Olympic Discovery Trail

10 Months and 2 Days on the Dungeness River

Written and Photographed by Randy Johnson, Habitat program manager, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
Aerial Photographs provided by John Gussman

Since the first of February 2015, four floods have rumbled down the Dungeness River. The first one damaged the old creosoted RR trestle and closed the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). The three floods in the past six weeks have occurred while we've been building the new pedestrian bridge that will replace the trestle. During the floods, the river has migrated 230 feet west. Had the trestle not been removed, at least 15 pile bents - 75 creosoted piling, creosoted timbers, and bridge decking - would have been knocked down and strewn all the way from the Dungeness River RR Park to Dungeness Bay. 

It was a given that the Tribe would replace the trestle's functions for users of the Olympic Discovery Trail.  10 Months and 2 days later, the entire 585' of trestle and its dripping creosote are gone from the floodplain forever and 720 feet of salmon friendly and river worthy pedestrian bridge is connected to the ODT. All 750 feet of new bridge are now in place, and just a few relatively minor tasks remain.  The construction access road is being removed, and by the end of today both floodplain channels will be flowing free again.  You can look forward to the ODT being reopened soon.

Floodplains by Design funding was a perfect fit for this project because of the program’s focus on reconnecting rivers to their floodplains for fish and flood risk reduction, and the additional community benefit of recreational access.

Thank you everyone for your role in making this bold vision a reality.

*Aerial images depict transitional states in the river and the bridge project that don't represent current conditions.