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Boulder River trail might get longer

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Mar 18, 2011 08:50 AM |

The Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest proposes building a new parking lot at milepost 3.0 on the French Creek Road to replace the current parking area at milepost 3.7. They would place the remaining 0.7 miles of road into storage and use it as an extension of the Boulder River Trail until new trail mileage could be constructed from the new parking lot, adding 1.4 miles to the current trail.

Boulder River by Bama Rose.jpg

The Darrington Ranger District is tackling a passel of projects this summer and fall, and they're seeking public comment on a long list of planning documents geared toward getting work underway. One of the projects that we thought hikers would be most interested in is a potential new parking lot and road-to-trail conversion on the Boulder River Trail (#734).

The District proposes building a new parking lot at milepost 3.0 on the French Creek Road to replace the current parking area at milepost 3.7. They would place the remaining 0.7 miles of road into storage and use it as an extension of the Boulder River Trail until new trail mileage could be constructed from the new parking lot. That would add 1.4 miles to the hike, which is very popular, particularly with new hikers and families. At the same time, existing parking facilities are generally viewed as inadequate to the use the trail sees.

This is just entered our radar, and WTA hasn't formulated a final position on it.  There are compelling arguments in both directions, and we're very interested in your thoughts. Please let us know what you think of this proposal. Your views will inform our comments, which are due to the Darrington District by April 10.

If you'd like to more - and comment yourself - check out this page for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Comments

New trailhead

Boulder River most definitely needs a new trailhead - more parking, a turnaround, and an outhouse! There's no other logical place for this trailhead to go, the current trailhead being surrounded by huge trees, a steep downward slope on one side, and an upward hillslope on the other.

The proposed location is flat, and according to Forest Service personnel, it is the site of an old scout camp. With the surrounding area fairly recently logged, and it being adjacent a fairly busy forest road, a new trailhead there is not likely to have any adverse impact on habitat. The Forest Service acknowledges a potential Environmental Assessment pending comments generated by the scoping letter, however, so habitat is not being ignored.

It will be a longer trail, sure. But a real trailhead is very much needed at Boulder River - there's nowhere to turn around, there's no place for a much-needed toilet - as a result, the woods are full of pollutants. Quite often, there are so many hikers on Boulder River that cars are parked at nearly the 3.0 mile mark on the road anyway.

While the additional 1.4 miles might deter a few families with very young children, it doesn't outweigh the benefits of a new trailhead at 3.0. Summer days are long, and families have all day to wander Boulder River trail. They can simply turn around at Feature Show Falls, if that's as far as they get; which is where many turn around anyway. Those that don't make it can return the following year when the kids are a little bigger.

Boulder River trail isn't a destination trail, and after the falls, it's a forest roam. Getting to the end isn't necessary to enjoy the trail; I don't often get to the end because I take my time to enjoy the portions I do get to hike.

Posted by:


"Kim Brown" on Mar 22, 2011 12:23 PM

Boulder River trail might get longer

The parking is limited. I was there yesterday and the parking area was overflowing back up the road. It sounds like this would make the hike shorter, and the first part that is most accessible to children is already pretty short. That is the only drawback I can think of.

Posted by:


schwelo on Feb 05, 2012 09:53 AM