Building a bridge across the Bumping River

Deep in the William O. Douglas Wilderness in Washington, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Bumping River near Goodwin Meadows. The bridge there washed out years ago, and hikers were using a log to cross the rapid water, while stock riders had to navigate the river.

Our partners, the Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Lewis County Chapter, approached the U.S. Forest Service about replacing the bridge, no small feat in wilderness. The 45-foot-long span was completed last year.

It took seven BCHW packers 25 loads to haul all the tools, food, rigging and building materials to the work site. The job took a month and another 27 loads to haul in the bridge decking materials. And 20 more loads were needed to get the tools back to the trailhead.

PCTA worked with Earth Corps to supply labor. Washington Trails Association and Cascadia also chipped in. This was a true partnership, which was necessary, in part, because of the logistical challenge of replacing such a large structure in a wilderness area. But it’s the kind of work we do every year to keep the PCT open for hikers and horseback riders to enjoy.

For a complete story on this project, see Larry Davis’ piece in the spring issue of the PCT Communicator. Don’t get the magazine? Join PCTA today!


Setting up at the trailhead.


Hauling some of the many loads of gear, food, tools and materials required for the bridge.

Cutting out the old stringers was an early task.

Cutting out the old stringers was an early task.

Here's the crew sourcing and preparing a new stringer. It's a lot of work to say the least!

Here’s the crew sourcing and preparing a new stringer. It’s a lot of work to say the least!


The new bridge!

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Advocacy Director. He is the former editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and co-author of "The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail" published in 2016. Larabee is a journalist, part of a team who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for The Oregonian newspaper. He hiked the PCT across Oregon for a 2005 series for the paper and has been with PCTA since 2010. He lives in Portland.