With the Governor re-opening our State Parks [for day use only!] on May 5th, this month’s WWRP category is especially apt. This category of the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program helps preserve and develop our state’s best outdoor recreation areas by funding new campgrounds and amenities to increase the capacity of our parks, creating new parks, improving park resources, and protecting historical areas. These grants help our state continue to develop our world-class parks system to share our cultural heritage and natural treasures with all of its visitors.
Our featured project this month is one that is still in progress, Willapa Hills Trail – Trail Development in Lewis County. Willapa Hills Trail is one of five long-distance routes managed by Washington State Parks, the Willapa Hills State Park Trail is a key segment in the cross-state network spanning from the Idaho border to the shores of Willapa Bay. This relatively flat, 56-mile-long route represents the western segment of the overall system. Originally acquired by State Parks from the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1993, it is aligned east/west between Chehalis and South Bend where it intersects US Highway 101. The trail is open year round, and offers recreational options for pedestrians, non-motorized wheeled uses and equestrians. It serves as a linear setting for visitors who come to enjoy scenic views of the Willapa Valley, its many farms, small towns and rivers. Family friendly and easy to access, it accommodates small and large groups with several developed trailheads available.
State Parks is using this grant to develop 5 miles of the Willapa Hills Trail in Lewis County centered in the Pe Ell area. This project will surface the trail with a hardened gravel surface and install decking and safety rails to 4 bridges. State Parks will also add a kiosk at the Chehalis Trailhead, and signage and bollards at various public and private road crossings along the trail. The trail will accommodate a multitude of users including hikers, bikers, and equestrian park visitors and will result in about 22 miles of continuous improved trail between Chehalis and the Pacific County line. The primary recreation opportunity provided by this project is non-motorized trail use. View a map of the entire Willapa Trail.