Editor’s note: This story was originally published online on Jan. 27, 2020. The original story reported musician Phil Slater was an Australian jazz player, when in fact he’s a local musician who happens to share the same name.
The Enumclaw community is gathering to celebrate one of the national treasures that lies at the city’s doorstep — the Chinook Scenic Byway.
Of course, most people know the highway that stretches from east Enumclaw and over the mountain to Naches as state Route 410, but the road is so much more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B; it’s one of just a few dozen All-American Roads, which are considered the créme de la créme of all the nationally-recognized scenic byways across the U.S.
Part of the problem, though, is that no one knows about the Chinook Scenic Byway, which is compared to California’s Big Sur Coast Highway, Illinois’ Historic National Road, and Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.
The byway’s caretakers hope to fix that this year.
A nonprofit under the name Chinook Scenic Byway has been working to install a sign at the beginning of the 82-mile road, which, when leaving Enumclaw, would welcome drivers to the byway, and for folks traveling west, would welcome them to Enumclaw.
“People are familiar with Chinook Pass, but the whole Byway itself is an entity unto itself,” said Trip Hart, a board member with the nonprofit. “It’s nice for Enumclaw’s gravitas, the whole notion of what’s special about Enumclaw… if this can be known as the beginning of the Byway, it’s just one-more-feather-in-the-hat type thing.”
The nonprofit announced their plans for the sign last year, but fundraising efforts barely left the ground.
Now, the Chinook Scenic Byway has support from the Enumclaw City Council, which has pledged up to $10,000 in matching donations, leaving the nonprofit to continue fundraising for the rest.
That’s where the celebration portion is coming in — on Jan. 30, The Claw will be awash with food, drinks, and musical entertainment from 5 to 8:30 p.m. to help the nonprofit collect that final ten grand.
There is no cost to attend and listen to local musician Phil Slater.
However, dinner (provided by Athena’s at The Claw) and drinks (from Headworks Brewery) must be purchased, and this money does not contribute toward the fundraiser for the Byway.
For more information about the Chinook Scenic Byway, head to http://chinookscenicbyway.com/index.html.