Olympia unveils the updated plan for Kaiser Woods Park 


The Olympia Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) is reviewing the Kaiser Woods Park plan, which would provide more trails for running, biking, hiking and dog walking.

In her presentation at the PRAC meeting yesterday, Parks planner Sarah Giannobile said the department is currently working on the master plan for the park based on the outcome of community surveys, public meetings, and critical area assessments.

Kaiser Woods, which has 70.19 acres, is located in southwest Olympia, in a unique intersection between Tumwater City to the south and Thurston County to the west.

Giannobile said there had been a lot of public involvement and interest in the project. In a 2019 survey, 578 people participated and gave their feedback on the three concept plans presented by the Olympia Parks, Art & Recreation Department (PARD).

A public meeting followed it in May where about 200 people attended and participated in the discussion of ideas.

In January 2022, the department again called for a public meeting and conducted another surveywith Eighty people attending the online meeting, where the department presented the updated concept plan.

About 140 people took the survey, where people expressed their desire for more hiking and running opportunities, access to interior trails, skill-building opportunities, and restroom facilities.

Safety Checks

“The most concern that we heard about the plan was the current access to the park. The Park Drive, which is a winding residential road, was the only access to the park at the time. That’s where we are placing the parking lot. There were concerns about increased traffic and safety,” she said.

Other proposed access and parking would be from the north (Kaiser Road) and off Black Lake Boulevard. 

SJC Alliance evaluated the geologically hazardous areas, marking potential landslide hazard areas on the map.

“The recommendation is to cross over those areas perpendicularly and avoid traversing,” Giannobile said.

She added there is a “no to very low” seismic hazard area.

Giannobile said there was a 150-foot dispersion area and buffer added along the eastern boundary for drainage and erosion control, saying, “This buffer exceeds the requirements [in the] drainage and erosion control manual… [and satisfies] a request from homeowners to have a buffer between the trails and residences.”


As for the design, Giannobile said there will be biking-only trails, hiking-only trails, and shared trails. “Due to feedback for more hiking opportunities, we decided to go with more of a shared trail system.”

“The shared trail system is for climbing only. So when bikes are climbing, that is when it is shared with hikers. All downhill sections [like one in the north] are for bike descent only,” Giannobile explained.

There would be about 3.6 miles of hiking loop around the park – 1.6 miles for hiking only and two miles for the shared trail.

The perimeter loop for biking is about two miles: 2.6 miles for the downhill trail, and the shared-used course and the existing road usage would be about another .6 miles. In total, there would be about 5 miles of biking opportunity.

Costly bathroom

Giannobile said they preferred to put the bathroom near the parking area in the concept plan.

“We are looking at $400,000 to put in a single-stall restroom,” Giannobile informed the advisory committee members, the majority of whom expressed surprise at the cost.

“Kaiser is built on a ton of bedrock, which is great for mountain hiking but hard when you have to dig down for sewer pipe,” she explained.

Giannobile said the department is working on grant applications.


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