Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Columbia River Connector Trail project linking existing trails is complete

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:
5 Photos
The long-awaited completion of the Columbia River Connector Trail project, linking up Washougal Waterfront Park at the Port of Camas-Washougal to Steamboat Landing Park, is pictured on Monday morning.
The long-awaited completion of the Columbia River Connector Trail project, linking up Washougal Waterfront Park at the Port of Camas-Washougal to Steamboat Landing Park, is pictured on Monday morning. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

WASHOUGAL — City leaders on Monday celebrated the completion of a long-awaited trail project along the Columbia River.

The 3,500-foot Columbia River Connector Trail project links existing trails between Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail and Steamboat Landing Park. A $1 million grant from the state Department of Commerce helped fund the $1.75 million project, along with the money from the city’s general fund.

The trail system of over 20 miles offers access to several recreation spots, including the Washougal River Greenway, and Lacamas and Heritage parks to the west. To the east, trail users can head toward downtown Washougal, Captain William Clark Regional Park, Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail.

About 50 people gathered Monday morning near the site of the new path for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This is a missing link in the community,” Dan Shafar, project manager with engineering firm WSP USA, told the crowd.

Engineers first drew designs for the project in 2016. Shafar said the project required them to “thread the needle” with a couple of engineering challenges — adding a pedestrian bridge and retaining wall.

Much of the new path runs between South A Street and state Highway 14.

Several houses line the dead-end street, which is going to see increased foot and bicycle traffic. Neighbors had expressed some concerns in the past few years about the project.

“We’ll continue to work with A Street neighbors and continue to make it safe and noninvasive,” Mayor Molly Coston said.

State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, connected the opening of the path with the ending of COVID-19 protocols, saying she is anticipating “a desire for community reconnection.”

“We are hoping to foster that reconnection, and that is so important,” Rivers said.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter

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