Author - Chris Lindhartsen

Here’s what’s proposed for Tri-Cities’ next major hiking trail. Tell planners what you think

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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.


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 Look for a link under the rotating “Featured” section.

The city also will consider results of a survey posted at

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.

Continuous hiking trail to stretch across major ridges in Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Hikers will soon have access to a continuous trail system stretching across three major ridges in the Tri-Cities.

View video on KEPR website »

Friends of Badger Mountain recently purchased the remaining land needed to complete the Little Badger Mountain Preserve.

This will connect the Badger Mountain trail to Little Badger Summit, allowing the group to link Badger to Candy Mountain.

Sharon Grant, co-founder of Friends of Badger Mountain, said the purchase of this land has been about five years in the making. She said they were able to reach their fundraising goal of $1.5 million dollars.

"I'm just so thrilled that we get to have this land in it's beautiful shape and so easily accessible," Grant said. "It keeps us all healthy and outdoors and gets us through whatever challenges come up in our lives. We can always get outdoors close by."

Once the trail is complete, the group will have created a trail system stretching about 10 miles across the three ridges.

"People get to hike close to home throughout the year no matter the type of weather," Grant said.

The work doesn't stop there. Grants said their goal has been a ridge trail that stretches to the Red Mountain vineyards and down to the Yakima River.

"We account for over 300,000 users a year," Grant said. "We know that people both want to try new trails and want to spread out, so this is going to be very exciting."

The non-profit organization was founded in 2003 by a group of residents with the goal to preserve and maintain the ridges and other land in the Mid-Columbia region for the benefit of the general public and the environment.

‘Most expensive’ stretch of trail in Eastern WA will feature sweeping Tri-Cities views

The Friends of Badger Mountain are one step closer to their goal of a continuous trail system stretching from Benton City across the ridges all the way to the Yakima River.

The nonprofit recently bought the last portion of land they needed to create a trail system up Little Badger Mountain, tying together a hiking route to Badger and Candy mountains.

When it opens late next year, it will be the culmination of 20 years of hard work, dedication and love for the Tri-Cities since the group first bought land on Badger Mountain.

Project Manager David Comstock said that while they’re nearing the finish line, there’s still much work to do.

“This is a huge milestone for us, finishing the land acquisition part of the project (for Little Badger Mountain), this is the culmination of about 5 years of volunteer work for the board members of Friends of Badger Mountain,” he said.

“The next phase will be to work with the city of Richland to work out what this future park will look like,” Comstock said.


The group recently bought 21 acres on Little Badger, just below Queensgate Drive, as well as three lots near the summit off of Skyview Loop.

“This is the final land acquisition that we needed to create a continuous trail system from the existing preserve down from Badger to connect to Queensgate,” Comstock said. “From Queensgate we now have all the property across the saddle, gaining access to the ridge top all the way to the summit of Little Badger.”

In all, they spent about $2.5 million acquiring the land needed.

The larger portion cost $1.5 million, which group president Bob Bass said is about what they paid for all 200 acres on Candy Mountain.

“This will probably be the most expensive piece of trail anywhere in Eastern Washington,” Bass said.

In 2003, when the organization first launched, they spent just under $600,000 to preserve 500 acres on Badger Mountain, but growth in the area has led to increased demand for land, and with it higher land prices.

“It’s all about preservation of our sage habitat and preserving public access,” Comstock said. “Ultimately, our goal is not to own the land ourselves, but to preserve it for city parks so they can maintain it for years to come.”

Comstock said Richland recently began the planning process for the new trailhead park, with the location to be determined.

They hope to see planning completed this year, and work beginning on the new Little Badger trail system in 2023.

Comstock and Bass said they didn’t plan to have it completed for the organization’s 20th anniversary, but it is gratifying.

Once work is completed on the Little Badger, they will have created a continuous trail system stretching across the three major ridges. In total it will be about 10 miles across, with several more miles of trail within each preserve area.

Then they will turn their attention to partnerships with Benton City and the Tapteal Greenway.


