Tag Archives: Gorst

Dreams of a Gorst-Bremerton trail are still alive

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.

A viewpoint could be developed along the Sinclair Inlet trail.
Graphic by National Park Service

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.

The basic design elements of a proposed Sinclair Inlet trail (click to enlarge)
Graphic by National Park Service

Budget-shifting observed in public works projects

We’re living through a confusing time of budget-shifting and political games — and sometimes I wonder if people can even agree that 2 plus 2 equals 4.

Last week, I wrote in the Kitsap Sun about two Bremerton public works projects — sewers in Gorst and a new Bremerton water-treatment plant. Together, they are using $13.5 million in federal stimulus funds.

It has been said that the $7.5 million in stimulus money for the Gorst sewer project is a lifesaver for that community, because local residents never could have afforded sewers without it. Public officials have been trying for years to finance that project. Every time someone added up the costs, it looked like low-income residents would be hit with sewer assessments in excess of $20,000 each. Now the hookups will cost them nothing.
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A trail from Gorst to Bremerton would offer many benefits

I’m glad to hear that there is room for a 10-foot trail between the shoreline and the railroad tracks for most of the way between Gorst and Bremerton. (Check out my story in today’s Kitsap Sun.)

Anyone driving into Bremerton from the south on Highway 3 knows this route. Look beyond the railroad tracks along the shoreline and think of the possibilities. I’ve always wondered if a trail could be developed there.

Consider the benefits for hikers and bikers, including the folks who would like to bike to work. While I would never ride a bike on Navy Yard Highway as it is today, a separate trail away from the traffic is another story.

I guess in one place — maybe less than a quarter mile — the trail would need to come between the highway and the railroad tracks, but it could be separated with a fence or some kind of barrier.

There is no money for the trail, and engineering designs are still needed, but the group that came together last weekend put together some good ideas for the trail, shoreline restoration, stormwater management and public education. The next step is completion of a concept plan followed by a public meeting.

I don’t know if anybody remembers, but a shoreline trail around the Sinclair Inlet estuary (behind the buildings in Gorst) has already been designed and is ready to be built. (Read the story from Aug. 19, 2004.) State funds were available to build the trail as part of an estuary restoration, but money ran out during the restoration project, so the trail never got built.

Maybe it’s time to dust off these trail plans and get this project going — with volunteers if necessary. I don’t believe there are any permitting obstacles to be overcome. It just needs to be built.

The Gorst trail, including boardwalks through wet areas, could link up with the future trail that will take you all the way into Bremerton.