New waterfront amenities open to busy season
A remarkable transformation has occured between early April and mid-July on the west edge of Nichols Basin with the completion of the first phase of Nichols Basin Trail.
Early warm weather and remarkable wind has put 2015 on track to be the busiest summer on record at Hood River’s waterfront, which means timing for completion of a number of new Port amenities was ideal.
Nichols Basin Trail
Phase One of the Nichols Basin Trail is now complete. The wide concrete path with gentle slopes is open to pedestrians and cyclists. The project also includes a sandy beach, stone masonry seat walls and retaining walls, irrigated landscaping, and a seawall structure with guardrails and water access.
“Thanks to the hard work of the designer, contractor, the public advisory committee, Port staff, and partner funding, we now have this fantastic project and can appreciate what improved trail linkage on the waterfront feels like,” stated Port Waterfront Coordinator Liz Whitmore. “We look forward to working with the City and Naito Development to complete a fluid connection at the final gap where Naito’s project is currently under construction, as well as a paved trail extension at the Hook.”
Landscaping is taking shape along Nichols Basin Trail.
Continuous trail links now stretch from the east edge of the Hook to the south end of the Nichols Basin (west of the Naito property), as well as from the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn to the Pedestrian Bridge. Once a public path is finalized along the south end of Nichols Basin (in about a year), an unbroken pedestrian/bike trail will exist along Hood River’s waterfront.
The Nichols Basin Trail was designed by Walker/Macy and built by Crestline Construction. Crestline’s contract includes one year of landscape maintenance at the project, and Port staff is currently working with them to ensure any non-thriving plants will be replaced.
Phase Two will incorporate upland development that ties the new esplanade to proposed future plans for the Port’s Lot 1 Light-Industrial park.
To offset the loss of parking at Slackwater Beach, the Port modified its parking plan on Portway Avenue and North 1st Street to accommodate 50 additional vehicles. The Port will be assessing parking capacity, vehicular circulation, and typical length of time cars are parked in designated areas this summer to determine future planning needs.
Port Commissioner Rich McBride, Lori Stirn from HRV Parks and Rec, and Greg Stiegel of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association attended the dedication of the new Hook Launch.
Hook Launch and Trail
Waterfront users have also been enjoying the new launch at the Hook. The project resulted in a nine-foot wide concrete ramp, riparian plantings, and beach improvements for recreational use.
“It’s great to see the new ramp at the Hook come to fruition with the cooperation of many,” expressed Greg Stiegel, executive director and Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. “The Hook is especially user-friendly for intermediate windsurfers and hospitable to all user groups.”
The new concrete launch ramp at the west end of the Hook offers easy access for wind and paddle-powered recreation.
A new paved Hook Trail will connect the existing riverfront trail with the new Hook Launch access ramp. It is scheduled for completion in 2016 in collaboration with the City of Hood River as part of its outfall extension project. This trail extension will result in over 2.1 miles of connected paved trails on Hood River’s waterfront sometime next year.
Upgrades to both sides of the Pedestrian Bridge over the Hood River are being enjoyed by hundreds of visitors each day.
Pedestrian Bridge Trail Project
The Pedestrian Bridge Trail project also recently concluded, resulting in an improved connection at Port Marina Park that incorporates a new asphalt path and bicycle “sharrows” along Marina Way connecting to the Button Bridge Road intersection. The design includes stone seat walls and kiosk structures at each end of the Pedestrian Bridge that will feature interpretive signage about the waterfront and Hood River confluence.