“After completing Badger Mountain, the friends stepped back and did some strategic planning, and our goal has been a 20-mile ridge trail that will connect Little Badger to Badger to Candy to Red Mountain all the way down to the Yakima River,” Comstock said.

“The mayor of Benton City has been getting some Washington state grant money to look at some rails to trails projects,” he said.

“They’re trying to buy that old railroad ridge coming out of Benton City and have a rails to trails connection, and then our sister organization Tapteal Greenway is working on a river trail along the Yakima River to connect from basically Benton City back into town and out to the Yakima River delta,” he said.

Comstock said that the organization is made up of people who live in the Tri-Cities and love the area, and many are avid hikers.

They put in about 2,000 hours of volunteer work each year, as well as raise money for maintenance and expansion of the trails.

Through partnerships with cities and developers, they’ve been able to create beautiful, public trail systems to bring people to the Tri-Cities.

A 2019 estimate put the combined number of visitors to their trails at more than 300,000 annually.

“The big vision is to have a 50-mile river to ridges to rail system to help make the Tri-Cities more of an outdoors destination,” Comstock said.

View original article at Tri-City Herald »

Thieves ‘stalking’ parking lots at popular Tri-Cities hiking trails

Thieves are targeting vehicles parked at the trailheads for Badger Mountain and Candy Mountain in the Tri-Cities.

Wallets and purses with credit cards, cash, and IDs are among the most frequently stolen in the break-ins, said Shyanne Palmus, Benton County’s communications coordinator.

“Windows are being broken to get into cars, but we still urge everyone to make sure their vehicles are locked prior to hiking and to not leave valuables in your car — whether they are in plain sight or not,” said the news release.

In one recent case, a victim received a fraud alert text before reaching the summit of Candy Mountain because a thief had broken into a car and was already trying to use the credit cards in Kennewick by the time the hiker could cover 1 1/2 miles back to the lot.

Benton County officials are discussing possibly increasing security at the popular hiking area lots, but no decisions have been made at this time, she wrote.

“We have received numerous reports this week about break-ins at both Badger (Westgate trailhead, off of Dallas Road) and Candy Mountain, though we know that we are not unique in this — other agencies and trailheads are experiencing similar nefarious activities,” said the release.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Richland Police Department are investigating various reports.

Stolen items are not often in open view, but are under the front seat, in the glove box or in the center console.

“We believe that in many cases the perpetrators are hanging around the parking lots, stalking their targets,” said the release.

County officials are asking the public to report any suspicious activity at any local trailheads to 911, and to leave valuables at home and make sure to lock your vehicle while hiking.

Source: Tri-City Herald

New Richland hiking trail from Badger Mountain gets a big boost

A project to connect the Badger Mountain hiking trails to the summit of Little Badger Mountain is $25,000 closer to its goal, thanks to the foundation of Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

It plans to present a check for $25,000 to the Friends of Badger Mountain on Monday.

“As the land value in the Tri-Cities continues to escalate, land preservation is becoming a lot more expensive,” said Sharon Grant-Ghan, co-founder of Friends of Badger Mountain.

“Such is the case in creating the Littler Badger Preserve and why the contribution from the Kadlec foundation is so important,” she said.

Friends of Badger Mountain is creating a system of trails across Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains from Amon Basin to the east to the Yakima River to the west.

Kadlec Foundation’s donation will be used toward a new 2.2-mile trail connecting the east end of Badger Mountain to Little Badger Mountain.

Within the next two years the trail will be extended for a total of three new miles of trail. Longer term the trail will continue east to Claybell Park and Amon Basin, Grant-Ghan said.

With the establishment of the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve in 2005 and the Candy Mountain Preserve in 2016, Friends of Badger Mountain has preserved over 900 acres of ridge land and has built and is maintaining 10 miles of trails for non-motorized public use.

The LIttle Badger Mountain Preserve will add 75 acres to the trail system.

