WTA Completes Grand Ridge Boardwalk
Pete Dewell hammers in the golden spike, the last nail in a two-year project to build a 600-foot boardwalk at King County's Grand Ridge Park. Photo by Alyssa Kreider.
When we sat down to breakfast at the Issaquah Denny’s before our work party last Thursday morning, no one guessed that Pete Dewell would drive the final spike into the Grand Ridge boardwalk later that day.
First off, there was still a lot of work to be done on this 600-foot-long boardwalk that WTA began building in October of 2010. Before the project could be completed, volunteers needed to build a bench, dig drainage ditches and nail in several planks of decking. What’s more, on Thursday morning WTA still didn’t even have the last few pieces of decking that we needed to complete the boardwalk.
But somehow, by the end of the day, 24 proud volunteers and a handful of King County employees watched the first cyclists bike across a brand-spanking-new boardwalk.
The completion of the boardwalk also marks the completion of the Grand Ridge trail as a whole. This seven-mile trail, which WTA began building in 2000, caters to a variety of users and connects Duthie Hill Park to I-90. (Read about the WTA Bridge at Grand Ridge.)
The trail will be heavily used by mountain bikers, which makes the boardwalk over marshy terrain all the more necessary. Volunteers have built several horse turn-around areas into the boardwalk so that the trail will also be accessible to horseback riders. And of course hikers will also enjoy the now-finished traverse of Grand Ridge Park.
A unique feature of this project is the cedar planks used as decking, all of which were salvaged from downed timber in King County parks and milled right there in that very forest. When I got to Grand Ridge last Thursday morning, there were still several logs lying around just to the side of the trail, waiting to become the final boards that would complete this extensive boardwalk.
Fortunately, several county staff turned up with their fancy milling equipment just at the right moment. While the rest of us were digging drainage trenches or transporting excess scraps of wood back up the trail, these county representatives were creating the last few pieces of decking.
When we finally realized that the boardwalk would be finished that very day, the whole crew gathered to watch the completion of the project. In the meantime, one volunteer ran up the trail to his truck, where he grabbed a can of paint, sprayed the final spike gold and ran back down to the boardwalk, the paint drying as he went.
The two volunteers who worked the most on the Grand Ridge boardwalk, Pete Dewell and Marta Sheridan, had the honor of nailing in the final two spikes. We gathered around to watch them hammer, and just then, two cyclists biked up. Amidst the flash of cameras and the cheers of volunteers, Pete swung the final blow on the gold spike, securing the last board and completing the Grand Ridge trail. Congratulating WTA volunteers on their hard work, the first cyclists biked all the way across the new boardwalk and up the trail through the forest.