Truck to stay on Badger while options considered

Truck to stay on Badger while options considered

By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer

A truck stuck on the side of Badger Mountain will remain in a gully while officials discuss how to get it off the hillside without doing more damage.

Adam Fyall, Benton County community development coordinator, said he’ll meet with the truck owner and representatives of the Friends of Badger Mountain on Wednesday, but no decisions will be made this week.

“We want to get this taken care of, but poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part,” Fyall said of the owner’s desire to retrieve his truck.

The ’85 Chevy pickup was stranded on the hill below Canyon Trail early Oct. 18 when James Dunlap, 30, of Kennewick, decided to do some “hill climbing.”

He said he didn’t know motor vehicles were prohibited, or even that Badger Mountain was a Benton County park.

Dunlap said the brakes went out after he crested the hill and turned to come back down. The careening truck gouged lines in the soil, tore out native vegetation and dislodged boulders from the hiking trail maintained by Friends of Badger Mountain.

Jim Langdon, Friends of Badger Mountain trailmaster, said he noticed Friday that someone had broken windows out of the truck, and pleaded with park users to leave the pickup alone.

“Just be patient; it’s going to leave,” he said.

Fyall said the county is considering four options to remove the truck.

Officials could use a winch to hoist the truck back up the hillside the same way it went down, using the tracks already cut into the soil.

“But that would take some ingenuity on our part,” Fyall said.

Another option would be to find a way to bring it downhill from the gully, but that would damage more of the hillside and require permission from the city of Richland to bring the truck through its Badger Mountain Park below.

The least-damaging option would be to airlift the truck with a commercial or military helicopter, but Fyall said that likely would be the most expensive option.

The fourth option would be to declare the truck a total loss and cut it up into pieces to be carried out on foot.

Whichever option the county picks, Dunlap will have to pay, Fyall said.

“I have instructed (Friends of Badger Mountain) to log all of their volunteer hours and new materials — boulders, gravel, all of that stuff,” Fyall said. “I want them to account for it, and we will value it and pass the bill along.”

He said the truck isn’t obstructing use of the trail, where Friends of Badger Mountain has scheduled a family fun hike at 1 p.m. Saturday.

w Michelle Dupler: 582-1543;

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