The Kadlec Foundation is helping with the project to expand trails as part of its mission to promote the health and well-being of residents in the Tri-Cities area.

“Kadlec understands the importance of outdoor venues as a way for residents to stay healthy and saw during the pandemic that it was especially valuable for the public to have easy access to fresh air and recreation that the Friends of Badger Mountain has provided in creating the ridge preserves,” said Jim Hall, the Kadlec chief philanthropy officer.

The Kadlec Foundation and Friends of Badger Mountain plan a “Hike for Your Health” in 2022.

Donations to Friends of Badger Mountain may be made at

Source: Tri-City Herald

56-acre Tri-Cities park nearly ready for hikers, with just one piece missing

One of the most scenic views of the Tri-Cities will have more public access if the final pieces of a trail project fall into place.

The Friends of Badger Mountain are working to buy a parcel to connect the popular hiking trails across the four local ridges of Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains.

The group, which began as a grassroots effort 18 years ago, needs just 20 acres to create Little Badger Mountain Preserve — the third park that the group has helped establish.

“It will have the nicest views of all of the city of Richland,“ the group’s president Marc Spinner told the Herald.

“Cities and regions realize the more hiking trails there are, the more it adds to economy and community growth and health. It is a big drawing point,” he said.

Spinner said the Friends of Badger Mountain has an agreement with the land owner to buy the property by the end of the year for $1.5 million.

The group has raised all but $600,000 — and is launching a public fundraising campaign to get the rest by the end of the year.

“If we don’t do anything, and we don’t put anything in there — it will be overrun with houses,” Spinner said.

The group first created the Badger Mountain preserve in 2005. It was followed by Candy Mountain in 2016.

And now there is a network of 10 miles of trails over 900 acres. More than 300,000 people used those trails in 2019.

The trails will follow the ridges up to the summit of Little Badger, which will also have a parking lot and playground.

The new Little Badger trails will be multi-use — allowing hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. It will span from the eastern boundary of Badger Mountain to Queensgate Drive.

The group’s goal is to have a continuous system that also includes a stretch over Red Mountain.

Project manager David Comstock, who has been instrumental in moving the project forward, said the first section of the trail will be done this spring.

While Comstock has been working behind the scenes since 2017 to make the park a reality, the group was able to take action starting in 2019 with the first land acquisition.

The same year, the Washington Legislature allotted $450,000 from the 2019-21 capital budget to put toward the project.

Spinner said that the goal is to complete the entire system, including a trail to Red Mountain, by 2023.

“One of these days lets, face it, the entire area will be houses — maybe not in our lifetime but it will happen,” he said.

For more information or to make a tax deductible donation, go to

Badger group is $600K away from key land deal

The all-volunteer group that developed the popular hiking trails on Badger and Candy mountains is $600,000 away from repeating its magic on Little Badger Mountain.

Friends of Badger Mountain is turning to Tri-City businesses and other supporters to help it close a $1.5 million agreement to buy nearly 20 acres below the summit of Little Badger Mountain.

It has raised about $900,000 to date to purchase the property, which is the lynchpin to completing the future Little Badger Mountain Preserve and Trail.

The Little Badger link
The trail will rise from the future extension of Queensgate Drive toward a pair of water tanks at the top of Little Badger, where residential development is happening fast.

In time, Little Badger will serve as a link in a series of ridgeline trails that will connect Amon Basin at the Richland-Kennewick border with the Yakima River near Benton City by way of Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains.

Marc Spinner, president of Friends of Badger Mountain, predicts the newest link will be the most popular. It offers the shortest and easiest climb and the best views.

“This is the highest point and the nicest view in all of the city of Richland,” he said. “I think you will see more use at this one than any of our others.”

The site is owned by a Richland couple through a limited liability company who have agreed to sell the parcel to Friends of Badger Mountain. The nonprofit has until fall to close the deal.

Friends of Badger Mountain has secured 70% of the land it needs for the Little Badger undertaking through a series of donations and outright purchases. It regularly turns the land over to the city of Richland, which oversees the parks.

