If you’ve been to Index lately, maybe you’ve noticed some staking and flagging around the start of the Lower Town Wall access trail. We’re getting ready to put in a toilet!
The toilet will be just to the left of the access trail, as close to the railroad tracks as we can get while still on our property. We’ll be widening the first part of the trail (within the railroad right-of-way) into a short gravel road, which we need to install and service the toilet. We intend to clear as little vegetation as necessary. Check out the attached plan for details.
This has been a remarkably complicated project. We had to petition Snohomish County for a variance from building setback requirements. We had to hire a consultant to map wetlands on the property and develop a mitigation plan in order to put the toilet at the edge of a wetland buffer. We’ve had to bring in a surveyor and hire a civil engineer. Finally, we’ve had to work out some sticky access issues with the railroad.
Right now, we’re still not sure whether we’ll do the clearing work this spring before installing the toilet, or whether we’ll wait till later in the year when we can do everything at once.
We have one other project planned this year. We hired a professional arborist to assess the trees at the base of the Lower Town Wall, especially around the Great Northern Slab, the Sonic Reducer/Terminal Preppie ledge, and Rogers Corner. The arborist determined we have nine “hazard trees,” which we identified for removal in a Critical Areas Report to the County. To improve future safety at the Lower Town Wall, we want to remove these trees now, before we turn our property over to Washington State Parks. Taking down these trees will also help open up the cliff to more sun. Some of our board members have been climbing at Index since the 70s and have watched things get wetter and dirtier over the years as trees have grown up. To see for yourself, check out these pics: one from a 70s guide that shows baby firs tree on the Sonic Reducer ledge, and two from the late 80s that show what the LTW base looked like back then.