Imagine a trip on the Chehalis Western trail that will allow someone riding a bike, walking, running, skating, or pushing a stroller to safely and effortlessly cross I-5, Martin Way, and Pacific Avenue uninterrupted, free from the traffic of cars. Wake up trail users, this dream will soon become a reality!
Nearly fifteen years ago, the region’s trail network was still more an idea written on paper than pavement laid on the ground. The Chehalis Western Trail was managed as two separate facilities – the trail north of Martin Way, owned by Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the trail south of Pacific Avenue, owned and still under construction by Thurston County. Traversing the gap was literally a game of chicken for those brave enough or smart enough to find a way to get to the other side. Michael Welter, the former Thurston County Parks Director, trail advocates, and local transportation officials envisioned a series of bridges over three of the region’s busiest arterials in the core of Lacey and Olympia. Michael thought the completion of the Bridging the Gap Project might be the last phase of the region’s trail network. Everyone involved in planning the early implementation of the Bridging the Gap Project knew it was going to be expensive and take a long time. A lot of these individuals deserve a huge THANKS! for making this vision happen.
Today, trail users in Thurston County have nearly 50 miles of paved shared-use trails to enjoy.
The paving of the Chehalis Western Trail from Chambers Lake to Rainier is complete, the Yelm to Tenino Trail was paved, and the Lacey and Olympia Woodland Trails both connect near the Gap. The Chehalis Western Trail is now owned and managed solely by Thurston County and only one gap remains – Pacific Avenue. However, on December 7th, trail users will have much to celebrate as Thurston County hosts a Ground Breaking Ceremony for the third and final phase of the Chehalis Western Trail Bridging the Gap Project. Be a part of history and join this momentous occasion at 1:00 p.m. at 3811 Pacific Avenue SE (Across from Carl’s Jr.).