After many years of planning and four years of construction the grand opening of the newly paved Middle Fork road was celebrated on National Public Lands day, September 30, 2017. On the same day a ribbon cutting ceremony was also held for the recently completed Granite Creek trailhead and a reroute of a troublesome section of the Middle Fork trail. Multiple work parties were out this day as well, and everyone was invited to the Middle Fork campground for food and beverages to wrap up the festivities.
These videos include highlights of the comments from representatives of the many government and private agencies that contributed to these projects. The theme of the day was working together to realize the opportunities presented by the Middle Fork valley. For the sake of brevity, most of the recitals of thanks to various groups and individuals have been edited out, but a full transcription is available here.
The Mountain To Sound Greenway also has many excellent photos on Facebook taken by Ray Lapine.
It was convenient to have this celebration on National Public Lands Day, but there was still a short section of the road by the TANW1 river gauge that was not completed by this date. That would happen a couple months later when the final bit of pavement was laid down and the last guard rails installed in mid November, 2017.
REI web page with final Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail totals
As part of it’s “Every Trail Connects” campaign, REI invited its members and the outdoor community across the country to have a direct effect on the trails they love. Community votes determined how to invest $500,000 with 10 nonprofit partners to support 10 selected trails including the Middle Fork Trail on the Snoqualmie River. Each vote (one per day, per person) meant a $5 investment in the selected trail. The investment is part of $5.9 million that REI is granting in 2015 to more than 300 nonprofits working to create access to more than 1,000 outdoor places throughout the United States.
Because of the 3 hour time zone difference with the east coast, the Middle Fork Trail got off to a slow start, but as word spread on local hiking sites and social media the votes started coming in at a brisk pace. Ultimately, the Middle Fork trail got the 5th highest vote total, just 3,242 votes shy of the maximum 15,000. After the voting was done REI added a $10,000 bonus to each of the 10 trails, raising the total to $68,790.
Progress of voting during REI Every Trail campaign
The funds will help repair multiple washouts on the Middle Fork Trail from the severe November 2006 and January 2009 floods and reroute a section located on a rapidly migrating river bend to higher ground. The project also includes removing approximately 0.5 miles of washed-out trail segments to promote natural re-vegetation and repairing portions of the damaged wood boardwalks. Unfortunately, it’s not enough money to add a badly needed bridge at the Thunder Creek crossing. The work will be done through a partnership with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Washington Trails Association.
The unfunded 2012 PRISM Project #12-1743 details much of the work that has been deferred due to lack of funds. The plans for the reroute were published by the USFS as SOPA Project 94062 in July, 2013.
The Forest Service has proposed a minor reroute of the Middle Fork trail #1003 between the Taylor River and Dingford Creek. The reroute will avoid an area prone to washouts and landslides caused by normal channel migration of the Middle Fork river.
Flagged trail partially follows the old railroad grade