SW Thurston County Trail Feasibility Study


About the Project

The 2007 Thurston Regional Trails Plan proposed a trail corridor between U.S. Highway 12 and the Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad between Grand Mound and Rochester. With the help of Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC), Thurston County is launching a study to explore the feasibility of establishing a shared-use trail to connect Grand Mound, Rochester, and the Chehalis Reservation.  The study will evaluate:

  • Possible trail routes, including identifying a preferred route 
  • Logical places for trailheads – places for people to park and get on the trail
  • Cost to construct possible trail routes, signage, benches, and trailheads as well as the cost to maintain the trail
  • What residents in Grand Mound, Rochester, and the Chehalis Reservation value most for a future trail

For more information on how we'll gather your input, review the Public Participation Plan.

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Next Steps

We’re at the start of this planning process. A public participation process will begin in the Fall 2021. Stay tuned for more information as we continue moving forward with this project.


  • Current Conditions Report. A current conditions report will summarize previous trail planning efforts in the area, existing traffic patterns and safety issues, and public input. 
  • Route Needs Assessment.The needs assessment will identify important destinations to connect to a future trail and the features a trail should have. The needs assessment will also set the objectives and plan for how various routes will be ranked and evaluated.
  • Scenario Evaluation.  The scenario evaluation will assess various routes based on criteria developed with stakeholder input and develop preliminary cost estimates for construction and maintenance.
  • Implementation Strategy. The implementation strategy will identify preferred routes, a funding strategy, and develop a phasing plan.
  • Final Report. The final report will summarize the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of this project?

There are very few public open spaces in Southwest Thurston County. This project is the first step to explore and develop a plan for connecting communities with a non-motorized pathway, like the Chehalis Western Trail. The new trail would offer both outdoor recreation and transportation options that could serve people of all ages and abilities. Such a trail would be open to activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling, equestrian uses, skating, dog walking, wildlife viewing, and others. 

How is this project funded?

The total budget for this planning effort is $173,410 – and it covers studying the feasibility of building and maintaining a new trail corridor, and strategies for future implementation. At this time, no funding is available for acquiring properties, conducting necessary environmental studies, design and engineering, or construction.  

This project is funded by a $150,000 federal Surface Transportation Block Grant and $23,410 matching funds from Thurston County.

So you’re going to build a trail, right?

Hopefully someday!  But right now, this is just a study to understand what it would take – is there community support for a trail? Where does it make the most sense (based on cost and community priorities) to build a trail?  What are possible funding sources to pay for a trail?  All these are questions Thurston County needs answers to before committing to building a trail.

When will you build the trail?

Not any time soon – and possibly not at all.  That’s why we’re studying the feasibility of establishing a new trail.  To put things in perspective, the Gate-Belmore Trail has been in the works since 1996 when the railroad line was acquired by Thurston County.  It’s still not developed for public use 25 years later.  Keep in mind that a lot goes into trail planning – identifying a good route, acquiring a right-of-way for the route, designing and engineering the trail, and then constructing the trail.  With minimal funding sources and limited resources, it can take quite a while to get from start to finish.

Contact Us

  1. Katrina Van Every, Senior Planner

    Paul Brewster, Senior Planner

    Thurston Regional Planning Council
    2411 Chandler Court SW
    Olympia, WA 98502