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Improvements planned for Lakewood’s Waughop Lake trail

A pair of runners circumnavigates Waughop Lake in Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood early Friday, Feb. 24, 2006.
A pair of runners circumnavigates Waughop Lake in Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood early Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. Peter Haley

Visitors to Waughop Lake at Lakewood’s Fort Steilacoom Park can expect to see big changes on the the heavily used trail loop in 2016.

By late spring, the city hopes to be repaving, and in some cases rerouting, the approximately mile-long trail around the the lake. The trail will be closed during the work.

“It’s in a state of disrepair,” said Mary Dodsworth, Lakewood’s director of Parks and Recreation and community services. “It used to be a road that you could drive around back in the day.”

Closed to cars in the 1980s, the path hasn’t seen many upgrades since.

The city has $500,000 worth of improvements planned for the trail and has lined up a combination of state and local grants and in-kind contributions to pay for it.

The city hopes work will begin by May or June, but that is contingent on permits. Officials hope to complete the work by Summerfest in early July.

Planned improvements include:

▪ Creating a uniform, 14-foot-wide trail.

▪ Adding 4-foot wide grass shoulders.

▪ Building a picnic shelter and viewing areas.

▪ Removing hazardous trees and invasive vegetation.

▪ Replanting trees and native species vegetation.

▪ Improving trail connections.

▪ Adding interpretive signs.

▪ Regrading the parking lot and improving access for disabled people.

A section of the trail will be moved back from the lake to limit erosion. The city will improve access to the lake near the main entrance to the trail to make it easier for groups that use the water, such as the remote-control boat club, to get to the shore.

People concerned about big changes to the trail shouldn’t be worried, Dodsworth said.

“It’s still going to be very natural, very green,” she said. “It’s going to have that undeveloped feel even though it’s very close to the community.”

The city hopes to apply for permits next month. A public meeting will be held before work begins to publicize trail closure dates.

For more information, visit the city’s Parks and Recreation website at cityoflakewood.us/parks-and-recreation/parks/parks-projects.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467, @bgrimley

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