Vance Creek Bridge, WA
I am so excited to be sharing today's Around the World post. Not only because the featured location is remarkable and stunning, but because it's somewhere that I've wanted to go for a VERY long time. Less than a two hour drive from Seattle and a short hike along the Vance Creek Viaduct Trail, lies the Vance Creek Bridge settled in the southeast corner of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. The bridge was constructed in 1929 in order to allow timber companies to have access to the lush forests of Washington. It hangs approximately 347 feet over a portion of the Skokomish River, and extends for 422 feet.
Popular social media sites such as Instagram have made this location viral, and turned it into a popular place for hikers and thrillseekers (even though the bridge is located on private property). What makes this bridge so dangerous, besides it's obvious height, are the spaces between the boards. The railway ties range from four inches apart to as much as one foot. Because of this, most daredevils only make it out around 40 feet before turning back. However, I've heard that if you can make it out to the middle of the bridge, you'll be rewarded with an incredible view of Mt. Rainier.
Unfortunately, for us thrillseekers who have not yet visited the bridge, our time is running out. Going viral has led hundreds of adventurers to this site which has had saddening consequences. Over the last several years, the area has slowly been being destroyed by disrespectful trespassers, drunk locals, vandals, and tourists. Because the property is privately owned, and due to the increase in destruction, local authorities have begun monitoring the area, issuing fines to trespassers, and have even started to remove the bridge's boards. While it's rumored that several of the boards were removed due to damages from a small fire that posed as a safety threat, authorities have not denied that all of the boards on the bridge may soon be gone.
In my opinion, ticketing trespassers will not stop them from experiencing this historical and breathtaking bridge. Similarly, removing the boards is shortsighted and will only make the location more dangerous. Some people don't care about the danger if it means that they get to experience something that few ever get the chance to witness. Meaning, that fully removing the boards will not stop all traffic to the bridge, and will only make a dangerous situation more dangerous. Just think about it, instead of strolling along the wide, sturdy, wooden planks, visitors will instead be scaling narrow steal beams.
Here's to hoping that Green Diamond can save, protect, restore, and reopen the bridge to the public so that adventure seekers such as myself can enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience, without danger or consequence.