OLYMPIA – Of the many miles of trail at Wallace Falls State Park, the few hundred yards overlooking the park’s breathtaking central falls are its best loved. Time, the elements and heavy use have taken their toll, but this month, EarthCorps’ volunteers from around the world will rebuild and restore the park’s signature view.
“Of all the trails we maintain at Wallace Falls State Park – about 15 or 20 miles – this little 300- to 400-foot section is most critically in need of help,” said Shawn Tobin, park ranger and area manager at Wallace Falls State Park, a 4,357-acre camping park on the Wallace River a short drive from Seattle.
Work on the trail begins Oct. 12 and is expected to be completed on or before Oct. 30. The EarthCorps teams – comprised of volunteers from six different countries – will excavate and reconstruct the log retaining walls for the trail, which prevent it from eroding down the steep embankment into Wallace River, and the overlook where visitors pause to admire the thundering 265-foot-high falls. Pressure-treated timber will replace the old log walls. The EarthCorps teams also will make improvements to the surrounding trail, said Bill Brosseau, EarthCorps field operations director.
This section of the trail may need to be closed on weekdays during the heaviest construction, Tobin said. Weekend park visitors should not see any interruption in trail access, Brosseau said.
Built in the 1970s, the overlook for the spectacular Wallace Falls is a main attraction at the park and a popular stopping place for visitors to admire and photograph their beauty. Because this area has been so well-used for decades, the retaining walls securing the viewpoint to the steep bank and the adjacent trail need revamping, Tobin said.
EarthCorps, a Seattle-based AmeriCorps host program established in 1993, specializes in ecological restoration, and community trails are its forte, Brosseau said. Young adults aged 18 to 25, from the United States and more than 60 countries serve 10 ? -month volunteer stints with EarthCorps. They gain hands-on experience working on environmental restoration projects across the Cascades and Puget Sound regions, learning project design, volunteer management and environmental restoration techniques, among other skills.
The trail restoration project is funded by a $98,000 National Recreation Trail Program Grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The trail project also will include the construction of a new composting toilet for trail users.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission thanks the public for supporting state parks. Donations made to State Parks through the vehicle license tab renewal program will keep state parks open in the 2009-2011 budget cycle, provided adequate revenues are collected. The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 97-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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