A new sign is looking to be built on the eastern end of Enumclaw, welcoming people to the Chinook Scenic Byway — but first, the nonprofit in charge of the project needs to raise some money.
Many on the Plateau are familiar with the Chinook Scenic Byway, though they probably better recognize it by the more common, if less flowery, designation as state Route 410.
The federal government designates the start of the byway at Mud Mountain Dam, but Washington state extends it to begin at 284th/Farman Street North, and ends when it meets up with Highway 12, just west of Naches, Washington. It’s a federally designated All-American Road, which is considered “the cream of the crop” of all scenic byways in the country, said Trip Hart, the current outgoing president of the nonprofit organization (also called the Chinook Scenic Byway, or CSB) that works to publicize the byway and its natural and recreational attractions.
The 82-mile byway was the ninth to be named an All-American Road — currently, there are only about 42 All-American roads in the country, according go the Federal Highway Administration, including California’ Big Sur Coast Highway, Illinois’ Historic National Road, and Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.
“Beauty and recreation are there for the taking,” Hart said. “You get people out there in the different spots where you can see something beautiful, is really the goal.”
CSB has been working for several years to get this gateway sign up at the edge of the city, and the Enumclaw City Council finally gave permission for a sign to be placed across the street from The Claw and the Field House, on the left side of the road heading out of the city, during its Nov. 21 council meeting.
“This new gateway sign, once completed, will provide the Chinook Scenic Byway an incredible, majestic sign which not only announces the start of the byway but will complement our community’s character,” Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro said in an email statement.
With permission secured, CSB is starting its permitting and fundraising processes.
In an early December announcement of the council’s decision, CSB board member Cheryl Marshall wrote the they expect the cost of the sign to be around $20,000.
“We’re confident that we can pull together to get this built in 2019,” she wrote in the announcement.
The new sign is expected to look very similar to the one built on SR 410 as people enter Enumclaw from Buckley, made mostly of stone and wood, and aims to have a natural, countryside feel.
“Gateway signs provide some wayfinding benefit, but their primary purposes are to celebrate the entry into a special place and calibrate the expectations of byway travelers,” the group’s updated 2018 Corridor Management Plan reads. “New gateways should be constructed of traditional materials — primary a combinations of wood and stone — and be compatible with the excellent examples of rustic design already in the corridor.”
Hart said promoting the beauty and identity of the Chinook Scenic Byway could be a big tourism draw for Enumclaw, as people who want to drive the three-hour long road either have to start or end in the city. But part of the challenge is getting both tourists and locals to use its official name, rather than simply referring to SR 410 or Chinook Pass, hence the sign project.
The gateway sign will feature both the name of the byway as well as the CSB logo, and while this isn’t in the official plan yet, the opposite side of the sign (as you dive into west into Enumclaw) may feature a “Welcome to Enumclaw” sign with the new city logo the City Council is currently working on, Hart said.
Fundraising for this project is expected to be mostly through in-kind donations, he continued. Donations can be made by going to the group’s website, www.chinookbyway.com, and clicking the PayPal link toward the bottom of the home page.
Check payments can also be make to the Chamber of Commerce as well.
LOOKING FOR BOARD MEMBERS
With Hart stepping down as president, as well as secretary Danielle Surkatty, a number of changes are being made to the CSB leadership.
Former Enumclaw city councilman Steven Cadematori has been nominated as president, Marshall as vice president, and the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Troy Couch as treasurer, and their positions are likely to be made official come the March 13, 2019 meeting. The official meeting place has yet to be determined.
However, CSB is still looking for someone to take up the mantle of secretary. Anyone looking to serve of the board of directors, or find another way to help the nonprofit, can email Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLARIFICATION AND CORRECTION:
In the print version of this article, published Jan. 2, 2019, it was stated the federal government considers the Chinook Scenic Byway to officially start/end at Mud Mountain Dam. Washington state has a different start/end point at 284th Avenue Southeast/Farman Street North, which was made possible by efforts of former Enumclaw Mayor Liz Reynolds, former Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, then-Sen. Pam Roach, and the nonprofit Chinook Scenic Byway. The state-designated terminus is right where the new sign welcoming drivers to the byway will be placed.
Additionally, the article incorrectly stated the other ending point of the byway was east of Naches, Washington. It’s actually west of the city, where SR 410 meets highway 12.