July 19, 2009 in Outdoors

Four trail tunnels will remain closed

By The Spokesman-Review
File photo

Ed White, left, and Dallas Ward, right, load bikes into the shuttle bus that carries cyclists from the end of the Route of the Hiawatha back to the start.
(Full-size photo)

The closure of four tunnels has taken the steam out of bicycling the rail trail through Washington’s Iron Horse State Park-John Wayne Pioneer Trail, a popular rail trail that runs over the North Cascades.

Iron Horse State Park is a linear 1,612-acre park comprising part of the former rail route of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad. The trail extends more than 100 miles from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River. High trestles provide spectacular views.

But the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announced last week that tunnels 46 through 50, which had been temporarily closed, will remain closed until further notice because of safety concerns.

The closure affects the two tunnels between Thorp and South Cle Elum, one tunnel along Lake Easton, one tunnel between Easton and USFS Road 54 (Stampede Pass Road) and the 2.3 mile-long tunnel at Hyak (Snoqualmie Pass).

Westbound visitors can only get to within a half-mile of the western portal of the Snoqualmie Tunnel because of a large washout caused by the January floods.

The tunnels were originally closed in January after a safety review conducted by the engineering firm, Kleinfelder Inc., documented hazards.

Only the tunnel along Lake Easton offers a detour.

Info: Lake Easton State Park Area, (509) 656-2230.

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