Three dozen trees to be cut down for next leg of STO trail

The city of Bainbridge Island is wrapping up its environmental review of the newest link of the Sound to Olympics Trail.

One part of the project appears clear, however: At least three dozen trees will be cut down to make way for the trail.

The city is currently processing a grade-and-fill permit for the project, called the Visconsi segment of the STO trail.

The trail, paid for as part of the mitigation for the Visconsi commercial shopping center on High School Road called Wintergreen Walk, will be built on the opposite side of Highway 305.

The segment is a 560-foot-long piece of the STO trail; 400 feet of a 10-foot-wide asphalt path, and 160 feet of a 6-foot-wide gravel path. The trail segment will be built with the Highway 305 right of way owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, and will start at the northwest corner of the Highway 305-High School Road intersection, then run north for 400 feet before turning west for another 100 feet. The trail segment is expected to be a link to the nearby Sakai Park property.

The city expects to begin construction later this year, according to an environmental checklist completed for the project.

The checklist notes that 22,000 cubic yards of grading will occur on the property, with 6,500 cubic yards of material brought onto the site for construction of the trail.

More than three dozen trees, at least, in the highway right of way will be removed so the trail can built.

The checklist does not say exactly how many trees will be cut down, but notes that “trail alignment was selected to avoid the greatest number of the largest trees.”

A total of 37 trees that are greater than 8 inches in diameter [at chest height) will be removed, according to the city.

The city also said that native vegetation “will be installed in all areas disturbed by construction.”

The property where the new trail will be built was previously used by a homeless camp until the residents were moved by authorities earlier this year.

The city is expected to issue a “determination of non-significance” on the project, which means an environmental impact statement will not be needed to be done to examine potential impacts of the trail project.

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