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Railroad Bridge Park turns 20
The Dungeness River Audubon Center invites the community to attend a party in honor of the 20th anniversary of Railroad Bridge Park in Sequim.
The celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, with displays and refreshments. After a few historical highlights about the park from Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Councilwoman Theresa Lehman and Peninsula Trails Coalition President Chris Gutmacher, guests will walk to the bridge to continue the festivities.
“We have so much to celebrate,” says River Center President Lyn Muench, who remembers when the Park opened.
After train service to Sequim ended in 1985, concerned citizens and organizations worked together to purchase the Howe Truss Bridge (completed in 1915) and half a mile of right-of-way to develop a trail for recreational use. Their achievements set in motion the creation of Railroad Bridge Park.
In 1993, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe accepted sponsorship of the park, expanding it by 10 acres on the east side of the river to provide a new home for the Sequim Natural History Museum. Community members formed a nonprofit organization to manage and expand the park and develop an educational center. Once called the Rainshadow Natural Science Foundation, the organization is now known as the Dungeness River Audubon Center. The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society and National Audubon Society joined the partnership in 1997. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, and the Dungeness River Audubon Center jointly manage the park and the center.
Buying the bridge was the very first step in building the Olympic Discovery Trail through Clallam County.
Since opening in 1992, the park has doubled in size to 22 acres; the trail extends east and west of that first half mile for more than 40 miles now.
Railroad Bridge Park offers the best public access to the lower Dungeness River, and provides access to the Olympic Discovery Trail. Both the park and the trail are heavily used: In 2011 an automated countered recorded over 131,000 crossings of the bridge.
Directions to the Park are available at www.DungenessRiverCenter.org or call 681-4076.