WASHINGTON, D.C. - Final paving and other work needed to complete the Discovery Trail between Beards Hollow and Ilwaco will be paid for with a $375,000 federal appropriation, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird's office announced last week.

Baird describes the trail, the brainchild of former Long Beach Mayor Dale Jacobson, as a vital part of our area's transportation infrastructure and says it eventually is meant to connect units of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, including Cape Disappointment, Fort Columbia, Station Camp and Dismal Nitch - a total of 35 miles.

"The Lewis and Clark National Park is an important part of our community; it brings jobs and tourism dollars to our region and helps educate visitors about the important history of Lewis and Clark," Baird said. "The Discovery Trail is critical to realizing the overall vision for the Park and provides residents and visitors a safe route to communities along the Lewis and Clark Trail."

The federal money is included in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2008. According to Baird's office, the trail provides Peninsula visitors and residents with an alternative transportation corridor, since US 101 and SR 100 Loop routes do not have adequate capacity to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.

This funding will permit the completion of the construction of the Discovery Trail, Phase I, between Seaview and Ilwaco. Planning, design, engineering, and right of way activities have been completed.

Baird and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell were prime movers of legislation creating and funding the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Earlier this year, funds were allocated for the Station Camp conservation easement, which completes the park's land acquisition plan.

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