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Posted on: June 8, 2016

16-033 State Parks celebrates completion of bridges on Willapa Hills State Park Trail

June 18 dedication at Adna Trailhead

OLYMPIA – June 7, 2016 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces the completion of several bridges on the Willapa Hills State Park Trail, a 56-mile recreation trail that connects Chehalis with South Bend in Pacific County.

The bridge completions will be celebrated at a public dedication event scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Adna Trailhead, about five miles west of Chehalis. (Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/aAb5gbW66xv) The event will include speakers, including Commissioners and project partners, Lewis County Trails, the Washington State Parks Foundation and Boeing Company. Staff will be available with project displays and information. Following the ceremony, guests will be invited to don hiking boots or jump on their bicycles to make a self-guided trip on the trail and visit three of the four newly completed structures nearest the dedication site.

The following Saturday, June 25, Lewis County Community Trails plays host to the Willapa Hills Trail Fat Tire Ride and Festival, with a ride from Chehalis to Pe Ell (Details at www.ridethewillapa.com.)  

The Willapa Hills Trail is a key component of a State Parks cross-state trail network from the Idaho Border to Willapa Bay. The Willapa Hills Trail takes visitors across historic bridges of the former Northern Pacific Railway Line spanning the Chehalis River, creeks and tributaries and  wends through lush agricultural and forest landscapes.

With the support of Lewis County Trails and the local business community, State Parks has made significant progress developing the long-distance trail. Recently completed bridge projects include:

  • Bridge 5, five miles west of Chehalis: The project replaced decking and rails on combination steel and wood bridge with trestles. Project cost was $550,000, with grant funding provided by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Design by State Parks and MC Squared of Olympia, and construction by Tapani, Inc., Battle Ground.
  • Spooner Bridge, 6 miles west of Chehalis: Replacement of railroad trestles destroyed in 2007 flood, with 300-foot, single-span post-tensioned steel truss and concrete bridge. Project cost was $2.3 million, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds. Design by OTAK, Inc., of Vancouver and Portland, OR and construction by Quigg Brothers, Inc., Aberdeen.
  • Dryad Bridge, 16 miles west of Chehalis: Replacement of bridge destroyed in 2007 flood, with a post-tensioned steel-truss and concrete deck structure. Project design by OTAK, Inc., of Vancouver and Portland, OR and construction by Quigg Brothers, Inc., Aberdeen.
  • Bridge 27, funded with a mix of support that includes $62,000 in capital dollars, $100,000 from the Washington State Parks Foundation through a donation from the Boeing Company and a $40,000 donation by Lewis County Community Trails. Design and construction was completed by State Parks staff.

The rail trail is paved in two separate segments. The first is between Chehalis and Adna, and the second is between South Bend and Raymond. The segment between Adna and PeEll has a surface of compacted gravel that makes for comfortable walking and bicycle riding, with softer shoulders that work well for horses. Several bridges and much of the surface of trail in the Pacific County segment remain unimproved, and State Parks has plans to complete this work as funding is available.

On event day, visitors can walk or ride to Bridge 5, 1 mile west of the Adna Trailhead; Spooner Bridge, 2 miles west; and Dryad, about 11 miles west of Adna. These three bridges provide access to 22 miles of continuous trail in Lewis County between Chehalis and Pe Ell. The completion of Bridge 27 is significant in terms of the trail’s long-term development but is not yet easily accessible for trail users.   

For more information about the Willapa Hills State Park Trail, including a map, visit: http://parks.state.wa.us/1023/Willapa-Hills-Trail

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has embraced long-distance trails as an important aspect of its mission. The trails contribute to tourism and economic vitality, while providing healthy outdoor recreation and educational opportunities for the public. Long-distance trails under State Parks’ management include:

  • Spokane Centennial Trail, 37 miles, Idaho border to Nine Mile Falls
  • Columbia Plateau Trail, 130 miles, Cheney to Pasco
  • John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park, 212 miles, North Bend to the Columbia River and Lind to the Idaho border
  • Klickitat Trail, 31 miles, Lyle to Warwick
  • Willapa Hills Trail, 56 miles, Chehalis to South Bend

 

History of the Willapa Hills trail
In the late 1800s, Willapa Hills State Park Trail was part of the vast Northern Pacific Railway line, with tracks from Willapa Bay to Lake Superior—a distance of more than 2,000 miles. The Willapa Hills line was a spur that provided access to timber and mining areas in Lewis and Pacific counties.

The railroad brought rapid change to the land around Willapa Bay. Small communities, many with sawmills, rose up to process lumber. Newly cleared acreage was converted to farmland. Crops were loaded onto railroad cars and carried to markets throughout the American West. Railroad bridges were also added, spanning waterways large and small along the route. With the rise of automobiles, passenger service along the route ended in 1954. Freight traffic declined during this period as well, and the route finally was abandoned in 1990. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission acquired the railroad right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993.


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About Washington State Parks


The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

Follow Washington State Parks:

Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.

Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACTS:                         

Virginia Painter, State Parks, (360) 902-8562
Toni Droscher (360) 902-8604

Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388

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