AP NEWS

Baker Lake trail project open for comment

September 22, 2018

After several washouts on Baker Lake Road, the U.S. Forest Service is considering options for maintaining access to the Baker Lake and Baker River trails north of Concrete without having to rely on the road.

The Baker River most recently damaged Baker Lake Road in 2015 near the end of the road — where it is also called Forest Service Road 11 — near the northeast end of Baker Lake.

The road remains open and is primarily used to access the Baker River Trailhead and its connection with the Baker Lake Trail.

To avoid having to rely on the road for trail access, the Forest Service is proposing building a parking lot near Shannon Creek Campground, converting about a mile of road to trail, and building a 1.2-mile section of trail from there to connect with the existing trail, according to project documents.

The federal agency is also considering an option that would use a longer portion of the road as trail and involve building a shorter section of new trail lower in the Baker River valley.

The Forest Service is preparing to do an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act to help determine which path for the new trail has the best chance of surviving damage from the Baker River long term while also protecting or restoring natural resources in the area, according to project documents.

The Forest Service is taking public input through Oct. 23 on what should be evaluated in that study. Comments can be submitted online, by email or by mail.

The Baker River and Baker Lake trails are in the Mt. Baker-Snoquamie National Forest, and the Mount Baker Ranger District’s goal is to maintain access to the trails, according to a news release.

The Baker River Trail is about five miles round trip, crossing several creeks along the way, according to the Washington Trails Association. The Baker Lake Trail extends about 14 miles along the east shore of the lake.

For more information, visit skagit.ws/BakerRoadTrail.

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