Two important bridge replacement projects were completed this summer and fall, promising safer crossings for future hikers.
The Methow Valley Trails Collaborative recently finished a major trail bridge replacement on the Louis Lake Trail outside of Twisp. The replacement was a joint effort between the collaborative, the U.S. Forest Service, Methow Valley Back Country Horsemen and Methow Trails.
The project was made possible with funding from a grant related to the 2021 federal bipartisan infrastructure law.
The Louis Lake Bridge spans 45 feet and is 7 feet wide, and includes a railing to prevent horses from losing riders into South Creek below. The bridge will make access to the Louis Lake Trail possible for equestrians. It replaces a failed trail bridge that was decommissioned in 2021.
Since the stream crossing is in the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness, no power tools were used on site.
The Forest Service provided staff time, and their pack string brought all materials to the site. The Methow Valley Backcountry Horsemen provided hardware, bridge decking, a conservation corps crew, and volunteers. Methow Trails helped administer a Legacy Trails grant and provided use of their shop space for the prefabrication of the railing. All in all, there were over 300 hours of volunteered labor.
The Legacy Trails grant will also cover replacing two failing trail bridges on the Cutthroat Trail. The Cutthroat bridges are scheduled to be replaced in 2024.
Methow Trails also recently completed replacement of the Lower Goat Creek Bridge — a vital link for winter and summer users on the Founders Trail — after it again washed out. Methow Trails came up with a new design to withstand future floods.
Credit goes to Methow Trails, Okanogan County, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private homeowners for contributions to the project.