16-032 Construction work to temporarily close Chestnut Recreation Area

Published May 24, 2016
CLARKSTON, Wash. – Public access to the Chestnut Recreation Area will be closed May 31 through mid-August to accommodate construction activities, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at the Lower Granite Natural Resource Management Office in Clarkston.

The Chestnut Recreation Area safety and beautification project involves replacing an approximately 3-feet-tall by 240-feet-long dilapidated rock-and-mortar wall which was falling apart and beginning to pose a safety risk to visitors. The new concrete retaining wall will be shorter (about 18 inches tall) and designed to also serve as a seating area, with a grassy lawn gently sloped towards the parking lot.

The closure is necessary to ensure public safety while heavy equipment and vehicles work in the recreation area. A locked gate will be placed at the top of the entrance road, which is located at the east end of Chestnut Street. No unauthorized vehicles will be allowed to enter recreation area.

Visitors will still be able to access the paved trail, which will be re-routed around the work zone with safety fencing. Corps staff urge caution while bicycling and running on the trail through the work zone and to take extra care watching for other trail users. The restroom will remain open to the public during daylight hours, but there will be no shoreline access.

“Safety is our top priority,” stated Lower Granite Natural Resources Park Manager Darren Opp. “We ask the public to stay out of the work site and away from heavy equipment.”

Corps officials noted the recreation area safety and beautification improvement project has been a goal for several years.

“This is a very popular recreation area -- we are fortunate to now have the supplies, manpower and equipment to move forward and make this park even better for our visitors," said Maintenance Supervisor Mark Poirier, whose staff will be performing the work.

Summer may seem a questionable time to do heavy construction work in a high-visitation recreation area, but the timing has multiple benefits, noted Lower Granite Natural Resources Manager Jason Achziger.

“Our staff can work more quickly and safely, and with less damage to the land during the dry-weather months,” he explained. “Also, doing this work when the river is managed at minimum-operating-pool level puts more shoreline between the work site and the river, minimizing potential environmental impacts. Environmental stewardship is a consideration in every work project we plan.”

For more information about this project please call the Lower Granite Natural Resource Management Office at 509-751-0240. Corps of Engineers information about recreation opportunities is available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil.


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 16-032