In the News

They come from around the globe, just to run 100 miles near the Tri-Cities

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

Post Date: March 27, 2018

Tri-City mountain trails are area gems. Here’s how you can help polish them

It’s no secret that Badger Mountain and new sister trail on Candy Mountain, have turned into a leading outdoor recreation destination for Eastern Washington. The mountain parks, with their majestic views, offer more than nine miles of well-maintained trails and support year-round hiking, mountain biking, wildflowers, bird watching and stargazing. Badger has been hiked by 200,000 people this year alone. But keeping the mountain trails in great shape for all to enjoy is no small undertaking. “We hear a lot that the trails are great, but it takes a little work to keep them that way,” trailmaster Jim Langdon said. “These trails have been built and maintained all by volunteers.” In that spirit, the Friends of Badger Mountain seek volunteers to help with trail maintenance throughout the year. The mission is regular maintenance to maintain the best possible trail conditions. Recently, teams of volunteers from REI, Bechtel NextGen and Boy Scout Troup 126 worked to recover the gravel along Sagebrush and Canyon trails, completing more than a mile. This past Sunday, a crew worked on the Candy Mountain Trail parking lot and then worked the first 100 yards of the Badger Flats Trail. Volunteers also installed information kiosks and a set of basalt educational monuments at the Candy Mountain trailhead. The Boy Scouts also worked with the landowner and placed two new resting benches on the summit of Candy Mountain. CH2M Hill also will add basalt benches along the Candy trail — two along the trail, and three benches and two tables at the summit. “We’re really happy to see anyone — teenagers to retirees, come out,” Langdon said. “It’s a great way to spend a morning, get in a good walk and a good workout.” Upcoming work will focus on the Canyon Trail, recovering gravel that has moved off the edge and any other repairs that are identified. The Friends of Badger Mountain are waiting for approval to work on a second Candy Mountain trail. TThe project will convert the old road that parallels the lower part of the Candy Mountain trail to form an approximately one-mile-long loop, all on easy trail. Trailmaster Jim Langdon said that there will be work parties most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Thanksgiving or until snow fall prevents further work. The work will use rakes and hoes to cut back weeds, recover gravel that has left the trail and re-level the trail bed. To help, call ahead and arrive early. Volunteers will walk to the summit before work starts. Bring gloves, snacks and water, and dress for the weather. “This is a wonderful way help our community,” Langdon said. “You get to look up at the mountain and feel good that you did something great.”

Post Date: October 8, 2017

Candy Mountain fire burns 250 acres, dozens of homes evacuated

Fire scorched about 250 acres at Candy Mountain early Friday, prompting the evacuation of dozens of nearby homes. One firefighter suffered an eye injury while battling the blaze, but no one else was hurt and no houses or other buildings were damaged. By the time fire crews had the wildfire contained at 6:30 a.m., 90 percent of Candy Mountain was blackened. The nearly 1,400-foot hill is a familiar and beloved part of the Tri-Cities landscape — and a popular recreation spot. Despite the damage, the new and long-awaited trail from Dallas Road to the summit is still passable, said Adam Fyall, sustainable development manager for Benton County. The Candy Mountain Preserve and Trail is joint venture between the county and Friends of Badger Mountain. Fyall said the lower part of the preserve and trail escaped significant damage, while the upper part was burned. “This was a fast-moving cheatgrass fire that doesn’t appear to have settled-in for a slow, hot burn. We’ll hope that means it looks worse than it was, and that many of the perennial shrubs and bunchgrasses will be able to rebound,” the county parks department wrote on Facebook. “We are not closing the trail. We always ask that users stay on the trail, but especially now because the landscape is so particularly vulnerable,” the post said. “There are a couple of bench and monument installations scheduled to happen in the coming weeks and those will go on as planned” and the county may look to do restoration work in the fall and winter in coordination with Friends of Badger Mountain and Columbia Basin Native Plant Society. Dozens of firefighters and police from around the Tri-Cities quickly responded Friday when the flames were reported about 12:20 a.m. Firefighters began working to contain the fast-moving blaze, which started along Interstate 82 near where Interstate 182 merges east of Benton City. The wind-driven fire ripped up the south side of Candy Mountain, also burning the west and east sides. Meanwhile, police officers began evacuating people living north and south of Kennedy Road around the intersection with Candy Mountain Avenue. An estimated 25 to 50 homes were evacuated, starting about 12:30 a.m., said West Richland Police Chief Ben Majetich. Officers from the Richland Police Department and Benton County Sheriff’s Office helped his department notify residents. “Officers went door-to-door, knocking. They did it very fast,” Majetich told the Herald. “Some people stayed in place, but a lot of people did leave.” The Bombing Range Sports Complex became a temporary shelter for evacuees. Residents were able to start returning to their homes between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Firefighters had much of the blaze under control by 3 a.m., with total containment at 6:30 a.m., said Capt. Ed Dunbar of Benton County Fire District 4. The fire appears to have been sparked accidentally, perhaps by car debris — like from a tire blowout — on the interstate, Dunbar said. He praised the quick reaction and hard work of emergency crews. “They did an excellent job getting this taken care of,” he said. Along with Benton Fire District 4, firefighters from Benton Fire Districts 1 and 2, Franklin Fire District 3, Walla Walla Fire District 5, West Benton Fire & Rescue and the Richland and Hanford fire departments also battled the blaze. Dunbar estimated between 75 and 80 firefighters were on scene all told. Original article from the Tri-City Herald

Post Date: September 9, 2017