If you’re a seasoned recreationist within the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area and a fan of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley, you may recall the tumultuous history of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail.
Throughout the years, the trail has faced an uphill battle of erosion, washouts, and, most recently, a massive landslide in April 2018 that left most of the trail inaccessible. Thanks to the Forest Service, in collaboration with several local partners, the trail is now reopened to the public!
Repairing the Trail
Following the slide, there were many steps needed before this work could begin. The first step was to determine a course of action: should the trail be improved through the slide zone, or should it be moved out of that area?
The Forest Service team, supported by the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and others, decided on a new, more stable route. Once the route was determined, an environmental analysis was performed to ensure that the course chosen was suitable.
Second, the community needed to find funding for the reroute. The Forest Service secured a grant from the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office through the Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities program, leveraging volunteer and other contributions from Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Greenway Trust (thanks to the Middle Fork Campaign).
The Forest Service selected Oregon Woods, a trail contractor, to begin the work of moving the trail, which involved clearing the new path and establishing a trail through some tough sections of bedrock and varying soils.
Starting in August 2021, the Forest Service and Oregon Woods, along with the Greenway Trust, WTA, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, and numerous volunteers, all worked together to reroute the trail out of the damaged area, and repair/maintain the closed section of the trail (from the Middle Fork Trailhead to the Dingford Creek Trailhead).
During the month of October, Forest Service crews worked fervently to break up and remove the remaining bedrock and boulders that were required to complete the new section of the trail.
While Oregon Woods carved bedrock, broke boulders, and otherwise excavated the relocation, which winds across the steep and forested slopes of Stegosaurus Butte, project partners worked collaboratively to log-out, brush, and repair aging boardwalks, turnpikes, and other trail structures along the entire five miles between Taylor River and Dingford Creek.
For example, the Greenway Trust Trail Crew worked on a 32-foot-long puncheon bridge spanning a muddy seep drainage just west of the landslide area. This bridge connects the old trail to the newly rerouted trail built by Oregon Woods, which bypasses the 2018 landslide. You can see photos and more info on that project here.
[See the original post by Katie Egresi, Communications Manager for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in its entirety here]