Repairs to Index-Galena Road Delayed
It has been five years since hikers have driven Snohomish County’s Index-Galena Road to Blanca Lake, the North Fork Skykomish, Quartz Creek and West Cady Ridge trailheads. In November 2006, the road was severely damaged by floods, and hikers have since accessed these trailheads from the Beckler River Road, a much longer route. During this time, we have missed access to a tremendous scenic drive and summer camping at Troublesome Creek and San Juan Campgrounds.
The good news is that much of the Index-Galena Road has already been repaired by Snohomish County, using Emergency Relief funds obtained by a grant from Federal Highways through its Highway Trust Fund.
But now the final piece has been delayed. In October 2011, with just a half mile of repair studies and engineering left, work was stopped in order to arrange a full Environmental Assessment (EA) before finishing. Much of the work has already been completed under a Categorical Exclusion (CE), an accepted procedure under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). However, recent litigation regarding the use of a CE instead of an EA on another project prompted the decision by the county and Federal Highways to stop work and compile an EA for the Index-Galena Road.
The EA is going to take awhile, and we likely won't see repairs restarted until 2014 or 2015. That means hiker access to these trails will continue to be via the Beckler River Road. But that's not stopping WTA from getting some work done on trails in the area. We have scheduled two Youth Volunteer Vacations at the Troublesome Creek Campground this summer, where teens will build and install a bridge.
In the meantime, you'll have a few chances to comment on the project. Comments will be accepted through February 29th for the scoping aspect of the project. The most important comment period will occur when a draft Environmental Assessment has been released.
Check out the documents on Snohomish County’s website, which includes the current design of the road. To comment, or simply to sign up for email updates, send your letter or request to firstname.lastname@example.org.