Trail closing possibility raised

By Meg Olson

The gully at the end of Cedar Point Avenue is continuing to erode, raising the possibility that this portion of the Lily Point trail system won’t be reopening.

Part of a bank abutting the trail connecting Lily Point Marine Park to Cedar Point collapsed in November and another chunk fell away in mid-February, said Whatcom County Parks and Recreation director Michael McFarlane. The trail is officially closed for safety reasons, but bikers and walkers have continued to traverse around the collapse.

The first sluff reached the side of the trail while the latest collapse encroached onto the trail itself. A large tree with a root system weakened from the first landslide fell into the Cedar Point gully and tore away at the bank and part of the trail.

The erosion is due to water draining from the park and being channeled by an old road bed that cuts through the park and used to connect with Cedar Point Drive. At a certain point, it drains through the forest to the gully edge and down to the shore. The bluff is a mix of soil and clay and has been eroding for years.

The trail begins at the end of Cedar Point Avenue and heads south for about 150′ until it reaches the runoff area. A boardwalk extends 20′ before making a jog to the left for another 20′ or so. Just past the end of the boardwalk is the area of the erosion. One solution would be to extend the boardwalk farther south before heading east to rejoin the current trail.

Long-term, the county parks department will need to address the water issue to prevent further erosion. A number of properties along the bluff have addressed erosion problems by installing downpipes to collect and channel water down to the lowlands. In addition, some  large trees  precariously lean over the bluff; their collapse would jeopardize not only the trail but also adjoining properties.

“We’re letting it kind of stabilize,” McFarlane said. “The game plan is to wait until the end of the rainy season and play it by ear.” If rains bring about further erosion it will influence what is possible in terms of reconnecting the trail, from rerouting it to spanning the gully. “We don’t have a lot of property there,” McFarlane said. “We may end it altogether.”

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