Outdoors scene: Lower Daybreak Trail a place for pet owners and nature goers


The Lower Daybreak Trail at the Clark County-owned Daybreak Park offers both paved and gravel options with benches and water access to the East Fork Lewis River.

The paved trail allows people of all abilities to access nature, and the grass on both sides of the trail is mowed a few feet from the path for dogs to use while temperatures heat up the pavement.

The paved portion of the trail features an out-and-back style path that is 1.12 miles round trip. Two gravel trails are available as well. One, a gravel loop trail that goes near Manley Creek is just over three-quarters of a mile long. The second is a river access trail that extends about 100 feet from the main path to give people easier water access, but, during the early summer, runoff extending from the river creates a small obstacle to reach the main flow of the East Fork Lewis River.

All of the trails are pet friendly, but people are encouraged to remain on marked trails to minimize the impact to the ecosystem that is undergoing maintenance to restore it to its natural state. It is important to note that dangerous plants such as poison hemlock can be found throughout the park.

The Manley Creek gravel loop offers a closer look at fish habitat restoration projects in action as groups continue to work to create shade along the creek to cool water temperatures. A sign at the gravel loop trailhead states many tributaries to the East Fork Lewis River experience water quality issues. For example, Manley Creek lacks shade, so during the summer months, the water temperature rises too much to support healthy fish populations and other stream life. The sign notes the lower portion of the park was once covered with a hardwood coniferous forest that provided shade to the creek. The work from the Manley Creek restoration project has resulted in thousands of trees and shrubs planted in the lower portion of Daybreak Park.

Clark County park regulations require pets to be leashed at all times, and people are required to pick up after their pets. Pet feces pollute both Manley Creek and the East Fork Lewis River.

During fishing season, people wanting to fish can easily access the East Fork River from the trail. Anglers must release all steelhead caught in the East Fork Lewis River but can keep hatchery chinook and coho salmon during the proper fishing seasons.

The park is open from 7 a.m. to dusk year-round and is located at 26401 NE Daybreak Road in Battle Ground.