OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The most recent phase of work on the Spruce Railroad Trail is now complete and the trail is open.
The trail will remain open until the next phase of work which is projected to begin in August 2019.
The trees removed from sections of the SRRT, some complete with root wads, are utilized to preserve fish habitat in road damage repairs along rivers. The removal of trees for this project to provide for visitor access was very selective and went through analysis to mitigate impacts to the environment. Logs from earlier tree removal operations on this project were used in park road repairs on Olympic Hot Springs Road, Graves Creek Road, and Quinault North Shore Road. Trees removed during this phase will be used by Jefferson County for an upcoming project on Upper Hoh Road.
New bank stabilization methods employ the use of large logs with root wads intact and other native materials to create a roughened, complex surface to lessen the impact on fish habitat. Wood can also be used to create structures to mimic natural fish habitat where it has been lost due to past practices.
Future project work, anticipated to begin in August 2019, will require a full trail closure. Upcoming work will include restoring the Daley Rankin Tunnel, rockfall mitigation, retaining wall construction, and finishing the remaining trail improvements. Paving the length of the trail and the Lyre River Trailhead parking area will occur in the final phase. Completion of the Spruce Railroad Trail project is anticipated by summer 2020.
The Spruce Railroad Trail improvements are part of a multi-year collaborative project to establish the entire 10 mile length of the trail as a universally accessible, multipurpose trail to be shared by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and people traveling in wheelchairs. Clallam County and Olympic National Park are jointly funding the project. Federal Highway Administration staff provide construction management and general contract oversight.
The Spruce Railroad Trail follows the historic railroad grade of the Spruce Railroad, built in 1918 and abandoned in 1951. When the project is completed in 2020 it will become a signature piece of the 134-mile long Olympic Discovery Trail that will eventually connect Port Townsend to La Push—Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.
For current trail, road and travel information, visitors should consult the park website at www.nps.gov/olym or call the recorded Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131.