Dreams of a Gorst-Bremerton trail are still aliveJune 19th, 2012 by cdunagan
The final version of a concept plan to build a walking and bicycle trail along the shoreline from Gorst to Bremerton has been completed. The plan was distributed today.
Almost all Kitsap County residents and most visitors are familiar with this route, because it is practically the only way to get to Bremerton and points north without taking a ferry or private vessel.
More than 60 comments were received on the draft report. Suggestions were taken into consideration and included in the final version, but the basic concepts remain as proposed over a three-year period. Check out the report, called “Sinclair Inlet Development Concept Plan” (PDF 9.1 mb).
This is from a story I wrote for the Kitsap Sun on Nov. 1:
“Initial ideas in the trails plan — which also includes ideas to restore shorelines and control stormwater — rely on narrow corridors along both sides of the existing railroad tracks. At the two ends of the trail, where there is almost no land along the water, the walking path would cross the tracks and merge with the bike path.”
Bryan Bowden of the National Park Service, who helped organize the effort and bring together various design elements, said the idea to separate the bike path from the walking path came out of a series of planning meetings involving many community members.
While the separation would make for the trip more enjoyable for users, it may be more feasible to put the paths together on the highway side of the tracks, Bowden told me. Still, he chose to leave the plan as it came out of the committee.
The next step will be to seek grants from the state and federal governments. Federal transportation grants include special set-asides for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Other grant programs focus on trail development. Numerous state and federal grants could support the environmental-restoration aspects of the plan — especially for salmon streams such as Gorst Creek. See page 54 of the plan for a description of funding sources.
If the project can be accomplished, it would open a major route for cyclists that few people now have the courage to travel.