Spruce Railroad Trail to be reopened

LAKE CRESCENT — The Spruce Railroad Trail will be reopened with a refurbished McFee Tunnel on Sunday.

A dedication ceremony for the McFee Tunnel is planned at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Spruce Railroad Trail has been closed from the Lyre River trailhead to just beyond the tunnel since September.

Crews worked on a half-mile trail segment leading to and through the century-old McFee Tunnel on the north shore of Lake Crescent, which was blasted during World War I.

Bruch and Bruch Construction of Port Angeles received a $1.2 million contract to restore the 450-foot long tunnel and to widen the trail segment to about 12 feet.

Clallam County is working with the National Park Service, which owns the land around Lake Crescent, to realign and widen the 3.5-mile Spruce Railroad Trail for non-motorized use.

The multi-year, federally-funded project includes the rehabilitation of the McFee Tunnel and the shorter Daley-Rankin Tunnel to the west.

Once completed in 2019, the refurbished Spruce Railroad Trail will offer hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and people in wheelchairs with a safe alternative to the traffic hazards of U.S. Highway 101 on the lake’s southern shore.

The Spruce Railroad Trail was built in 1918 to move Sitka spruce for the construction of World War I biplanes.

While the war ended before the trees could be used in airplane construction, the Spruce Railroad remained open as a common carrier line and logging railroad until it was abandoned in 1951, Olympic National Park officials said.

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