Camp Brown Day Use Area Opens in the Middle Fork

The Camp Brown Day Use Area is now officially open to the public, offering a family-friendly and accessible place to experience the scenic Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley.

The Camp Brown Day Use Area in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley was officially opened to the public on Friday, October 2, 2020, with a small and socially distanced ribbon cutting and celebration with a few partners from the project.

Ribbon Cutting at Camp Brown

Located approximately eleven miles down the Middle Fork Road, this gently meandering half-mile loop trail, built following Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, provides scenic views of the congressionally-designated Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

Visitors can stroll along the gravel-lined loop trail that is routed through lush forest with frequent sightings of the river surging by and the rock face of Garfield Mountain! Nestled along the riverbank and trail are nine picnic sites with charcoal grates, making a perfect spot to enjoy lunch with a view. A short ramp and set of stairs also give visitors access to a gravel bar beside the river.

The trail construction came together relatively quickly. In May 2019, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust along with Northwest Trails and McClung Construction began construction, wrapping it up just 15 months later. This trail wouldn’t have been completed so quickly without the hard work of the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Greenway Trust trail crews, who together logged approximately 30 days and 1,500 hours. Volunteers contributed an additional four days and more than 300 hours to complete the project.

“Working on the Camp Brown project provided an opportunity to work closely with so many people, whether they were volunteers who care about giving back, public servants from the Forest Service, young people devoted to working in the woods, professional contractors who care about doing quality work…it takes a community to create a place like Camp Brown and the Greenway brings all that positive energy and commitment together in such a compelling way,” said Mike Stenger, Recreation Projects Manager at the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

As is so often the case, the construction phase is only part of the story. The USFS, Greenway Trust and the MiddleFork Coalition have long known that Camp Brown is perfectly situated for improved and formalized public access that will enhance people’s connection with nature. (Camp Brown was listed in the 1997 Middle Fork Concept Plan as one of the many improvements in the Middle Fork Valley.) A vision for the site is just the first step; the Greenway Trust also worked with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to create a design and secure the necessary permits. With these in hand, the Greenway Trust was able to collaborate with USFS staff to secure the majority of the funding necessary for the project via a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicles (NOVA) program; contributions to the Greenway Trust’s Middle Fork Campaign from Boeing, REI Co-op, and other supporters, and a National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program grant.

Although 2020 has been challenging in many ways, Camp Brown’s opening signifies an important milestone in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Initiative – a public-private collaboration intended to make the Middle Fork Valley a safe and accessible destination for outdoor enthusiasts while ensuring it remains wild and beautiful for future generations. Along with the recently completed Oxbow Loop and Garfield Ledges trails, Camp Brown is another accessible and family-friendly place to recreate in the Middle Fork Valley.

View of Garfield Ledges

Read more about the history of Camp Brown in a recent blog from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area is the 1.5 million-acre landscape connecting Puget Sound and central Washington. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, preserve rural lifestyles, teach people of all ages about forests and wildlife, and mobilize thousands of volunteers to care for the landscape.

[All photos courtesy of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust]

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