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$62 Million in Stimulus for WA National Parks

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Apr 27, 2009 06:51 PM |

The news about federal stimulus funding for roads and trails in Washington State continues to be promising.

Early last week, we heard that $157 million of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds had been allotted for national forests in Oregon and Washington, with at least $43 million of that scheduled for forest road and trail repairs. Later last week, we received news on stimulus funds for national parks.

$62 million was approved for national parks in Washington state. The lion's share of that figure--$54 million--is for projects on the Elwha River, where two dams are scheduled to be removed. Those funds will allow dam removal to happen a year earlier than scheduled--no later than 2011. Many of the Elwha projects are revegetation and habitat restoration. Only California and the District of Columbia received more funds for their national parks.

Despite the huge dollar amounts going to the Elwha, there are plenty of road and trail dollars left over, including some projects of interest to hikers:


  • Rehabilitation of the Boulder Creek Trail and former automobile campground, by converting two miles of abandoned road to a trail, removing failing culverts, and restoring the Boulder Creek campground.

  • Rehabilitation of four road bridges: including  Hoh Road, which provides access to the Hoh rain forest,  Camp David Junior Road along  the north shore of Lake Crescent and the Rialto Beach Road.

Mount Rainier:

  • Repair storm damaged trails.  This project will repair park trails and bridges damaged in the November 2006 floods and subsequent storms. Specific work includes major reroutes on the Glacier Basin and Carbon River Wonderland Trail; a reroute on the Kautz Creek Trail; installation of guard rail on the Silver Falls Trail at Ohanapecosh; Stevens Canyon Wonderland Trail repairs; and repairs to bridges at Deer Creek, Stevens Creek, Martha Falls, Paradise River, Devils Dream, and the Ohanapecosh River.

  • Improving public access to Carbon River area, including Carbon River Entrance Road, Ipsut Campground and Ranger Station, all of which were severely damaged in November 2006 by floods.  A planning process is underway to determine how public access will be provided into the Carbon River area, and which facilities will be repaired, removed or relocated.  A decision is expected by the end of this year. This project will  implement the Carbon River public access and facilities plan, including the construction of parking areas, flood protection structures, and trails; convert the Ipsut Campground to a backcountry campground;  and replace or relocate facilities, including the Ipsut Ranger Station.

  • Build an accessible trailhead at the new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center. This project completes another phase of the restoration of Paradise by constructing ADA compliant trailheads to connect visitors to the Paradise meadows from the new Jackson Memorial Visitor Center and the Paradise Inn.

Again, a big thank-you is due to Washington's congressional delegation for voting for and approving these funds--they will go a long way to start fixing the huge backlog of maintenance in our state's national parks and national forests.