KIRKLAND, Wash. -- A portion of a popular hiking trail in Kirkland will likely be closed for months because of extensive damage several trees caused to a bridge.
The trees along the Big Finn Hill - Denny Creek Trail likely came down during the region's recent string of winter storms, county leaders told KOMO News.
Pierre Geurts comes to the trail not far from the shores of Lake Washington just about everyday to find peace and squeeze in a good workout.
Usually his 5-year-old Bernese Mountain dog is close by.
"Just has a good time. This is his only walk in the day typically," Geurts told KOMO News.
They’ve been forced to find a detour the past few days because of several large trees that fell and caused extensive damage to a wooden bridge on the trail. One tree knocked out the railing and landed directly in line with the foot path.
"I’ve seen almost as much damage from wind, but never from snow," said Rome Codispoti, who hikes the trail about 5 days per week. "So, I was pretty surprised actually."
All of the moisture and weight from the snow that fell during the region's recent series of winter storms caused trees to crack or fall to the ground at several parks across the county, county leaders told KOMO News.
Signs and yellow caution tape now warn hikers about the closure on the Big Finn Hill - Denny Creek Trail.
It could take several months to remove the debris and build a replacement bridge because it passes over a fish-bearing stream, county leaders said.
"We want to make sure we’re not going to do any damage or impact any fish that would be in there spawning. So, we’ll have to remove that material and then go through the permitting process," said Christie True, Director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.
The county plans to only block off a limited area on the Big Finn Hill - Denny Creek Trail, True said.
The closure presents an opportunity for hikers like Geurts to explore more than 200 miles of back-country trails in other parts of King County, she added.
The Big Finn Hill - Denny Creek Trail is one that's closest to his home, so he hopes the closure doesn’t last long.
"For us, it’s actually a loop that we do," Geurts said. "So, it’s a bit of a problem because the loop has been curtailed.