After four years of construction, the Middle Fork Road is now open! The Federal Highway Administration has reconstructed 10 miles of this once notorious pothole-filled access road, providing safe and family-friendly access to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley – the wilderness in our backyard – for the first time.
The Greenway Trust has long recognized the value of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley and has been active in planning efforts for decades. Now, the wealth of public lands in the valley, less than an hour from downtown Seattle, will be easier to access for anyone who wants to enjoy this regional treasure. Visitors will discover endless opportunities to hike, kayak, bike, ride horseback, picnic, swim, and more. In addition to improving public access, the new road also offers many ecological benefits. The paved road will protect and enhance water quality in the valley, reduce sediment runoff into wetlands and streams, diminish summer dust clouds, and open coastal cutthroat trout migration routes that have been blocked for decades.
The new Middle Fork Road was made possible thanks to the efforts of many individuals and organizations. Former Senator Slade Gorton was instrumental in securing initial funding for the project, and Senator Patty Murray ensured that funding remained available for the road. The US Forest Service, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and King County — the land managers in the valley – have all worked in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, King County Roads, and community members to plan and implement the project. Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Dave Reichert, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene worked to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness into the valley.
This road opening is the latest milestone for a collaborative effort that has transformed the Middle Fork Valley over the last 20 years. Thanks to continued dedication from the public and private sectors, the Middle Fork has been reclaimed from criminal misuse such as illegal dumping, rampant shooting, and hidden meth labs. Today, the Greenway Trust continues to steward the public lands of the valley in partnership with the public land managers, recreation groups, business leaders, and Middle Fork neighbors.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and many partner organizations will gather together on National Public Lands Day to celebrate construction of the new road and the opening of several new trails and trailheads in the Valley. Nearly 200 volunteers from across the region will build trails and plant trees at several popular sites, including the Middle Fork Trail, the new Granite Creek Trailhead, and the future trail to Garfield Ledges. Afterwards, REI Co-op will host an after party for volunteers and public land managers at the USFS Middle Fork Campground.
The Greenway Trust hosted a road opening celebration and coordinated several volunteer opportunities in the valley for National Public Lands Day, September 30, 2017. View photos from the celebration and events.