Friday, October 16, 2009

Carbon River Road

An article in the Tacoma News Tribune story, reports that the NPS hasn't made the final decision on the future of the Carbon River Road. I've written some posts here, about the flood damage, plans and my choice. Now the NPS will release their choice sometime on or after January, after finishing the environmental assessments and impacts.

After that, there will likely be some more public presentations and meetings about their choice, then the long involved work of getting the money, planning the work, and then get their boots dirtly geting it done. There was no indication which the NPS prefers, but I'll bet they'll go with the one which reduces the longer terms cost for maintenance and minimizes the damage from future floods.

And that, to me, will likely be abandoning the road as a trail in the sections where the river has reclaimed it and building a trail on the slopes around those sections. This is mostly the first mile or two from the entrance. Then the trail can reconnect with the existing trail to Ipsut Campround and all the trails beyond.

This seems the best choice to me because trying to maintain a trail in a river channel, especially one which is constantly depositing material along the channel and will reroute itself during and after floods, like the Carbon River, is a never ending task. Every year of moderate or more severe floods will see the road and trail closed, and every summer the NPS will be repairing it from the damage.

Rerouting the trail and leaving the river to its own devices is the best alternative. But we'll know for sure in January when everyone can chime in again with their view.

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