Construction is now under way on the first segment of the
33-mile Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail, just east of the city of Battle Ground in southern Washington.
The initial one-mile segment will run from the entrance road
inside Battle Ground Lake
State Park southwest
along the county-owned railroad tracks to Washington State Department of
Natural Resources land. The new trail will be 10-feet wide and paved.
In April the Board of Clark County Commissioners awarded a $406,800 contract to
a local construction firm for clearing, excavation and grading, concrete and
asphalt paving, erosion control, signing, landscaping and other work. When that work is completed, local equestrian and hiking groups plan to use
volunteers to build an adjacent soft surface trail. It is hoped the trail will
open to the public later this year.
The total cost of this first segment, including design, land, construction and
inspection, is $728,600, more than half of which was provided by a grant from the federal Transportation Enhancements program.
originally planned to build a 2.8-mile trail, connecting Battle
State Park with Fairgrounds Park
in Battle Ground. However, wetlands, steep slopes and sensitive wildlife
habitat made that project more expensive than originally estimated, so it has
been scaled back to stay within the original budget. County officials will continue to apply for grants, pursue partnerships and
explore ways to build future sections of the entire 33-mile trail.
Prairie Rail with Trail Corridor Study was approved by the county in 2008
after extensive public input. The planned trail will improve pedestrian safety
and enhance recreation.
The start of work on the Chelatchie Prairie Trail is the latest in a series of
good news for trail users and advocates in the region.
∙ The 2010 Clark County Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Use
Snapshot showed that overall bicycle and pedestrian usage of area trails
continues to increase.
∙ Late last year Vancouver-Clark
Parks and Recreation partnered
with health insurer Kaiser Permanente and local public land managers to publish
a free trails map. It is hoped the map, which is available at community
locations all throughout Clark
County, will improve
access to, and awareness of, local trails in the area.
∙ It was recently announced that the city of Vancouver, Wash., will host the 2012 Washington
State Trails Coalition Conference, an interactive forum centering on protecting,
promoting and enhancing a statewide system of trails.
For more information on trails activity in Clark County,
contact Regional Trail Planner Lisa Goorjian at Lisa.Goorjian@cityofvancouver.us.
Photo: The Chelatchie Prairie Trail isn't open yet, but trail activity in the Vancouver area is booming; courtesy of Lisa Goorijian.
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