Volunteers begin trail development
Volunteers have begun developing the newest trail on sections of land it already owns on the west side, Spinner said.

One stretch crosses a sensitive area and will require the expertise of a professional engineering firm. That should occur this summer, Spinner said. Construction of the eastern section, dubbed the Saddle Trail, begins this fall.

Time is of the essence to raise money and secure the property. If the deal does not close, the site could be sold for private development.

“The area is going to go through a lot of development. That’s why we’re jumping now,” Spinner said.

Community support
Spinner praised Pahlisch Homes and the Bauder family, which are both involved with ridgetop development, for their support and continuing cooperation.

The trail snakes across the site, which also will offer a public parking lot. Spinner said local developers wanted a parking lot to deter visitors from using neighboring streets.

Friends of Badger Mountain has built an impressive record since it launched in 2005 with a mission to preserve open space and promote outdoor recreation and economic activity.

With support from the community as well as lead donations from CH2M, Bechtel and Recreational Equipment Inc., it has procured 900 acres and developed 19 miles of trail.

Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve debuted in 2008 and tallied 44,000 visitors in its first year. Candy Mountain Preserve opened in 2017. By 2019, an estimated 310,000 visitors had trekked the two trails., a website devoted to climbing, reported that Badger Mountain records up to 2,500 people at its summit each week, making it one of the “most summited peaks” in Washington state. Its main trail rises nearly 1,580 feet and is open year-round.

Candy Mountain offers a gentler climb to the top and includes an even gentler, 1.2-mile interpretive loop on the lower, flatter section that features metal interpretative signs welded by Columbia Basin College students.

The Little Badger Preserve will connect to the Badger Centennial Preserve to the west, which in turn links to Candy Mountain via Dallas Road.

Spinner said the Friends group is ready to complete the east or “back side” of Little Badger, which will descend to the Amon Creek Basin between Leslie and Steptoe.

How to help
Go to for more information about the trail system plans and to contribute to the Little Badger Mountain Preserve campaign. Donations can be made online or by sending checks to Friends of Badger Mountain, P.O. Box 24, Richland, WA 99352.

Article Source: Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Friends of Badger Mountain readies its new vineyard trail

The local nonprofit that built public trails on Badger and Candy mountains is preparing to open a new trailhead as it presses for a 20-mile through-trail linking Amon Basin and the Yakima River by way of Little Badger, Badger, Candy and Red mountains. Friends of Badger Mountain, which marked its 15th anniversary in June, will celebrate by opening its newest trail this fall. The Red Mountain Vineyard Trail should open by Thanksgiving, said Sharon Grant, a member of the board and spokeswoman. The newest trail follows a recent win for local hikers: The city of Richland completed its drawn-out project to replace the uneven steps at the trailhead to Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve this spring. The project was partially completed in April 2019, leaving a steep gap in the path. For the next year, most visitors detoured around the closed section. Heartier souls scrambled the steep hillside beside the closed trail. Badger Mountain made its debut in 2005, thanks to a partnership between the all-volunteer conservancy-minded nonprofit and Benton County. The team followed that up with a new trail network on Candy Mountain in 2017. More than 310,000 people used the two mountains in 2019. Four out of five hikers live in the Tri-Cities, according to a survey by Richland park rangers. Friends of Badger Mountain has long had Red Mountain in its sights. Unable to secure a corridor across its privately owned ridgeline, it lowered its focus to the vineyards below. The Red Mountain Vineyard Trail will carry the ridge-to-ridge trail through vineyards of the popular wine grape growing area. Hedges Winery in Benton City built its first section. The final “ridge” is Little Badger Mountain, which is in the city of Richland. The 3.5-mile trail will extend from the Sagebrush Trail on the eastern boundary Badger Mountain through the “saddle” to Little Badger, which boasts Richland’s highest elevation. Friends of Badger Mountain planned to begin raising the $500,000 in January to buy the remaining 21 acres to complete the trail. That is on hold because of the Covid-19 crisis although donations can be made online through The city of Richland set aside $200,000 in lodging taxes to support the project. Article Source: Tri-City Business Journal

