Hazelnut Trail. The Hazelnut Trail follows the approximate alignment of the existing informal trail that has developed during the course of restoration efforts. The trail entry is on Mountain View Drive just south of the Alaska Place right-of-way. The trail climbs an initial slope where we recommend six to eight water bars and then takes a loop around the Hazelnut Plateau. This trail will allow users to enjoy the area that has been restored the longest and where native plants are most recovered and abundant. Hazelnut Trail improvements include park, rules and wayfinding signage at the Forest Entry and an informal gathering area and toolshed nearby.
Alaska Place Link. Transforming the existing informal route on the Alaska Place right-of-way to a functional and safe pedestrian passageway as soon as possible is a very high priority. The Master Plan includes three options for making this link. What can actually be built here is subject to discussion and review between the community and SDOT as well as to funding opportunities.
Ridge Trail. The Ridge Trail connects to the neighborhood on Angeline Street just west of 27th Avenue S. The plan proposes removing blackberries along Angeline Street and landscaping the right-of-way to a neat appearance to communicate that this is a park rather than abandoned land, that it is cared for and not a site where dumping is tolerated. The trail must cross about 15 feet of SDOT right-of-way before entering park land, where entry signage and a wayfinding post will be located. The trail generally follows the ridge with a gentle serpentine pattern in order to minimize the steepness of the trail and the need for stairs and water bars. The trail will enjoy the best views in the park, overlooking both the Hazelnut Plateau and the Rainier Valley to the Cascades during seasons when the leaves are off the trees. Toward the end of the ridge, the Ridge Trail joins with the Valley View Trail prior to descending a set of timber steps and then connecting with the Hazelnut Trail.
Valley View Trail. The Valley View Trail connects to the neighborhood at the dead end of 28th Avenue S. The plan calls for a guardrail or other obstruction, such as a set of boulders, to be placed across the end of 28th Avenue S. to prevent trucks from being able to back up to the steep slope and dump their loads. Entry, wayfinding and rules signage are desirable at this location as well. Our preliminary assessment is that rather than trying to remove the deep pile of yard waste, the trail should take a route that avoids the pile. The trail traverses the west side of the park’s steep slope to join the Ridge Trail before it descends the set timber steps and joins the Hazelnut Trail which continues toward the Forest Entry and Alaska Place. The Valley View Trail also enjoys views over the neighborhood and Rainier Valley, especially when the leaves are off the trees. A challenge of the Valley View trailhead on 28th Avenue S. is that the trail must cross the 60 foot wide Angeline Street right-of-way before it enters park land. Similar to the issues with the Alaska Place right-of-way, improvements on SDOT property are subject to further discussion and review between the community and SDOT.
Oregon Grape Trail. The Oregon Grape Trail will provide a secondary loop for enjoyment of the park’s terrain and vegetation. It provides an alternate connection between the Hazelnut Trail and the Ridge Trail.
Columbian Way Link. The Columbian Way link will formalize an existing social trail that scrambles up the bank from the Columbian Way sidewalk to the Hazelnut Plateau. It will require a set of timber steps.
Mountain View Trail. Mountain View Drive to Alaska Place is currently the most popular pedestrian route for traversing the Cheasty Greenspace in this neighborhood. The plan proposes a roadside trail similar to the one on Cheasty Boulevard to make Mountain View a more pedestrian-friendly route. However, this option requires the most engineering, is the most expensive, and likely entails the most administrative obstacles of any of the trail alignments; therefore, it is shown as a lower priority improvement.
Safety. To address the community’s concerns about safety, the design team walked the site with Mark Solomon, Community Police Officer. He advised trail layout and management of trailside vegetation to keep open sightlines, posting park rules and hours at entries, and keeping any gathering area minimal and near an entry for easier surveillance. He also advised the community to consider, if the trails are going to be used as a pedestrian transit connection, whether they should be lit during hours of light rail operation. The plan does not include lighting, however it is a topic for ongoing consideration as usage of the trails becomes established.
Children and Students. The Community expressed a strong desire for the park to serve children and students, however this is understood to mean by providing them access to the woods with safe trails and a gathering area for classes, rather than providing other park amenities such as play equipment.
Maintainability. Maintenance is not a strong expressed priority of the Community, however it is a critical priority of the property owners, Parks and SDOT. Both departments advise building with durable, maintainable materials in general and keeping signage, sculpture, artwork and other improvements to a minimum to cut down on graffiti opportunities.
Welcoming Neighbors of All Cultural Backgrounds. Specific suggestions for making people with different languages and cultures feel comfortable in the park focused on involvement—involving them in park planning and design, in outreach programs to bring them into the park, and in volunteer maintenance projects. All of these ideas require concentrated effort to communicate with the various groups. These ideas are not part of the physical plan for the park but deserve ongoing attention. An additional suggestion is to make gestures of welcome at the park entries through multi-language signage or artwork. These ideas should be incorporated as the design of the park entries is developed or considered as separate projects, but need to be balanced with consideration for ongoing maintenance.