Two Trails for Port Ludlow

by Tim Rensema, Staff writer

Falls along McCormick Railroad in Ludlow Creek
by Tim Rensema

I know with almost 25 miles of trails in Port Ludlow, some may think that is more than enough to meet the exercise requirements of our residents. Our trail system not only provides long and short trails, but also access to wonderful views of Port Ludlow Bay and the Olympic Mountains. We do have it all.

If you like challenges along freshwater streams, then Osprey Trail is the one for you. It is tucked away between two major subdivisions, but you wouldn’t know it. The Interpretive Trail gets a significant number of visitors each week, not only from our Port Ludlow community but from all over the world, especially when Ludlow Falls are roiling. We have just finished laying gravel on all the trails there to make them drier, safer, and easier to travel.

Ok, now for our two proposed new trails. They are still in the formative/pre-approval stage. The first is the McCormick Rail Trail. I have mentioned the McCormick Rail line in past articles in the Voice. We want to enable all visitors to view some really beautiful views of Ludlow Creek. The McCormick Rail Trail will start from the Timberton Homes Extension trail, travel through glades of alder on an old skid trail, to intersect with the old rail trace of the McCormick Railroad. Then the trail will return along Ludlow Creek and connect with the Timberton Homes Extension trail, providing a loop trail that follows Ludlow Creek for a good part of it. Sites along the trail such as the old dam site (for the Puget Mill freshwater flume) and an existing red-cedar cabled bridge are neat sites to see. The railroad crossing of Ludlow Creek was at the end of the trail where you will be able to see two tiers of posts that supported the railroad bridge. It will be a beautiful trail that will augment the various choices we have to offer community hikers and walkers.

The other proposed trail has long been in planning by the PLVC Trails Committee working with the LMC Greenbelt Committee. It is a route along Oak Bay Road from the Swansonville Road intersection to just before the Fire Station, then up the ravine to end at McCurdy and Pioneer. It will be a little over a mile long but has a steep ascent up the Fire Station ravine. Why are we putting this trail in? Many people are wondering this, based on some of the comments received both formally and informally by the LMC Greenbelt Committee. Some of the comments that are being addressed are security, safety, noise, and privacy. Currently the closest trail to support the Pioneer community is Talbot (which ends near Swansonville Road) and the Lower Rainier Trail at the intersection of Oak Bay Road and Swansonville. I was curious about the potential crime issue that was brought up, so I decided to contact the Sheriff about past crimes from the trails. As far as he knew (and he asked his folks as well) there have not been any reported crimes on private property adjacent to the trails.

What we should remember is that the common lands, both developed and undeveloped, belong to all the members of North Port Ludlow. Whether it is Kehele Park or the Beach Club area, this is all developed common property that we pay assessments to use. There were some comments about the quality of care that the Trails Committee was providing this year (and in one case over the past six years), because we stewards of the trails were getting older and more infirm. That is true to a point, but we are also recruiting younger folks who are willing to help on trails. We have had some problems with equipment this year (as that equipment is owned by individuals who actively work the trails) in getting out mowing. Also, with the rain through June, it meant weed whacking and mowing were delayed because of the condition (muddy) of the trails in question. So yeah, it has been a hard year for us, but I recommend you walk the trails now. Our 27 stewards keep us on our toes to maintain the trails throughout Port Ludlow. We could not maintain over 25 miles of trails without the stewards. If you get the chance, talk to some of the users of the Interpretive Trail on how appreciative they are of the graveled way. Trails may not increase the value of your home as much as an ocean view would, but it is one of the key structures that new homeowners look for when purchasing a home.

As members of LMC (in North Port Ludlow) you should voice your concerns and/or support for not only new proposed trails, but our trails system in general. Please be as specific as you can. It may help us in Trails to make them a more fulfilling experience for all who use them. For providing any comments, you should contact PLVC Trails through plvc.org. As an aside, for current up-to-date information on the status of trails, please read Larry Scott’s monthly notice “Trail Mix” in the Voice.