Chambers Creek Canyon trail gets blessing from three governments

Pierce County, Lakewood and University Place officials have agreed to cooperate on building a nature trail through Chambers Creek Canyon, beginning at Chambers Bay and ending at Kobayashi Park in UP.

That was the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to pay for it.

Representatives from the three governments will start those discussions in mid-July, after the dust settles from the U.S. Open at nearby Chambers Bay golf course.

Tony Tipton, the county’s parks and recreation director, explained that the trail is still in the conceptual phase. The three jurisdictions anticipate paying a total of $75,000 — $25,000 each — to hire a consultant, map out exactly where a trail could go and estimate preliminary cost.

The land for a trail belongs to the county, but the north side of the canyon lies in UP city limits and the south side is in Lakewood.

“We want to work to expand the entire experience we have around Chambers Creek Regional Park,” Tipton said.

All agencies have described the trail’s timeframe as dependent on funding sources. By early next year, they said they will have a better idea how long it could take before the public can start walking a completed 2.5-mile trail in the canyon.

Chambers Creek Canyon is a well preserved scenic corridor where pedestrians will be able to view waterfowl, deer and small animals. In contrast with the open, paved trails near Chambers Bay, this trail will be a dirt path winding through the canyon, offering a combination of woods and creekside scenery.

The agencies plan to build boardwalks over sensitive areas and a pedestrian bridge crossing Chambers Creek, allowing people to walk between UP and Lakewood.

“We have such a wonderful, natural setting in the Chambers Creek Canyon, and citizens have been asking for a recreational trail through the area for some time.” Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said in a statement.

Officials say the public will be invited to ask questions, give feedback and support the project. Mary Dodsworth, Lakewood’s parks director, said the team plans on reaching out to the community with volunteer opportunities and other ways to help with the trail.