Three of four permits have been received by the Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department, bringing closer the day the city can repair storm-damaged sections of the Guemes Channel Trail.

Parks and Recreation Director Jonn Lunsford said Monday that he’s received shoreline and stormwater permits from the city Planning Department and a hydraulic project approval permit from state Fish and Wildlife. Last needed is a clearing and grading permit from the Planning Department, which awaits a habitat assessment being finalized by GeoEngineers of Bellingham.

“It could come tomorrow,” Lunsford said. If it does, work would begin this week, he said. The work will be performed by the city Public Works Department.

“We know it’s coming; we know what it says. It just has to be completed and finalized … They’ve sent us drafts; we know what it’s going to say.”

Here’s what residents can expect, Lunsford said: The work will be done between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during low tide. Portions of the trail where work is being done will be closed to the public for safety. City crews will cut out and remove broken asphalt. Heavy equipment will be used to move rock and boulders into place. Once those areas are rebuilt, soil would be placed and dune grass seedlings planted to help stabilize the bank.

Rip-rap and soil were sucked away from the base and from under portions of the trail during a storm in February, causing portions of the trail to collapse. According to Lunsford, areas of the trail where plants have become established fended off erosion.

“We have found that if we put in native dune grass and it can establish, it helps the trail to withstand the overwash of waves that are part of a storm surge,” Lunsford said in an earlier interview.

The parks department keeps trail maintenance costs down by harvesting seeds at Ship Harbor for planting along the trail, and much of the planting has been done by community volunteers, including the Anacortes High School Green Club.

Cross-city trail network

The trail is developed on a former railroad bed and runs from Edwards Way to Lovric’s Marina and Shipyard. Advocates envision a trail that someday extends from Washington Park to the Tommy Thompson Parkway, creating a pedestrian-bicycle route from the northwest end of the city to March’s Point.

Phase 1, from Edwards Way to Lovric’s, was completed in July 2015 at a cost of $990,000. Phase 2, from Edwards Way to Ship Harbor, is estimated to cost $400,000; Phase 3, Washington Park to the state ferry landing, $750,000; Phase 4, Sixth Street, $80,000; Phase 5, Sixth Street to the Tommy Thompson Parkway, $200,000; and Phase 6, Lovric’s to Sixth Street, $2.4 million for right of way acquisition and trail development.

The City of Anacortes has launched a website dedicated to the Guemes Channel Trail, www.cityofanacortes.org/1029/Guemes-Channel-Trail. The site features maps and updates about each phase of the trail as well as documents related to each phase of development.

The nonprofit Anacortes Parks Foundation also has a website devoted to the Guemes Channel Trail: GuemesChannelTrail.com.

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