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About 5 1/2 miles of trails would be added to the Badger Mountain trail system under a proposed master plan to extend trails across nearby Little Badger Mountain.
The city of Richland is looking for feedback from the public on its proposed plan for what city officials say is the first large-scale trail development project it has initiated in years, said city officials.
Little Badger Mountain is planned to be the third Tri-Cities mountain with trails at or near ridge lines, in the string of ridges that includes Badger Mountain and Candy Mountain to the northwest.
The Little Badger trails will have a more urban feel than Badger and Candy mountain trail systems.
“There will be awesome views but you will definitely see homes,” said Ruvim Tyutyunnik, the city’s project manager for the new Little Badger trails.
Planners are looking for a sweet spot between urban and wild lands for the new hiking areas, he said.
Work could begin on the first of the new trails as soon as late spring, after a council decision on adopting the master plan tentatively set for its March 21 meeting.
The Little Badger Mountain trails would connect with the Badger Mountain trails at Queensgate Drive, according to the proposed master plan.
The proposal calls for the main trailhead with off-street parking to be at a former orchard near the future intersection of Queensgate Drive and Gage Boulevard.
Gage now does not reach Queensgate, but in an unrelated decision the city has proposed extending Gage to intersect with a roundabout at Queensgate.
Up to three secondary trailheads are proposed, with a goal of making the new trails accessible to adjacent neighborhoods.
The proposed secondary trailheads could include ones at Gage Boulevard and at Morency Drive, where off-street parking might be developed.
The trails would be built on a combination of city parks and recreation land, Friends of Badger Mountain land acquired for the trail system, established easements and access agreements with private landowners.
Trails are planned to cross slopes that range from 5% to 30% and more, with the steepest sections requiring professional planning and trail building. Switchbacks are an option in a couple of places.
“We are going to work with the terrain,” Tyutyunnik said.
The trail also would cross a hillside gully, that might require a bridge to be built.
3 OVERLOOKS ON LITTLE BADGER
Three overlook points have been tentatively identified, with the primary one near water towers toward the center of the trail system on city parks and recreation land.
The overlooks will provide views of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco from one side of Little Badger Mountain and the view of the Interstate 84 corridor and the land beyond it from the other side.
From the main overlook hikers could make their way down toward Morency Drive on a stretch of trail built by Friends of Badger Mountain on its land.
At Morency a trail loop is planned around the hilltop Falconcrest neighborhood.
Residents can learn more and provide comments at an open house 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Richland Community Center, 500 Amon Park Drive.
Information on the proposed plan is posted at richlandparksandrec.com. Look for a link under the rotating “Featured” section.
The city also will consider results of a survey posted at surveymonkey.com/r/LittleBadgerTrail.
The survey, which closes Jan. 31, asks people what is important to them at overlooks and along the trail and what amenities they’d like at the primary trailhead, among other questions.