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The WTA Bridge Dedicated

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Oct 11, 2010 03:35 PM |
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On October 7th, 40 people gathered in King County's Grand Ridge Park for the dedication of the newly-christened "WTA Bridge."

On October 7th, 40 people gathered in King County's Grand Ridge Park for the dedication of the newly-christened "WTA Bridge." 

The WTA Bridge was a joint effort of King County Parks, the King County Conservation District, the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum and the Washington Trails Association.

The bridge is a win-win for trail users and water quality. Before the bridge was built, users had to climb down a steep slope, clamber across the creek on slick logs and return up the muddy slope. That's reason enough to build a bridge, but with steelhead and cutthroat trout spawning downstream in Canyon Creek, it was important to get the trail out of the creek as well.

WTA has been involved with Grand Ridge Park for ten years now, helping build the seven miles of trail in this urban-rural park. The WTA Bridge is one of the final pieces to the effort, with nearly 450 volunteer days totaling well over 2500 hours the past three years. Now complete, the six-footwide bridge accommodates hikers, mountain bikes and horses.

So what's in a bridge?

The WTA Bridge 150

First off, realize that this is no run-of-the-mill bridge. Most bridges nowadays involve hauling in lumber from another site - or even placing a prefabricated bridge over the creek. But not The WTA Bridge.

Because the location is located deep within the park, the bridge was built entirely on site from two large cedar trees that had fallen nearby. The two 40-foot plus stringers that now span Canyon Creek were hauled by elaborate pulley systems and much human ingenuity and legpower.

For the decking and railings, an old-fashioned "Alaska mill" was brought in and all of the pieces were milled right there and then nailed into place by the volunteers.

The dedication ceremony last Thursday demonstrated the mutual respect and admiration forged between WTA and King County over the past several years. Gary Brown, Park District Maintenance Coordinator for the area, said that this was "the most inspiring project in 25 years of work. Working alongside these volunteers in rain, snow, wind - it truly is a labor of love for them." We share his gratitude for all of the efforts by our volunteers and for the work our agency partners did to make this project happen.

What's left at Grand Ridge? Actually, another tricky project. More than 650 feet of wetlands separate the trail from the Issaquah-Fall City Road. For the next two years, volunteers will build the boardwalk that will complete the trail.

Interested in helping? Check our Trail Maintenance Work Party schedule starting November 16th for regular dates at Grand Ridge Park.

Eager to check out the handiwork and explore this relatively new King County park? Check out our Hiking Guide entry and this excellent map from King County.