The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad runs for 33 miles through Clark County, Washington from Vancouver to near Mount St Helens. The freight line originally served the remote towns and saw mills on the Lewis River, traversing urban neighborhoods, scenic farmland and rugged river canyons. The line is now owned by Clark County and operated by short line freight and scenic railroad operations. Freight traffic is projected to increase steadily as the region grows and new shippers are attracted to industrial sites in this expanding urban area. The Chelatchie right-of-way was acquired by the county in 1996 with the intention of continuing freight service as well as providing a corridor for non-motorized multi-use trails.
Building on our Federal Rail Authority study on trails in active rail corridors, and on the ground experience, Alta Planning + Design was selected to prepare the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad with Trail Feasibility Study examining the suitability of all segments of the corridor for rail with trail development. The study provides design guidelines, identifies acquisition recommendations, physical improvements and projected construction costs. Other services included facilitation of public engagement process, identifying permitting requirements and recommendations for phasing.