Storm Damage to State Park Near Centralia Pegged at $6.5 Million

January 16, 2008

Storm damage to a scenic state park about 10 miles west of Centralia and Chehalis, Wash. reached $6.5 million, much worse than previously estimated, legislators have been told.

On Wednesday, during a tour of damage from the fierce winds and drenching rain in early December, lawmakers were told that damage to Rainbow Falls State Park amounted to $6.5 million, including $1.8 million to repair a vehicle bridge and adjacent footbridge.

Less than two weeks ago, State Parks and Recreation officials estimated total storm damages to 40 parks at $5 million. Rainbow Falls is in the upper Chehalis River Valley, where some of the worst damage to homes, farms and businesses occurred.

Other damage at Rainbow Falls included heavy siltation from flooding in restrooms and the park manager’s home. Inmates from the Cedar Creek Corrections Center were working to remove some of the mud during the tour.

J. Paul Malmberg, southwest regional parks manager, said it would take at least a year to obtain permits and rebuild the bridges. Meanwhile, park visitors must head west on State Route 6 past the usual turnoff to Stevens Road in Doty to reach the park’s rear entrance.

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