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News / Clark County News

Moulton Falls Bridge repairs will close part of popular summer park in Clark County

Areas in regional park close for several months starting next week for work on wooden arch bridge

By Brianna Murschel, Columbian staff writer
Published: July 6, 2024, 6:06am
6 Photos
Visitors to Moulton Falls Bridge stroll past a notice of its upcoming closure Friday afternoon. The bridge will close next week for repairs.
Visitors to Moulton Falls Bridge stroll past a notice of its upcoming closure Friday afternoon. The bridge will close next week for repairs. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

BATTLE GROUND — Sections of a popular regional park where teenagers jump into murky turquoise waters, hikers explore forest trails and families go to beat the heat will close while Clark County repairs Moulton Falls Bridge beginning Monday.

In addition to the bridge, part of the trail leading to the bridge and the upper parking lot at Moulton Falls Regional Park will also close, limiting park use. A contractor for the county will refinish the bridge’s wood staining to protect against weathering and complete minor repairs to maintain structural integrity.

“Why choose this time of the year? The area is (a) hub for many people to get away and enjoy the river,” Kit Kittleson wrote in response to Clark County Public Works’ Facebook post about the closure. “By choosing the busiest time of year, it takes away much fun. Shame.”

The project has to be completed in the summer, given that it requires dry, warm weather, according to Public Works officials. The timing was chosen to allow full access to the park for the Independence Day weekend, and it will reopen in time for the autumn leaves changing and spawning salmon.

Public Works officials anticipate the project’s construction to wrap up in September. The notice stapled to the wooden bridge informs visitors it will reopen Oct. 1.

At more than three stories high, the Moulton Falls Bridge spans the East Fork of the Lewis River near its confluence with Big Tree Creek. The aging bridge bounces slightly when several people walk across it at once.

The 387-acre park features two waterfalls, volcanic rock formations, historic Indian meeting grounds and the 7½-mile Bells Mountain Trail. Parkgoers have access to a barbecue grill, nine picnic tables, a restroom and 49 parking spaces, including two disabled parking stalls, but parking will be limited when construction begins.

The lower parking lot will remain open. Parking on Lucia Falls Road is prohibited at all times. Public Works encourages community members to park at Lucia Falls Regional Park and Lewisville Regional Park if the lower lot is full.

“Parking is already insane,” a park visitor said when asked if they knew about the closure. “I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when (the upper lot) closes.”

Project updates will be posted on the Public Works’ website.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.