By Greta Mart/KHNS
Construction is expected to start soon on Skagway’s Pullen Creek StreamWalk project. The StreamWalk is a proposed 0.6 mile paved walking trail snaking beside the creek from Broadway dock to the northern end of Skagway’s downtown commercial area.
“The whole thing is about allowing people to enjoy the creek and the natural features around it without trampling those natural features,” said Rachel Ford of the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council.
Ford says she led interested contractors on a tour of the proposed route in mid-July. This week the Council is finalizing the bid process and setting a date for construction to begin.
The ADA-accessible path will feature overlooks and interpretive signage. The signage provides information on the waterway’s flora and fauna, as well as historical and cultural uses of the creek.
The first phase of the project is the section from the Broadway dock to Congress Way. The second phase is planned from Congress Way to Seventh Avenue, although negotiations on that part of the project are still underway.
“That has some land routing issues, some private properties that we’re trying to work out with those property owners if we can put the stream walk on those or not,” said Ford.
Once completed, the trail will serve as a pedestrian shortcut along the Pullen Creek corridor, from the harbor to City Hall or the Skagway Museum.
The project is five years in the making. It’s a joint effort of the municipality of Skagway and the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council. Two years ago, Skagway won a $1.7 million grant from Federal Highways Administration, through its Federal Lands Access Program. That amount, plus a $171,000 grant from the National Park Service, will cover the entire cost of the project.
“It’s really just a new feature to Skagway that will offer tourists and residents alike something new to see and walk on,” Ford explained.
Ford says the first portion of the Pullen Creek StreamWalk will be ready for use by summer 2016.