Plans have been in the works for several years
By Ann McCreary
Construction is expected to begin in September on recreational trails in both Twisp and Winthrop, with the goal of completing the trail segments this fall.
The towns have awarded separate contracts for the trail segments to a local company, Lloyd Logging Inc., the only bidder for each job.
In both Twisp and Winthrop, plans for the trails have been underway for years. The stretches to be completed this year are part of longer trail systems envisioned in each community.
In Winthrop, the project is the second phase of the Susie Stephens Trail. This phase will connect to the existing trail, which extends from its start near the Methow Conservancy office and crosses Methow River on the Spring Creek Bridge, ending at Little Star Montessori School.
The new segment continues from Little Star past the Wellness Center and Jamie’s Place, then follows the Foghorn Ditch southeastward almost to Highway 20. The total length of the trail will be just about 1 mile when the new segment is completed, said Rocklynn Culp, Winthrop town planner.
The project also includes a crossing with pedestrian warning signs at White Avenue near Winthrop Physical Therapy, safety signage along the existing and new trail, a split rail fence to replace ecology blocks along Norfolk Avenue (next to Little Star school), and paving three accessible parking places adjacent to the trail at the Town Trailhead. The first segment of ADA-compliant trail is 12 feet wide, and the new stretch will be 10 feet wide.
The Winthrop Town Council approved a contract Aug. 10 not to exceed $338,922 to Lloyd Logging for the trail construction. Among other funding, Winthrop received a $180,000 grant for the project from the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), said Culp.
The trail segment will end about 20 feet from the edge of Highway 20 just south of the Friendship Church, Culp said. That is because the town has been unable to secure a right-of-way across a small wedge of privately owned land between the end of the trail and the highway.
“We’ve been trying to get them [the property owner] to respond for years,” Culp said. The owners are not local “and have not responded to the town’s inquiries,” she said.
Ultimately, the town would like to be able to extend the trail to the highway to provide access to businesses on the other side. The long-range goal would be to extend the trail from town to the public school campus, if easements could be acquired, Culp said.
Twisp town trail
In Twisp, the town has awarded a contract not to exceed $104,611 to begin construction of a recreational trail that will connect to a short, paved trail on the east side of Twisp Park, and extend along the Methow River to Methow Street. The length will be about 1,500 feet, said Andrew Denham, Twisp public works director.
As in Winthrop, Twisp officials have been planning a trail for several years, and received a 50 percent matching grant for design and construction from the RCO for $173,211. The town’s match was primarily in-kind labor and donations, said Clerk Jackie Moriarity.
Through a separate contract with the town, Lloyd Logging will provide $18,700 worth of in-kind services for the trail construction. The agreement, signed last year, was created to compensate the town for the withdrawal in 2015 of a promised trail easement along the Methow River on property owned by the Lloyd family, doing business as Lloyd Holdco LLC.
The easement would have allowed construction of a trail segment following the route of the former Wagner Street along the east side of the Methow River on Lloyd property. The in-kind services can include materials, labor, equipment, construction or maintenance of the trail.
Twisp’s long-term goal is to continue the trail over the bridge that crosses the Methow River on Twisp’s south end and along the river on the east side of the bridge.
Twisp officials had also hoped to begin construction of tennis courts behind the pool at the Twisp Park, but shelved that project when the construction bid came in too high, said Denham.
Lloyd Logging was the only bidder on the tennis courts, but the $128,752 bid was far over the $68,790 RCO grant the town had received to fund the project, Denham said. “At this point we’re not awarding the tennis courts,” he said.