By Arwyn Rice

Pilot staff writer

A new beach access trail at Harris Beach State Park is almost complete.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department replaced the old Harris Beach day-use area path to the beach and installed a new picnic area.

Construction workers poured concrete this week, working from the beach to the parking area.

The old path was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and picnic tables were on uneven ground, making it difficult for mobility-impaired individuals to reach.

Several retaining walls now stabilize the hillside to support the flat, accessible picnic area. The new picnic area is made of red decorative cement and overlooks the southwest view of the beach.

The base of the path is protected from erosion by piles of boulders.

The new paved path has been long awaited by beach lovers who had difficulty with the steep slope and slippery stairs on the old path, Dave Neighbor, Harris Beach State Park manager, said in an October interview.

andquot;I was talking to a woman who had 27 knee surgeries,andquot; Neighbor said. andquot;She was very excited about being able to go down there.andquot;

The new path will also be useful for pushing a stroller or bringing a kayak up the hill.

Construction crews excavated the cliff over the beach in October 2008 and have been working, as weather allows, to complete the project.

All that remains is finishing touches such as safety and access railings, tables, and erosion resistant plantings.

An older path with multi-level picnic tables located south of the construction is open for access, as is a sand path at the northwest end of the parking lot.