This $300,000 gift will boost Tri-Cities hiking trailsChris Lindhartsen
The Tri-Cities’ network of ridgeline trails will soon climb Little Badger Mountain, thanks to a recent donation to Friends of Badger Mountain. Scott Sax, president of Washington Closure Hanford, presented a check for $300,761 to the nonprofit at its recent annual meeting. The contribution honors employees of the former Hanford contractor for their significant achievements to clean up the nuclear reservation along the Columbia River over 11 years. Friends of Badger will use the donation to acquire three parcels on the top of Little Badge for its proposed system of trails from neighboring Badger Mountain. Friends of Badger Mountain has worked with the city of Richland and landowners to design the route. It is in the process of raising money to buy the needed land. The trail will start at Sagebrush Trail, near the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve, and will meander near the edge of the ridge line between two new housing developments. The project includes buying three lots in Westcliffe Heights, a hilltop subdivision now under construction. The new Little Badger trail is expected to open in fall 2020. Badger Mountain is one of a series of basalt ridges in south central Washington’s shrub-steppe habit, where hikers can spot rabbits, snakes, lizards, coyotes, Western meadowlarks, chukars and a variety of wildflowers in the spring. About 200,000 people each year hike the Badger Mountain trail, which opened in 2005. On top of Badger and neighboring Candy Mountain, hikers can see on a clear day Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, the Blue Mountains and the Columbia, Yakima and Snake river valleys. See original story on the Tri-City Herald
Pasco students help replant sagebrush on BadgerChris Lindhartsen
Teacher Scott Ehrenburg helps Robert Frost fifth-graders Evelyn Miranda, left, and Santiago Garcia remove a sagebrush starter plant from a plastic sleeve Thursday during a field trip to Badger Mountain in Richland. Some 87 students from the Pasco elementary school took part in a hands-on habitat restoration project organized by volunteers from Tapteal Greenway and Columbia Basin Native Plant Society. The students planted about 100 plants along the north side lower trail of the popular hiking area.
They come from around the globe, just to run 100 miles near the Tri-CitiesChris Lindhartsen
View the original story on the Tri-City Herald. An epic mountain trail running event is enticing hundreds of the top athletes and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the region, the U.S. and Canada, and as far away as Ecuador, to come to the Tri-Cities on March 30 and 31 to participate in the one of the most challenging and grueling foot races in the world. The Badger Mountain Challenge, a two-day event hosted by the Nomad Trail Runners of Eastern Washington, is on track to see over 750 entrants this year. “Interest in the event is at an all-time high,” said event organizer Jason Reathaford. “We have over 105 entrants signed up for the 50-miler compared to 75 last year. The 100-mile race has 100 entrants in it so far, compared to 78 people last year. We are expecting 75 people in the 50K race and around 425 starters in the 15K race.” Each event will begin and end at Badger Mountain’s Trailhead Park and traverse nearby ridges. The 50- and 100-mile course includes footpaths, multi-use trails, rocky jeep trails, dirt roads and short stretches of pavement on and around Badger and Candy mountains and McBee Hill. The 100-mile course is a double out-and-back route, while the 50-miler is just one circuit. The 50K runs the same course but turns around earlier. Runners will face rough roads, single-track trails, and some steep, challenging climbs. There are a few short paved sections, and good aid station and crew access. The entire 100-mile course has approximately 15 total miles of pavement, but the rest is on dirt or rock. There are several steep 800- to 1,000-foot climbs, with elevations ranging from 500 to 2,000 feet. “We have runners from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Oklahoma, Ontario, Idaho, Texas, Georgia, British Columbia, Ontario, and we know of a couple coming from Ecuador”, Reathaford said. Sharon Grant, of Friends of Badger Mountain adds, “It’s a thrill – a dream come true – seeing Badger Mountain utilized for this amazing event. It benefits the people, the local economy, the health and well-being of all.” A new section on Badger Mountain will be part of the course. A volunteer effort under the guidance of trailmaster Jim Langdon completed the 1,400-foot addition to Sagebrush Trail, circumventing the steep stair steps at Trailhead Park. Last year, 35-year old Brandon Benefield from Spokane won the 100-mile race, crossing the finish line just after midnight on Saturday night, clocking in at 17 hours, 32 minutes, 46 seconds. The long-range forecast for next weekend is indicating no precipitation, low winds, and temperatures in the 50s to 60s. Net proceeds from the event will benefit Friends of Badger Mountain, Washington Trails Association, Girls on the Run and Team in Training, which is raising money to fight leukemia and lymphoma. A scholarship funded by the race will benefit one lucky local student. For more information, go to www.badgermountainchallenge.com