Bike trail news: Spruce Railroad Trail on Olympic Peninsula

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Bicycling advocates are celebrating the alternative chosen by the Olympic National Park for improvements to the Spruce Railroad Trail that runs along the north shore of Crescent Lake.

Olympic Discovery Trail

The 3.5-mile trail will be upgraded to an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail with 3 feet of adjacent gravel shoulders so it’s accessible to all types of bicycles, as well as pedestrians, equestrians and people in wheelchairs.

In addition, both of the historic railroad tunnels will be reopened as part of the trail and a new segment will be built near Lyre River to bypass and mitigate the existing steep grades in that area.

Thanks go out to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Peninsula Trails Coalition for their hard work in pressing for these improvements.

The Spruce Railroad Trail will serve as another link in the Olympic Discovery Trail that’s growing piece-by-piece for 130 miles from Port Townsend to La Push.

The Spruce Railroad Trail will give bicycle travelers the ability to avoid the busy and narrow section of Highway 101 along the south shore of Crescent Lake. Currently, the only protection is a flashing light system that warns motorists that there is a bicycle up ahead (right).

Unfortunately, the only bummer in the Olympic National Park announcement is this sentence:

“Construction is dependent on available funding; no timeline has been established yet.”

The park service says it hopes to leverage federal, state and local funds to get this project underway.

The Spruce Railroad Trail follows a historic railroad grade built in 1918 and abandoned in 1951.

The park service targeted the right-of-way for a trail in 2010 and received nearly 143 comments. The staff came up with a plan for a narrow, non-asphalt surface which drew objections from bicycle advocates as well as some others. After reviewing more than 70 comments on its proposal, the park service approved the 8-foot asphalt trail alternative.

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