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Squirrel Fest

Members of the Sandbaggers and Squirrel Fest mascot Sandy B. McNutt unveil Longview's fourth squirrel bridge during opening ceremonies of the 2013 Squirrel Fest.

If Longview’s squirrel-loving Sandbaggers have their way, the city’s canopied skyline will be absolutely inundated with bridges, albeit ones too small for humans to walk or drive on. 

The latest span in Longview’s growing squirrel infrastructure will rise into the leafy realm of the bushy tails at 8 a.m. June 21, Sandbagger and Chairman of the Bridge Committee Don Cianci said.

“This is bridge No. 4, done by the same company that’s doing the Washington Way bridge, OBEC (Consulting Engineers)” Cianci said.

All of Longview — including the diminutive users of the bridge — is invited to admire the new rodent overpass, which will be suspended over Louisiana Street between 22nd and 23rd Avenues.

“We’ll toast the bridge in our Sandbagger fashion,” Cianci said.

The wooden walkway was unveiled at last year’s Squirrel Fest, and its imposing redwood frame and metal roofing make it look like a scale model of a bridge fit for people.

Cianci said he expected the hoisting and placement to take up to 90 minutes, with Brian Magnuson of Cascade Networks and Rick Johnson from the Humane Society directing the operation.

Sandbagger Amos Peters commissioned the city’s first squirrel bridge, the Nutty Narrows, in 1963 in order to protect squirrels from the perils of the road below.

Since the first Squirrel Fest in 2011, a new bridge has been added each year. A fifth bridge, to be revealed during this summer’s Squirrel Fest in August, will feature a sleek metallic design and will be put in place at a later date.

And, staying on course to rival the U.S. Interstate Highway System, the Sandbaggers are accepting blueprints, designs and ideas for the sixth squirrel span, going up in 2016, Cianci said.

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Brooks Johnson covers Longview city government, Cowlitz PUD and Lower Columbia College for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-7828 or bjohnson@tdn.com.

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