This answer was straightforward. Yes, Burnt Bridge Creek and Vancouver Lake connect.
At its terminus, Burnt Bridge Creek spreads into a natural wetland area before it discharges into Vancouver Lake through two successive culverts, said Vancouver Public Works spokeswoman Loretta Callahan.
The first segment is a 6-square-foot wide and 110-foot long concrete culvert that lies beneath Lake Shore Avenue and is maintained by the city, Callahan said. The second — a 7-foot arched and flat-bottomed, 100-foot-long concrete culvert – lies beneath the BNSF Railway line and is under federal ownership, she said.
They’ve been there a long time, though it’s hard to say just how long. Callahan said they were likely built decades ago when the railroad and Fruit Valley Road were constructed so those transportation routes didn’t block the creek’s natural flow into the lake.
Burnt Bridge Creek flows westward for about 13 miles from its headwaters in agricultural fields on the east end of Vancouver through the heart of the city until it drains into Vancouver Lake. Shallow groundwater and persistent rain means the creek flows throughout the year.
The creek’s watershed covers about 28 square miles, 70 percent of which lie within the city limits.
“We love the greenways. We haven’t walked along Burnt Bridge Creek but we walk along (Salmon Creek Greenway Trail) on a daily basis. Every time we drive to downtown Vancouver, I look for something that connects to the lake, and my wife has to tell me to keep my eyes on the road.”