. The 4-mile road provides access from U.S. Highway 101 to the east end of the scenic trail.

Clallam County, which maintains East Beach Road, had previously contributed a $275,000 match for the paving project.

Horse trailers are typically parked near the Lyre River bridge along East Beach Road, Tyler told commissioners.

“The [Olympic] National Park would prefer that the horses not be that close [to the river],” Tyler said.

“So working with the support of the Olympic National Park and Federal Lands Access Program, they said ‘Yeah, we see the appropriate need for a suitable parking area down at the end that will be sized to hold four or five or six horse trailers in the appropriate drive through-type pattern.’ ”

Park officials were concerned that parking near the Lyre River could produce sediment-laden stormwater in a trout spawning area, Tyler said in an executive summary.

The East Beach Road project is part of the three-year, $27.5 million federal project to reconstruct 12 miles of Highway 101 around Lake Crescent.

The National Park Service awarded a contract for the three-year highway rehabilitation project to Strider Construction Company Inc. of Bellingham.

Road work on Highway 101 is scheduled to commence in mid-July.

The East Beach Road paving project will begin after Labor Day, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said Monday.

Long delays will be scheduled on three days after Labor Day on dates that will be announced.

East Beach Road also will be closed to through-traffic for two weeks in August to allow for the replacement of the Log Cabin Creek culvert just west of the Log Cabin Resort. The closure will be announced two weeks in advance.

The new, larger culvert will allow for improved fish passage on Log Cabin Creek.

East Beach Road connects Highway 101 to state Highway 112 via Joyce-Piedmont Road.

No commissioner objected to the $30,000 match for the Spruce Railroad Trail parking area, which the Road Department included in its 2017 budget.

In other discussion from the work session, commissioners were briefed on a Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe project to realign parts of Chicken Coop and Zaccardo roads in Blyn.

The roads will be realigned into a single, perpendicular intersection to Highway 101.

Clallam County contributed $150,000 to the safety improvement project in 2014.

The county has had the project on its radar since Tyler arrived in Clallam County in 1985, he said.

“It’s something that we certainly embrace, and we appreciate the tribe producing funds and putting in the effort to do this,” Tyler said.

“We fully support it. I think it’s a good change.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@ peninsuladailynews.com.

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