It was great to see more than 100 people turn out Satuday to remove weeds at Salmon Viewing Park on Chico Way. Check out my story in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun.
Some people came out to do a little volunteer work and get some exercise. Others had a special connection to this undeveloped park property on Chico Creek. And others wanted to get in on the ground floor of an effort to transform this overgrown property into a splendid park.
It is too early to say how this park will look a few years from now, but most everyone wants to keep it natural. Trails, interpretive signs, a couple viewing platforms and some picnic tables are being considered. I discussed the plans briefly in a story on Jan. 27.
Did I mention that this park is one of the best places to view salmon on the Kitsap Peninsula? I list it prominently on my salmon-viewing map and encourage people to visit this spot throughout the salmon-spawning season.
One thing being discussed at Saturday’s outing was the likelihood that a corner of this park would be needed for a new bridge to replace a culvert under Golf Club Road. The culvert, which impedes the migration of adult salmon, serves the only road that goes up to Kitsap Golf and Country Club. The county will save money by building the new bridge before taking out the old culvert.
Planners tried hard to avoid construction of a bridge altogether. One idea was to build a road that connects with Chico Way on the south side of the Chico Way bridge. Such a road would eliminate the need for Golf Club Road and allow the culvert to be removed. But planners could not find a route for a new road that would work for local residents and not do extensive damage to wetlands in the creek’s floodplain.
Losing a portion of the park to build a new bridge sounded like a bad thing until I talked to Steve Heacock of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development. Steve told me that planners are working on a design that would allow a trail to be built from Salmon Viewing Park under the new bridge, providing access to a salmon viewing area on the north side.
Furthermore, the bridge itself could include a viewing platform to watch salmon from above.
To span the creek, designers have proposed an arch design using precast concrete pieces that span the creek with extra room for the stream to alter its channel and overflow into its floodplain, Steve told me. The arch design, called BEBO by the company that holds the trademark, is expected to keep the cost of the new bridge within reason. County officials are seeking grants to complete the design of the bridge and move on to construction.
The artist rendering below is just one idea provided by the engineers who did the preliminary design. The plan could be altered for a more natural look.