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Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail

Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail Project

Common questions

- When did construction start?
- What is the total budget for development of the first segment of the trail?
- Why did the county select this segment of the trail to be developed first?
- How will the development of the first segment of trail be funded?
- Who will operate and maintain this segment of trail once it’s developed?
- How will the trail be separated from adjacent properties?
- How will the trail be separated from the railroad track?
- Will horses be allowed on this segment of trail?
- When will the rest of the trail be developed?
- How much did the corridor study cost to develop? How was it paid for?
- When did the county buy the railroad right-of-way?
- Who operates the rail line currently?
- Isn’t the county considering redeveloping this railroad corridor for future commuter and/or freight rail use?
- How can I get more information about this project?


When did construction start?
Construction of the first 1-mile segment of trail started in May 2011 and was completed in December 2011. The initial segment runs from the entrance road inside Battle Ground Lake State Park southwest along the railroad tracks to Washington State Department of Natural Resources land.

What is the total budget for development of the first segment of the trail?
About $728,600.

Why did the county select this segment of the trail to be developed first?
The Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail Corridor Study, which was developed in 2007-08, identified several segments of the trail as candidates for early development. The Battle Ground to Battle Ground Lake State Park segment was the most popular candidate at the public open houses held in early 2008, and it received consistent support from user groups, the rail operator and local agencies.

This segment will extend existing hiking, biking and equestrian opportunities and make use of existing trailhead facilities and conveniences. It crosses few roads, has very infrequent rail use and the right of way is relatively wide at 100 feet.

The county initially intended to build a 2.8-mile trail, connecting Battle Ground Lake State Park with Fairgrounds Park in Battle Ground. Environmental considerations, namely wetlands, steep slopes and sensitive wildlife habitat, made the project more expensive than originally

How will the development of the first segment of trail be funded?
Funding for this project comes from a federal Transportation Enhancement grant, a grant from the Washington state Recreation and Conservation Office and county real estate excise taxes.

Who will operate and maintain this segment of trail once it’s developed?
The Clark County Public Works park operations and maintenance office will maintain the trail segment after construction is complete.

How will the trail be separated from adjacent properties?
This will depend on a number of different site-specific variables. Clark County will work with immediately adjacent property owners on this issue during design and permitting.

How will the trail be separated from the railroad track?
The trail is often naturally separated from the track by low hills and gullies. Currently, trains do not run on this section of track. The county will consider placing fencing or another type of barricade between the trail and the railroad track as train traffic increases.

Will horses be allowed on this segment of trail?
The preliminary plans currently accommodate horseback riding, although specific access details have not been finalized yet.

When will the rest of the trail be developed?
The rest of the trail will be developed as funding allows.

How much did the corridor study cost to develop? How was it paid for?
The corridor study cost $230,000 to develop. Funding for the study came from a Federal Transportation Enhancement grant, real estate excise taxes, which are paid whenever a property is sold in Clark County, and the Clark County Road Fund.

When did the County buy the railroad right-of-way?
Clark County purchased the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad right of way in 1985. The existing rail line, also known as the Lewis and Clark Railroad, extends 33 miles diagonally through the county from Burnt Bridge Creek at Interstate 5, to the site of an old paper mill a few miles from Yale Reservoir in Chelatchie Prairie.

Clark County acquired the right-of-way both for commercial transportation use and as a trail corridor. The county is currently leasing the rail corridor to several rail operators who are using the corridor for light-industrial rail commerce and passenger excursion trips.

Who operates the rail line currently?
The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad currently holds the county lease and operates the line from Burnt Bridge Creek to south of Heisson. The Battle Ground, Yacolt, and Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association (BYCX) also operates excursion trains out of Yacolt. Trains do not currently run on the section between Fairgrounds Park and Battle Ground Lake State Park.

Isn’t the county considering redeveloping this railroad corridor for future commuter and/or freight rail use?
The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC) recently looked at using this railroad corridor for commuter rail purposes as part of its High Capacity Transit Study. However, the corridor was not included in the 2030 Proposed High Capacity Transit System Plan released by the RTC in September 2008.

How can I get more information about this project?
For information about the development of the first segment of the trail, contact:
Troy Pierce, Project Manager
Clark County Public Works
(360) 397-6118 ext. 4403
E-mail: Troy.Pierce@clark.wa.gov

For general information about the overall trail plan, contact:
Jean Akers
Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation
(360) 487-8320
E-mail: Jean.Akers@cityofvancouver.us

 
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