Local firefighters hike Badger after Seattle Stairclimb postponed

RICHLAND, Wash. — Firefighters from across the Tri-Cities weren't going to let a postponed event stop them from climbing for a cause. (See the story at The Seattle Stairclimb, hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, was set to take place on Sunday. Due to coronavirus concerns, it was postponed. Local agencies were expected to attend. Despite the unfortunate news, they decided to come together and climb up Badger Mountain instead. “But what’s really cool — the silver lining in this is that we kind of get to come together as a community and all the regional teams can participate in this climb,” said Tony Jorgensen, a Kennewick firefighter. They went up the mountain in full gear — all their clothing, air packs and boots. While the event has not yet been rescheduled, you can still donate to the society.

Something new is coming for hikers on Badger and Candy mountains

Tri-City hikers could have a new trail spur on Badger Mountain as soon as this fall. (See the story at the Tri-City Herald) The Friends of Badger Mountain will be working first on a short trail addition on Candy Mountain, with work possible next week. The Benton County Park Board gave its approval to both projects. The larger project will add a trail from the east side of the Badger Mountain Preserve, mostly across adjoining land donated to the Friends of Badger Mountain by Mark and Milo Bauder. Park board approval was needed because the first 30 to 40 feet of the new trail spur is on county property. The spur will extend from what is now Sagebrush trail to the east, not far from where the Langdon, Skyline and Sagebrush trails meet. The spur and section of the Sagebrush Trail are expected to eventually be considered part of the Skyline Trail. It would start the trail system heading to the east toward another high point of the Tri-Cities, Little Badger Mountain. Friends of Badger Mountain are working on a proposal to bring the trail system to the top of Little Badger Mountain, through a patchwork of agreements for easements, purchases and use of Richland city-owned land. Getting a trail to the summit of Little Badger may be a year or two away, but the spur trail on Badger Mountain is a step toward that goal, said Jim Langdon, trailmaster for the Friends of Badger Mountain. The new trail section on Badger Mountain would be roughly a third of a mile long, ending at the sidewalk along Queensgate Drive. There is no parking where the trail would end, but the sidewalk there is already used by recreational walkers. It would give them an access point to the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve trail system, Langdon said. Initial plans were to work on the new spur this fall, but there is some question now about whether all technical issues will be worked out in time for fall work. If the work has to be delayed, it would be done in the spring, Langdon said. Also, the city of Richland is expecting work this winter to finish trail improvements to replace steps near the east trailhead. CANDY MOUNTAIN SPUR The Candy Mountain trail spur would be much shorter than the spur planned on Badger Mountain. That mountain’s trail system includes a fairly flat loop trail that can be started from the parking lot with about 25 plant-identification signs. Four larger geological interpretation signs are planned. One would explain “erratics,” or boulders left on Tri-City hillsides by the series of ice age floods that swept through the area from Lake Missoula. One of the granite boulders, now darkened by lichen, is about 80 feet from the interpretive loop. A spur trail is planned to the erratic with a sign to help hikers understand the Tri-City-area geology. The spur is a joint project of Benton County the Friends of Badger Mountain and the Ice Age Floods Institute. Ice age glaciers that moved down from Canada once blocked Lake Missoula, a huge glacial body of water in what’s now northern and western Montana. As water in the lake built up, it periodically burst through the ice dam and swept across norther Idaho into Washington. As the water flowed south, the Wallula Gap served as a natural dam, backing water up behind it in the Pasco Basin for a few days to a week. As the water pooled, icebergs bumped up against the sides of the mountains. Then the water receded, and the icebergs became stranded and melted, depositing soil and rock, including the erratics that can be seen today on Tri-City-area hillsides. In the deepest floods, just the tip of Candy Mountain would have formed a small island. People willing to volunteer for trail maintenance and building, may contact Langdon at [email protected] or 943-3992.