Major Projects

Blueprint for a sustainable Middle Fork Valley

A broad coalition, including public land managers, conservation and recreation groups, and local citizens, has spent years designing a plan that balances conservation and ecological health with increased human visitation in the Middle Fork Valley.

In partnership with public land managers, our commitment extends far beyond construction of new recreation infrastructure. Ongoing maintenance, invasive weed removal, and storm damage repairs are of vital importance to sustain the ecological health of this Wild and Scenic River watershed. This cooperative model between public agencies and private citizens sets an extraordinary example of local communities coming together to care for public lands into the future.

 

Highlighted Projects

 

Garfield Ledges Trail and Trailhead

Construct a new 1-mile trail with spectacular views for people of all ages under the dramatic cliffs and spires of Mt. Garfield. Install a new trailhead for the trail, parking, bathrooms, and a picnic area along the Taylor River.

Benefits: Family-friendly trail; low-elevation views of Middle Fork Valley and confluence of Middle Fork and Taylor River; additional trailhead with parking and amenities; picnic area with beautiful river views.

Completed 2019. Learn more.

Middle Fork Trail

Repair large stretches of the Middle Fork Trail, the backbone of the Middle Fork’s trail system, which has suffered significant damage and closures in recent years. Projects include replacing failing structures and rerouting a ¾-mile stretch of trail washed away by the river.

This trail continues to be improved, repaired and maintained through partnerships, including REI’s Every Trail Connects. This trail sees a unique management technique, with mountain bikes allowed on odd-numbered days only between June and October.

Benefits: Improved access into the upper Middle Fork Valley and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness; reopen trail to equestrians, who cannot pass the current washout; ecologically sustainable structures to handle all user groups, including hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

Repairs planned 2020-2021.

Camp Brown

Construct brand new, day-use area with an ADA-accessible interpretive trail and 14 picnic tables along a Wild and Scenic-designated river. This unique site was a former North Bend Timber Company logging camp and a Forest Service guard station.

Benefits: New, ADA-accessible picnic areas and river access in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest with paved road access and countless outdoor education opportunities.

Completed 2020. Learn more.

Granite Creek Trail and Trailhead

Construct new trailhead with 43 parking spaces and new Granite Creek Trail, which provides trail access to Granite and Thompson Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, as well as day-use access to the Middle Fork River.

Construction of the trailhead, conversion of a former logging road to part of the trail, and construction of new trail segments all represent a model of inter-agency collaboration in the Middle Fork Valley as the trailhead is managed by King County and the trail by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR.) Greenway Trust and DNR staff and crews built the trail and provide ongoing maintenance.

Benefits: A new destination hike to alpine lakes and through forests of hemlock, Douglas fir, alder and cedar with 2270 feet of elevation gain in 4.4 miles (one-way), partially along a former railway of the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company.

Completed 2018. Learn more.

Oxbow Loop Trail

Construct the Oxbow Loop Trail, a cooperative project undertaken by the Greenway Trust in partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The 1.9-mile loop trail provides low-intensity recreation access in this scenic and special location in the valley, just 40 minutes from Seattle, and includes a parking lot, bathroom, and information kiosks.

Benefits: Year-round, accessible trail in a landscape shaped by glaciers to an oxbow lake and along the river.

Completed 2019. Learn more.

Pratt Bar

Construct a new bridge to Pratt Bar and a sunny beach on the Middle Fork River, a spectacular water-play area with soaring views of surrounding mountains, and some of the best river access on National Forest lands in the Middle Fork Valley.

The bridge, built with logs salvaged during the road paving project, was installed through a collaboration between the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Forest Service, State DNR, and the Greenway Trust.

Benefits: New, family-friendly river access with spectacular views and picnic spots.

Completed 2017. Learn more.

Gateway Bridge

Construction of the iconic Gateway Bridge across the river in 1995 symbolized the spirit of collaboration surrounding the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley. A group of dedicated volunteers spent weeks in the then-lawless Valley. They carted supplies, camped out to guard bridge building materials, and risked stray bullets until a risky helicopter lift finally put this iconic bridge in place.

In 2019 many more people and organizations came together to replace its aging wooden deck. Backcountry Horsemen of Washington raised funds, TRA Mill donated lumber at cost, and volunteers spent many days taking care of this iconic structure so it can continue to carry hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and picnickers over this Wild and Scenic River.

Benefits: A new surface and needed maintenance on this icon in the valley, providing access from the Middle Fork Trailhead to the main Middle Fork Trail and Pratt River Trail in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Constructed 1995, repaired 2019. Learn more.

Mine Creek

Construct a family-friendly day-use area near the entrance to the Valley with river access, swimming, and kayak entry/exit point. Facilities will include interpretive signs, picnic tables, and improved parking and access.

Benefits: Families, boaters, and fishermen will all have improved access to this beautiful stretch of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

River access open to the public; new facilities planned 2021.

Champion Beach

Construct short hiking trails including bridges over wetlands to a beach along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. One of the earliest projects completed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, this location is also one of the most accessible.

Benefits: Access to a beautiful, rocky beach along a curve in the river, for picnics, fishing, float access, and family-friendly trails just minutes outside the city of North Bend. This day-use site includes a small parking lot and bathrooms.

Completed 2019.

Middle Fork Connector and Nature Trails

Construct connecting trails between the major Middle Fork Trailhead, Middle Fork Campground, Garfield Ledges Trailhead, access to both the Taylor and Middle Fork rivers, and access into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Benefits: Fully connect trail access at the busy “hub” of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley at the end of the newly-paved road here in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Completed 2019.

Snoqualmie Lake and Otter Falls/Lipsy Lake

Significant improvements to popular trails in the upper Valley, including renovation of the Snoqualmie Lake Trail to handle increased use, construction of an official trail to Otter Falls and Lipsy Lake, and expansion of the Snoqualmie Lake Trailhead.

Benefits: Expanded parking facilities to meet growing demand; improved trail conditions; protect sensitive ecological areas by replacing unofficial, unsustainable trails with new route to Otter Falls and Lipsy Lake.

Planned 2021.

 

The future of the Middle Fork is in your hands

Most of the upper Middle Fork Valley is under the management of the US Forest Service, while the lands of the lower valley are primarily state-owned and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Both are willing hosts and partners in opening up the Valley as a primary destination for outdoor recreation in this region. The state has set aside some funding for recreational infrastructure in the lower Valley, but drastic budget cuts over recent years have made it impossible for the Forest Service to do the same in the upper Valley.

This means that for more than 80% of the area that will be within easy reach via the new Middle Fork Road, there is no funding mechanism in place to build the necessary – and ecologically sustainable – infrastructure to meet the vast increase in usage that will soon arrive. Learn how you can help.