Drawing of possible design for Environmental Education Classroom and Welcome Station. Ferns and tall trees in the foreground, with the buildings in a clearing. Drawing includes people for context and scale, walking on the trail and standing near the buildings.

Bridle Trails State Park Land Classification Update for Environmental Education Classroom

Project summary

In 2014, the Bridle Trails Park Foundation began conversations with Washington State Parks about funding the design and construction of an environmental education building in the park. 2022 brought the formal presentation of a dedicated indoor educational program space for members of the community to experience the park regardless of weather or physical abilities, as well as an indoor park office where the Park Ranger can connect with visitors.

The proposed location for the project is a forest clearing to the southeast of the existing arenas. This site allows for a safe ADA-compliant interpretive trail amidst equestrian event grounds and clean sight lines for equestrian trail users. It is also optimally situated for visitors to access park staff within close proximity to the parking lot and the main trailhead kiosk.

The proposed project is two buildings: one classroom (Classroom Building) and one office for the Park Ranger and interpretive staff (Welcome Station). The total current footprint of both buildings combined is 1432 square feet. There will be an outdoor deck area, approximately 488 square feet, between the two buildings to be used for outdoor education. The project includes a permeable ADA interpretive trail to create equitable access for all mobility types to experience the park/forest.

The Classroom Building is 1,070 square feet, approximately 25’ x 50’, with a main room (capacity 35), two gender neutral accessible restrooms, and a storage/mechanical room.

The Welcome Station is 362 square feet, with an office and a storage/utility room. 

This location is currently classified as a Resource Recreation Area, which would not allow development of indoor facilities, so the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will consider updating the park’s land classifications to make the proposed location a Recreation Area. To maintain close to the same balance of Resource Recreation versus Recreation Areas in the park, the Commission will consider reducing the size of the Recreation Area surrounding the arena in the north central portion of the park. If the Commission approves the land classification update, there will be 0.52 acres of additional Recreation Area in the park compared to the current land classifications.

Community participation

Public Comments and Questions

We want to hear from you: the public can provide written comments and questions online.

Project history

The Bridle Trails Park Foundation (Foundation), established in 2002 to advocate for and enhance Bridle Trails State Park, has been offering environmental education opportunities for different ages and interests for over 16 years, including: professionally led botany, ecology, and fungi walks; school field trips; forest summer camp; Girl Scout eco-badge days; citizen science and stewardship projects; and large community events with fun educational components.

In 2014, members of the Foundation and Washington State Parks staff began working together to connect strategies with the shared goal of improving park amenities and services. Collaborating within the framework of stated Commission goals, the building of an Environmental Education Classroom took shape.

In 2018 the Foundation engaged an environmental education consultant to survey teachers, civic educators, scout leaders, and the community at large with the goal of identifying what types of education programs would work best in our forested, equestrian, and pedestrian park. Interest was high, and the results were used to design pilot programming to meet community demand and reinforced the need for an indoor-designated learning space with ADA accessibility.

Architectural firms Hoshide-Wanzer and Jones & Jones were retained, and site evaluation work was initiated. The proposed site and design address the unique safety needs of this urban equestrian and pedestrian park while ensuring minimal impact on the 489-acre forested park. The site also allows for a small Welcome Station, which will provide a friendly environment for visitors to connect with park staff while visiting the park. 

Upon project completion, the Foundation will deed the building to Washington State Parks for its management but will provide funding for maintenance and educational programming.


Contact Us

Name Matt Birklid
Department Bridle Trails Park Ranger
Phone 360-902-8844
Email planning@parks.wa.gov