Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pathway to Public Trail Underway

Above: Work has begun on a pathway between the Chehalis Western trail and the end of Ensign Road in Olympia. The pathway is a critical link for seniors and community members living in nearby apartment complexes, especially those who may have accessibility issues.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Many seniors and other community members are thankful that a safe connection from Ensign Road to the Chehalis Western trail is finally underway.

Illumination will probably be installed by the end of December, said Michelle Swanson, senior program specialist with City of Olympia, Public Works.

Residents of The Firs, an independent living facility on Lilly Road, had worked for over two years with management and the city to gain access from the edge of the facility’s property to the trail.

From the edge of the sidewalk, the path dropped into a steep, 65 foot dirt path in the middle of a drainage ditch and rose again to meet the trail. As a result, seniors and other community members, many of whom use walkers, canes, and motorized scooters, were unable to use the trail. 

Finally, a settlement between the city and the facility was reached in March, 2018, allowing the project to move forward.

Bicyclists will also be able to use the pathway. 

The Chehalis Western trail system offers 56 miles of paved, uninterrupted trails, allowing access to regional businesses, homes, work, and recreational activities.

Publicity-shy workers stayed on task Wednesday but took a moment to tell Little Hollywood that many seniors and other passersby are excited to see the pathway take shape. 

The project is expected to be completed in a few weeks.

Little Hollywood broke this story in July, 2017 with “Seniors Denied Safe Access to Trail System,” at

For more information about the history of the pathway, go to “Olympia Approves Pathway to Trail System,” at

Above: As seen from the Chehalis Western trail on Wednesday, the pathway to Ensign Road near The Firs, an independent living facility, is under construction.