COUGAR — The Backcountry Horsemen of Washington have received a $62,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to build a trail bridge across Cold Spring Creek on the west side of Mount St. Helens.
The Mount St. Helens chapter of BCH will contribute $50,000 toward the cost of replacing a logging bridge removed for safety and environmental reasons on Fossil Trail No. 242. The Mount St. Helens Institute will contribute $6,800 and the Forest Service is adding almost $10,000 of additional help.
Fossil Trail was started a decade ago by the Backcountry Horsemen and Forest Service. It was financed partially by a state grant.
The trail was completed, but there was no money for a bridge.
The stream crossing has deteriorated to a point it is dangerous for equestrians, mountain bike riders and hikers to climb down and back up steep wet banks caused by erosion.
Jim Anderson of the Backcountry Horsemen said the Forest Service is working on the design and engineering this winter and bridge construction is scheduled for next summer.
"The building materials will have be air dropped with a helicopter,'' Anderson said. "The tools and small materials will be packed in with horses and mules. The site is about three miles from the Blue Lake trailhead.''
Volunteers from several BCH chapters, Oregon horsemen's groups, the Mount St. Helens Institute, the Washington Trails Association and others are expected to participate in the project.
Cold Spring Creek originates on the west flank of Mount St. Helens and flows into the Toutle River. The bridge site is north of Goat Mountain and Goat Marsh.