Silver Lake Park is one of Whatcom County’s oldest parks, acquired in 1966. Prior to public ownership, the property was used as a private fishing resort. Over the years there have been numerous improvements including road surfacing and minor infrastructure upgrades.
In 2014, the Department conducted an assessment of conditions at Silver Lake Park. This laid the ground work for capital improvement plans that include renovation of Maple Creek Campground.
Maple Creek Campground is one of four campgrounds in the park and encompasses 17 acres of the park’s 412 acres. Existing campground roads are in poor condition and their narrow widths inhibit access by emergency vehicles. Road surfacing is a combination of chip seal, gravel, and native mineral soils. The result is tripping hazards, potholes, and uneven travel surfaces that require constant maintenance. Existing utilities are beyond their serviceable life. Water pipes are susceptible to freeze damage and frequent leaks. Electrical utilities suffer frequent failures, are obsolete, and in need of replacement. Pedestrian accessibility is poor throughout the campground.
Construction is set to begin March 2019 with completion anticipated by late summer 2019
Work is limited to Maple Creek Campground and should minimize disturbance to park visitors as well as other areas of the park.
Significant efforts were made to limit impacts. This included design revisions to minimize disturbance to existing vegetation, relocation of existing campsites away from critical areas, and planting native riparian vegetation along a seasonal creek to protect the resource.
In order to facilitate the improvements and public safety, a number of trees need to be removed. These trees are identified in the project plans and have been field verified. In addition, the Parks Operations Manager and Senior Design & Development Supervisor personally evaluated and marked each tree to be removed. An assessment was made as to whether it was best to remove specific trees or realign travel routes and modify the plan. Tree removal decisions were based on the following:
Public Safety: An assessment of hazard trees in the campground was made and those trees identified were marked for removal. These included those that were at the end of their life span exhibiting decline, damage, disease, showing potential failure, or located within the target zone for existing structures, improvements and gathering areas.
Road Width & Design: Construction and clearance limits were identified in the plan by the project engineer. Trees in these areas are marked for removal to accommodate road widths, grade changes, turning radii, utility runs and emergency vehicles.
Campsites: Individual sites were evaluated for accessibility, use, vehicle access, utilities and siting of fire pits, tables and travel routes. Trees are marked as needed to facilitate these improvements.
Trees within the footprint of the future shower/restroom buildings and septic fields (proposed for 2021) are marked and will be removed in this phase. The reconstructed roadways will also include new stormwater management facilities to improving water quality of Silver Lake.
Overall, this project is designed to provide a safe, accessible, and enjoyable recreation experience while providing functional and reliable campground infrastructure; and minimizing the environmental effects of the project.
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