Olympic Discovery Trail makes headway at two spots around Discovery Bay

DISCOVERY BAY — The Olympic Discovery Trail is making headway at two spots around Discovery Bay.

Two ¾-mile sections could be completed as early as next year if all goes well, said John Fleming, a civil engineer for Jefferson County.

Construction on a ¾-mile section of trail on Old Gardiner Road to where the road intersects with U.S. Highway 101 on the south end should begin in 2017.

Officials are nearly finished with right-of-way acquisition for the trail section through the state departments of Transportation and Fish and Wildlife, Fleming said.

Another section of the same length on the south end of Discovery Bay, near the intersection of Highway 101 and state Highway 20, could also be finished as early as next year, he said, adding the “dominoes have to fall right.”

This comes after previous restoration work by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, which was a catalyst to moving that section forward, he said.

“While getting all their permits it made sense to also include construction [permits] of the Olympic Discovery Trail through that waterfront shoreline section of Discovery Bay,” he said.

The goal is to send construction out to bid in the spring for that trail section, he said.

Fleming hopes most of the construction could be done during the summer with the section being finalized later.

“Toward the end of the year it could be open to public access,” he said, adding that there isn’t yet good access to that waterfront area.

There should be kiosks on the trail explaining the former industrial use of the area as well as the restoration process and recovery of the bay, he said.

As those two sections move forward, officials are working on setting a route from Discovery Bay up to the Larry Scott Memorial Trail.

The state Recreation Conservation Office has provided $1 million in funding for what Jeff Bohman, Peninsula Trails Coalition president, referred to as the Eaglemount section of the trail.

Officials aren’t yet sure what the route will be, but Fleming is looking forward to whatever that might be.

Unless the route goes along the water, cyclists will like face two major hills, one north and one south of Anderson Lake, he said.

“A payback is view opportunities,” he said. “There are views that are rarely seen by other existing roads.”

Bohman said there has been a heightened effort in the past year and he lauded the Jefferson County commissioners for including the section of trail in the county’s transportation improvement plan.

“We’re extremely pleased at the progress,” Bohman said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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