Truck stuck on Badger Mtn. pulled from ravine

Truck stuck on Badger Mtn. pulled from ravine

By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer February 24, 2009

RICHLAND — An ’85 Chevy truck stuck in ravine on Badger Mountain by a Kennewick man doing some “hill climbing” was pulled out Sunday by volunteers from a local four-by-four riding club.

The white truck had been in the gully below the Canyon Trail for about four months while Benton County officials and the Friends of Badger Mountain tried to figure out how to get it out without tearing up the hillside.

Some thought a helicopter was the only way to remove the truck without destroying the hillside, but the removal would have come at a steep cost.

The Peak Putters, an off-roading club, came to the rescue with its members volunteering to tow the truck out.

“It was something they felt was important …” said Adam Fyall, Benton County’s community development coordinator. “They saw it as kind of a black eye on their recreation and wanted to get involved and do something positive.”

After coordinating schedules and settling on a plan of attack, about 20 volunteers showed up Sunday to pull the truck out.

Ultimately four vehicles were used to pull the truck about 200 feet down the ravine to get to a clearing where they were then able to tow it over the trail and off the hill, Fyall said.

“It started out slow because the stranded vehicle was wedged in a spot pretty good,” Fyall said. “I was a little uncertain for a while. I was still there thinking, ‘Boy, I don’t think this is going to work out.’ ”

But once the truck got wedged out of its resting spot it was a pretty easy removal with very minimal damage left behind, Fyall said.

“When you consider what we were doing, if you go out there you’ll see a little impact,” he said. “But overall, it was very minimal. We’ll be going out in the next week or two and do some reseeding.”

Dave Walters, a Peak Putters member, said removing the truck went off “like clock work,” with the off-roaders using existing tracks as much as possible to limit the damage.

“The guys in the club are pretty good at this kind of thing. By the nature of the hobby, obviously we spend a lot of time in areas where you’re not going to go in your Subaru. We know how to take care of it,” Walters said. “… It just went great. … By this time next year, maybe even sooner, I doubt if you’re even going to know we were in there.”

The Peak Putters was chartered in 1966 and has about 24 families participating. The main function of the club is to support the off-roading sport/hobby and the families, Walters said.

The club’s goal is to encourage responsible off-roading and members help take care of public lands, including working with the Department of Natural Resources to haul garbage off trails.

Walters called Fyall after reading the story about the stuck truck in the Herald in October and said he knew his club could help fix the problem.

“We decided to help out because it was the right thing to do,” Walters said.

The truck’s owner, James Dunlap, 30, said at the time that he didn’t have any malicious intent when he and his brother went off-roading in the middle of the night.

Dunlap, who was cited for taking a vehicle off the roadway in designated county park or preserve, told the Herald he drove up a main road to the top of the hill and didn’t see a gate or any signs saying they couldn’t be there.

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