Trails of the ‘Couv’ Revisited

Vancouver is still a great place for urban trails and with the new waterfront up and running the trail selection has expanded. It is the intention of the Port of Vancouver to connect the current waterfront trail that starts at Columbia Shores and runs to the Warehouse 23 restaurant all the way through the new Terminal 1 development to the new Waterfront Park that opened last fall. Meanwhile the Trails of the ‘Couv’ continue to deliver and especially out in the area north of the Port, Vancouver Lake and along Highway 501, the trails and parks out there have been improved in recent years. Below is an article I posted 6 years ago right here that still rings true.

Originally posted on July 26th, 2013, by Rod Sager

Two weeks ago I wrote about a trip to Pittock Mansion in Portland. I boldly went where few fear not to tread and passed the SR-14 interchange into that strange world of Portlandia. During that trip my wife really enjoyed walking the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park.

That got me thinking about trails for hiking and biking locally in and around America’s Vancouver. Forest Park in Portland is a tough act to follow. It is a forest preserve that feels like a state park located in the middle of a large city. The forested areas are thick and lush. But worry not my fair residents of the original Vancouver, we have a few excellent hiking and biking trails as well. I find Traillink to be a great site for finding trails.

This is the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail mapped on Traillink.
Photo from TrailLink, Burnt Bridge Trail

The Burnt Bridge Trail was the first to pop into my head when I began thinking about this subject.  This trail runs from central Vancouver near I-205 on Burton Road at the Meadow Brook Marsh Park. The trail meanders through the city to the west where it ends up at Vancouver Lake 7.7 miles away. This is a true urban trail, it is mostly asphalt or concrete and moves from neighborhoods into city and county parks. The trail wanders over hills and down into forested valleys as it follows the Burnt Bridge Creek to its mouth at Vancouver Lake.

Kyle and Betsy run near Lake Vancouver. © 2010, Rod Sager

I also have enjoyed taking my Lab out to Lake Vancouver for a run.  There is a great open area with marshes that Labs just love to splash around in. This area is quite literally right next door to Downtown Vancouver. The trails are a mix of paved and dirt and are suitable for hiking and biking. This is a great natural resource right in close to the city.

No talk of trails and hiking in and around Vancouver, USA is complete without mentioning the Shillapoo, Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake, National Wildlife Refuge Areas that are in Vancouver, Ridgefield and Washougal respectively. These areas offer hiking and wildlife observation. Shillapoo NWR is just west of Vancouver Lake and less than three miles from Downtown. Ridgefield NWR is a little further up HWY 501 from Shillapoo and is also accessible from Ridgefield, WA. Steigerwald Lake NWR is along the Columbia River in Washougal, WA about 20 miles east of the ‘Couv’ on SR-14.

This just scratches the surface of hiking and biking in Vancouver. There is the Salmon Creek Greenway which is an urban preserve right off I-5. You can head east into the Cascade Foothills and utilize both State and Federal forest lands that cover more than a million acres all with access as close as 20 miles from Downtown and less than 7 from neighborhoods on the east side. Get out there and explore the wonderful trails of the ‘Couv’.

Do you have a favorite Hiking or Biking spot in Clark County? Drop a comment.


The Summer Preview is Over

waterfront earlier this year

How about that weather last week? That was definitely an excellent ‘movie trailer’ for the Vancouver summer. But like all previews it was a mere tease to tide us over till the full length feature arrives in town sometime around the 4th of July. This week is scheduled for a more springlike spring weather. Some clouds, some showers, and some cooler temps too.

But that’s all fine we need the rain, right?  Soggy or sunny we are in the thick of a beautiful spring and all of the wonderful events are scheduled and running like the Farmer’s Market at 8th and Esther every weekend. This summer season will be a great test of the new waterfront’s draw. Despite doubling the restaurant count from last fall’s grand opening, they still seem to pack them in especially on weekends and nice days.

Downtown has some changes to the plans especially Block Ten. I wrote about the new Block Ten proposal on Urban Living in the ‘Couv’, check link here.  The proposal by waterfront developer, Gramor for a mixed use tower with a grocer on the ground floor has been replaced with a new world headquarters office tower for Holland Partner Group. Holland develops and runs urban residential projects all over the west including our very own Vancouver Center apartments that overlook Esther Short Park. Holland currently works from the 7th floor of Main Place. The good news is that the long empty lot will get built quickly as Holland is ready to go. Holland is also building the 4th tower at Vancouver Center starting this year as well.

These are exciting times for America’s Vancouver. The city has emerged from under the shadow of the larger city of Portland. Our own skyline is being transformed and our waterfront is already one of the hottest destinations in the region. They are only getting started as phase one is not even complete yet. Terminal one for the Port of Vancouver will soon see a flurry of activity beginning with the ground prep for the AC Marriott hotel which is the first project planned for that massive renewal development.

On the east end of the city, initial infrastructure is in for the massive Columbia Palisades mixed use urban center at 192nd and SR-14.  Things are moving in the right direction and investment cash is flowing into Vancouver. This is turning our local economy into a job machine, and jobs are good!

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good.

I hear a Symphony

From VSO website

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is about to wrap up its 40th season. A recent article in the Columbian has reported that local Murdock Charitable Trust recently presented the symphony with a large grant of more than $200,000 to help develop better philanthropic support.

Before the great recession the city had some grand plans for block ten that included a performing arts center. Remember that? It was a good idea really. Well I think it is still a good idea, but perhaps over at the former Carr Dealership lot near the wonderful Fort Vancouver Library.

Former proposal for Block Ten

A performing arts theater would be great for the local stage companies as well as the VSO. Perhaps the grant to VSO will help them become a better funded non-profit and bring more demand and awareness for classical music. I think the auditorium they build should have at least 2000 seats.

The economy is booming and now is the time to muster support for a performing arts facility in the Downtown area. Vancouver’s Downtown and the new expansion at the waterfront are bringing thousands of people into the area. It is during these economic expansions that the philanthropic cash starts to flow. It is also during these times that business money flows and Vancouver USA needs to clamp down on as much as it can while the getting is good.

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good.