In the News

Badger group is $600K away from key land deal

The all-volunteer group that developed the popular hiking trails on Badger and Candy mountains is $600,000 away from repeating its magic on Little Badger Mountain.

Friends of Badger Mountain is turning to Tri-City businesses and other supporters to help it close a $1.5 million agreement to buy nearly 20 acres below the summit of Little Badger Mountain.

It has raised about $900,000 to date to purchase the property, which is the lynchpin to completing the future Little Badger Mountain Preserve and Trail.

The Little Badger link
The trail will rise from the future extension of Queensgate Drive toward a pair of water tanks at the top of Little Badger, where residential development is happening fast.

In time, Little Badger will serve as a link in a series of ridgeline trails that will connect Amon Basin at the Richland-Kennewick border with the Yakima River near Benton City by way of Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains.

Marc Spinner, president of Friends of Badger Mountain, predicts the newest link will be the most popular. It offers the shortest and easiest climb and the best views.

“This is the highest point and the nicest view in all of the city of Richland,” he said. “I think you will see more use at this one than any of our others.”

The site is owned by a Richland couple through a limited liability company who have agreed to sell the parcel to Friends of Badger Mountain. The nonprofit has until fall to close the deal.

Friends of Badger Mountain has secured 70% of the land it needs for the Little Badger undertaking through a series of donations and outright purchases. It regularly turns the land over to the city of Richland, which oversees the parks.

Volunteers begin trail development
Volunteers have begun developing the newest trail on sections of land it already owns on the west side, Spinner said.

One stretch crosses a sensitive area and will require the expertise of a professional engineering firm. That should occur this summer, Spinner said. Construction of the eastern section, dubbed the Saddle Trail, begins this fall.

Time is of the essence to raise money and secure the property. If the deal does not close, the site could be sold for private development.

“The area is going to go through a lot of development. That’s why we’re jumping now,” Spinner said.

Community support
Spinner praised Pahlisch Homes and the Bauder family, which are both involved with ridgetop development, for their support and continuing cooperation.

The trail snakes across the site, which also will offer a public parking lot. Spinner said local developers wanted a parking lot to deter visitors from using neighboring streets.

Friends of Badger Mountain has built an impressive record since it launched in 2005 with a mission to preserve open space and promote outdoor recreation and economic activity.

With support from the community as well as lead donations from CH2M, Bechtel and Recreational Equipment Inc., it has procured 900 acres and developed 19 miles of trail.

Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve debuted in 2008 and tallied 44,000 visitors in its first year. Candy Mountain Preserve opened in 2017. By 2019, an estimated 310,000 visitors had trekked the two trails.

Summitpost.org, a website devoted to climbing, reported that Badger Mountain records up to 2,500 people at its summit each week, making it one of the “most summited peaks” in Washington state. Its main trail rises nearly 1,580 feet and is open year-round.

Candy Mountain offers a gentler climb to the top and includes an even gentler, 1.2-mile interpretive loop on the lower, flatter section that features metal interpretative signs welded by Columbia Basin College students.

The Little Badger Preserve will connect to the Badger Centennial Preserve to the west, which in turn links to Candy Mountain via Dallas Road.

Spinner said the Friends group is ready to complete the east or “back side” of Little Badger, which will descend to the Amon Creek Basin between Leslie and Steptoe.

How to help
Go to friendsofbadger.org for more information about the trail system plans and to contribute to the Little Badger Mountain Preserve campaign. Donations can be made online or by sending checks to Friends of Badger Mountain, P.O. Box 24, Richland, WA 99352.

Article Source: Tri-City Area Journal of Business


Post Date: February 1, 2021

Friends of Badger Mountain readies its new vineyard trail

The local nonprofit that built public trails on Badger and Candy mountains is preparing to open a new trailhead as it presses for a 20-mile through-trail linking Amon Basin and the Yakima River by way of Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains. Friends of Badger Mountain, which marked its 15th anniversary in June, will celebrate by opening its newest trail this fall. The Red Mountain Vineyard Trail should open by Thanksgiving, said Sharon Grant, a member of the board and spokeswoman. The newest trail follows a recent win for local hikers: The city of Richland completed its drawn-out project to replace the uneven steps at the trailhead to Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve this spring. The project was partially completed in April 2019, leaving a steep gap in the path. For the next year, most visitors detoured around the closed section. Heartier souls scrambled the steep hillside beside the closed trail. Badger Mountain made its debut in 2005, thanks to a partnership between the all-volunteer conservancy-minded nonprofit and Benton County. The team followed that up with a new trail network on Candy Mountain in 2017. More than 310,000 people used the two mountains in 2019. Four out of five hikers live in the Tri-Cities, according to a survey by Richland park rangers. Friends of Badger Mountain has long had Red Mountain in its sights. Unable to secure a corridor across its privately owned ridgeline, it lowered its focus to the vineyards below. The Red Mountain Vineyard Trail will carry the ridge-to-ridge trail through vineyards of the popular wine grape growing area. Hedges Winery in Benton City built its first section. The final “ridge” is Little Badger Mountain, which is in the city of Richland. The 3.5-mile trail will extend from the Sagebrush Trail on the eastern boundary Badger Mountain through the “saddle” to Little Badger, which boasts Richland’s highest elevation. Friends of Badger Mountain planned to begin raising the $500,000 in January to buy the remaining 21 acres to complete the trail. That is on hold because of the Covid-19 crisis although donations can be made online through friendsofbadger.org/little-badger-mountain. The city of Richland set aside $200,000 in lodging taxes to support the project. Article Source: Tri-City Business Journal

Post Date: July 25, 2020

Local firefighters hike Badger after Seattle Stairclimb postponed

RICHLAND, Wash. — Firefighters from across the Tri-Cities weren't going to let a postponed event stop them from climbing for a cause. (See the story at YakTriNews.com) The Seattle Stairclimb, hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, was set to take place on Sunday. Due to coronavirus concerns, it was postponed. Local agencies were expected to attend. Despite the unfortunate news, they decided to come together and climb up Badger Mountain instead. “But what’s really cool — the silver lining in this is that we kind of get to come together as a community and all the regional teams can participate in this climb,” said Tony Jorgensen, a Kennewick firefighter. They went up the mountain in full gear — all their clothing, air packs and boots. While the event has not yet been rescheduled, you can still donate to the society.

Post Date: March 16, 2020