Friends of Badger Mountain to Expand Trail System
Friends of Badger Mountain announced at their annual meeting January 30th that it had reached their $1.5 million goal for the Ridge Preservation and Trail Campaign. The funds raised will create a second ridge preserve on Candy Mountain and a trail link from the west end of the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve to the summit of Candy Mountain.
“A second open space mountain preserve will help make our area a regional destination for outdoor recreation.” said David Comstock, President of FOBM.
FOBM partnered with Benton County to receive a $695,000 matching grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Today, 2-23-16, the Benton County Commissioners officially approved the RCO project agreement for this matching grant. Working with the county as the ultimate owner of the expanded trail system, FOBM will next finalize purchase and sales agreements with two landowners on Candy Mountain; start designing and building the new trailhead parking lot; and then design and construct a public trail to the summit.
Businesses that contributed significantly to the campaign include CH2M Hill, Bechtel National, REI and 14 other local businesses. Strong support also came from the Nomad Trail Runners and the Inter-Mountain Alpine Club. The Tri-Cities community rallied to this cause and their incredible generosity made this fundraising campaign a rousing success.
Acquisition of 195 acres on Candy Mountain to create a new preserve is the third successful milestone reached by FOBM, a non-profit citizen organization started in the Tri-Cities in 2003. Its first achievement was raising the funds in 2004-5 to set aside 574 acres of Badger Mountain, which was named by Benton County as the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve. In 2010-2011, FOBM raised funds to add 74 acres to the Badger Mountain preserve.
Since then FOBM volunteers have built and maintain four trails on Badger Mountain. With support from volunteers again, FOBM hopes to have the new trail on Candy Mountain open fall of 2016.
“As an all-volunteer organization, we only succeed in preserving land as open space and for outdoor recreation with the generosity of our supporters,” said Sharon Grant, co-founder of FOBM. Although FOBM reached its fundraising goal for the Candy Mountain trail expansion, Grant said that continued community support is still very much appreciated. “As FOBM is dedicated to creating a system of ridge trails connecting from Amon Basin to the Yakima River in the west, there are several critical links we still need to preserve,” Grant explained.
A grand opening of the new preserve and trailhead will be scheduled for later this year. The public will be notified. Check FOBM’s website and Facebook page for updates and information: http://friendsofbadger.org
David Comstock, Friends of Badger Mountain, 509-521-8226
Sharon Grant, Friends of Badger Mountain, 509-783-6558