[Tweeters] Loss of access to Post Office Lake (Ridgefield NWR)

John Bishop bishopjg at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 27 21:39:30 PDT 2016

I tried to go birding at Post Office Lake today. Post Office Lake is at the end of the Lower River Road and is at the south end of the Ridgefield NWR. In the winter there are sometimes thousands of ducks, coots, and swans on the lake and thousands more geese and sandhill cranes in the surrounding fields. Some interesting birds have been seen here, in the last few months these include white faced ibis, snowy egret, common redpoll.

The road is gated at mile 10, but until now you could walk or bike down the road about 1.3 miles to the refuge, then along the partially eroded road for good scope views to the lake. The road has collapsed into the Columbia River, hence its closure.

Today I found a large number of concrete barricades with “Road Closed” signs at Mile 11, a few yards past the single house on the road. I skirted around them, thinking that the road was just closed to vehicles, not pedestrians. As I was scoping a flock of geese, the resident of the house came over and told me I was trespassing and that the road was closed to all use.

Apparently the state DOT recently transferred ownership of the road to Clark County, as described in this article from January in The Columbian.
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.columbian.com_news_2016_jan_29_wsdot-2Dgive-2Dfar-2Dstretch-2Dlower-2Driver-2Droad-2Dclark-2Dcounty_&d=CwIGaQ&c=C3yme8gMkxg_ihJNXS06ZyWk4EJm8LdrrvxQb-Je7sw&r=6nchVXC_5a7U784lKKQUiA&m=VQFD3TCBN2BS5z_Nq4V342-zFiWXUZKGMD-OWj6KkiI&s=3ysbdC0XcT63s2tU9aLjL3k6NXZTmDS7oF0_qhBe5us&e= <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.columbian.com_news_2016_jan_29_wsdot-2Dgive-2Dfar-2Dstretch-2Dlower-2Driver-2Droad-2Dclark-2Dcounty_&d=CwIGaQ&c=C3yme8gMkxg_ihJNXS06ZyWk4EJm8LdrrvxQb-Je7sw&r=6nchVXC_5a7U784lKKQUiA&m=VQFD3TCBN2BS5z_Nq4V342-zFiWXUZKGMD-OWj6KkiI&s=3ysbdC0XcT63s2tU9aLjL3k6NXZTmDS7oF0_qhBe5us&e=>

The county is talking about eventually transferring ownership of the road to the adjacent landowners, possibly keeping an easement.

It would be a shame if this route became private and we lost pedestrian access to view Post Office Lake. I’m interested in hearing what others on the list think of this situation - some of you are much more familiar with the history of this area than I am. Also, does “Road Closed” really mean to all use and is it trespassing to go on it? I would think the county would make that a little clearer.

John Bishop
Vancouver, WA
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