• Residents fed up with sex, drugs, drinking at Centralia trailhead

    By: Shelby Miller


    CENTRALIA, Wash. - Residents living near Discovery Nature Walking Trail in Centralia said they’re fed up with drugs, drinking and loitering happening at the trailhead.

    “I've been almost in fistfights over this trail. I've picked up beer cans off my pasture,” said Terry Hetzel. “It fires you up pretty quick when you worked as hard as we have on this place and have to put up with it."

    Hetzel has lived on Goodrich Road in Centralia for 13 years. His home sits right next to the Discovery Nature trailhead. 

    He said he's seen just about everything.  

    “We've had people out here having sex, we've had people out here doing drugs, drinking,” he said.

    Lewis County Sheriff Robert Snaza said deputies have taken 30 reports at the trailhead this year.

    “You have people who have lived there for generations, people who have nice homes, people who love that area and now feel part of it being invaded,” he said.

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    It got to the point where Centralia began filming the parking lot. Earlier this week, cameras captured officers responding to a suspicious car lingering after dark.

    “It’s frustrating, because we work hard to get the money to build these types of facilities and the majority of the public takes care of them and utilizes them the way they should be, but it's a few select people that choose not to follow the rules and create problems,” said Lewis County Public Works Director Josh Metcalf. 

    KIRO 7 was there Thursday as the Lewis County Public Works Department stopped by. Metcalf agrees changes need to happen; workers just aren't sure what to do. 

    The trail is operated by the city of Centralia, but the trailhead parking lot is on Lewis County land. The two agencies are working hand in hand to try to come up with a solution for the property. 

    Centralia Public Works Director Kim Ashmore said the city wants to add additional cement blocks and a gate to the parking lot to keep people out of the area at night. City workers would keep the area open from 7 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. He said the fix would be a temporary solution. 

    "Long-term fix, can we move this parking down closer to the trail or in another location so people don't have to drive on Goodrich Road?” said Ashmore. 

    Hetzel and his neighbors have had enough. 

    “My personal opinion, it'd tickle me to death if they'd just close it,” he said.

    The city said cement blocks and a gate could be added to the trailhead as soon as next week. They’re also trying to add a working light to provide additional security. 

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