Washington Trails Receive Federal Funds
Thanks to an influx of special funds appropriated by Congress as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in September of 2008, the Forest Service can begin work this year on repairing storm-damaged trails, roads and bridges within the Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest and the Olympic National Forest.
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is scheduled to receive funds totaling $653,400. These funds will allow repairs on several popular trails, including Big Four Ice Cave and Skookum Flats. The Forest Service will complete bridge repairs to the Heliotrope Ridge Trail, on the north side of Mt. Baker, and design a new crossing of the West Fork Foss River, allowing for easier access to Trout, Copper and Heart Lakes within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Many of these trails were damaged in storms in 2003 and 2006.
Other repair projects include maintenance work on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail between Mill Creek and Vista Creek; replacing the puncheon bridge on the Iron Goat Trail near Wellington and bridge and trail work on the Baker Lake trail.
The Olympic National Forest will receive $273,500 to restore three major trails, including the Bogachiel Rain Forest Trail which provides popular access to the Olympic National Forest and the Olympic National Park. Improvements include blowdown removal, trail resurfacing, and water crossing repair.
The Quinault Rain Forest Interpretive Trail, the most heavily used trail in the Olympic National Forest, will be resurfaced and rerouted and will see the repair of handrails, signs and a bulletin board.
The Quinault National Recreation Trail is slated for general trail repair, rerouting and the removal of heavy blowdown obstructions.
The WTA would like to offer congratulations and a heartfelt "thanks a lot!" to Congressman Norm Dicks who, as Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, played an integral part in securing these TARP funds for Washington trails. While it may be a bit too early to tag Washington trails as a "troubled asset" we are nonetheless grateful for the "relief."