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Pearrygin Trail

A new trail is slated to take shape this fall above the east side of Pearrygin Lake. Guaranteed to become popular with both locals and tourists for its easy grade and spectacular vistas, the three-to-four mile long dirt path could be open for foot and bicycle travel before snow flies if enough volunteers pitch in the weekend of Oct. 7-9. Trail-builders are calling for all the volunteer help they can get.

Preliminary work to get the trail marked and mowed and straw wattles installed to control soil erosion and two bridges placed over drainages started the week of Sept. 12. Work party volunteers will be clearing brush, raking and cleaning up the path, according to Rick Lewis, managing ranger at Pearrygin Lake State Park.

The dream is to eventually have a trail of approximately 10 miles around the entire lake. However, phase one is to complete a loop on the east side of the lake above the original state park campground. Starting near the boat launch, the gently upward path leads across the hills and veers south near the check-in kiosk, then climbs to a knob overlooking the lake and mountain ridges beyond before continuing south to the old homestead farm at the south end of the lake. It then loops back to the campground via the existing road to the group camp.

Lewis said the new trail will be mostly five percent or less grade so anyone who can walk without aid should be able to enjoy it.

"There will be plenty of work for whoever shows up," Lewis said, adding that an advance call to 996-2370 would be helpful so his staff can plan for the size of the work party. He asked that callers simply leave a message if nobody answers. Those participating should bring work gloves and tools such as rakes, shovels, pruners, wheelbarrows, "Pulaskis if they have them." Parking will be in the day-use lot.

Discover Pass requirements will be waived for volunteers working on the trail project. Four hours of work can be traded for a one-night free campsite, or worked hours can be applied toward earning a $30 Discover Pass.

The new trail will officially be called the Rex Derr Trail, a decision made by the state Parks and Recreation Commission last fall to honor retiring agency director Rex Derr, who held that position for nearly 10 years of his more than 30 years with the state park system.

Lewis said Derr and his wife, Anne, are regular visitors to the Methow Valley and occasional campers at the state park. Derr is expected to be at the October work party.

David Jaquish, state parks assistant region manager for maintenance and preservation, said he expects there eventually will be money to gravel the new trail, but only the approaches to the bridges will be graveled this year.

He also echoed Lewis by saying State Parks would love to do a second phase and take the trail around the entire lake. Jaquish explained that there is one piece of private property on the other side of the lake in the proposed trail's path. That owner would like to sell that property to the state but there is no money in the budget to buy it, he added.

Jaquish was on site recently for the preliminary trail work making sure construction specifications and permit requirements were being met. Barry Benbow, state parks construction and maintenance project supervisor, also was working in the valley. The local Pearrygin Lake State Park crew included ranger Lewis plus Tim Evans, construction and maintenance project specialist, and park aide Barney Smith.


Pearrygin Lake proposed trailThe map shows the first phase of planned trail-building on the north.
and east sides of the lake. A segment of the second phase shows in south and west.

Tim Evans, construction and maintenance project specialist at Pearrygin Lake State Park, stands next to a trailer holding straw wattles and netting used for erosion control.

David Jaquish, the state park systems assistant region manager for maintenance and preservation, follows trail markers leading toward the knob where an overlook, and no doubt a bench, is planned.   A piece of the new trail looking south over the old Graves family farm. A ramshackle barn and a couple of sheds are the only remaining structures.