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Badger Mountain addition asset for entire community

Tr-City Herald Hiking Badger Mountain has become one of the most popular outings in the Tri-Cities, thanks to a dedicated group that's not content to wait for government action. In an era when governments at every level are struggling just to maintain existing services, Friends of Badger Mountain has found ways for the private sector to fill some of the gap. The group's efforts to preserve open spaces have improved the quality of life for thousands of Mid-Columbia residents. Whether you're a mountain climber in training carrying a weighted backpack, part of a family looking for some fresh air at a leisurely pace or one of those crazy people who run up the trail, odds are you've already discovered Badger Mountain. The trail saw more than 100,000 ascents by mid-October of last year. That's a great thing. We need a place where people feel comfortable getting outside and finding a connection with our landscape. We want people to challenge themselves and hike up the hill to take in the view. Having a healthy population with an appreciation of the region's natural beauty is an asset for our community. And the Badger Mountain Preserve just grew by 48 acres, making the total 647 acres. The Friends of Badger Mountain have been busy, to say the least. The new land will allow them to extend the trail system to the south side of the mountain and expand public access. The land will be turned over to Benton County, just as the rest of the preserve has been. The Friends of Badger will be its caretakers. The former owners of the recently acquired parcels had planned to use the land for housing developments, but problems with access made that improbable. That gave the Friends of Badger a favorable position in the negotiating process. We applaud the group's members for their tireless efforts to purchase land to expand the preserve. The area has given Tri-Citians a new outlet for outdoor activities and a new place for folks to experience the beauty of our rivers and fields and vistas. Anytime we catch a glimpse of the ridge they helped preserve, we're reminded of how much can be accomplished through the hard work and perseverance of dedicated individuals. If you want to find out more about the plans for the preserve, the Friends of Badger Mountain has scheduled its annual meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at Goose Ridge Winery, 16304 N. Dallas Road in Richland, near the Badger Mountain trailhead.

Badger Mountain trails great and getting better

Tri-City Herald

Dust off your hiking shoes and get to Badger Mountain. There's a new trail to be conquered.

Those who have hiked the existing trails know going up can be a challenge. The new route offers hikers some new scenery to help make it worth the effort. Not that it wasn't already rewarding enough. There is no better way to take in the vista of the Tri-Cities and get a good workout at the same time than to travel the Badger Mountain network of groomed paths. The new Sagebrush Trail branches off the popular Canyon Trail, which begins at Trailhead Park, near the West Cliff housing development. It leads to the ridge road, allowing hikers to make a 3.2-mile loop, rather than taking the same route up and down the mountain on the Canyon Trail. The new hike is definitely a labor of love by trail users and enthusiasts. The Friends of Badger Mountain claim that 59,000 people used the trail from May 2008 to May 2009. Of course, those numbers don't distinguish unique visitors, and we know some diehard trail users who frequent Badger several times a week. Work on the new multi-use Sagebrush Trail began with a work party of 89 volunteers on March 8. An exceptionally nice March day helped workers get the trail started. In 51/2 weeks, about 200 people gave 1,700 hours of time to the trail project. Hikers helped by hauling buckets of gravel up the mountain. In all, volunteers hauled 55 tons of gravel and three tons of rock to create the trail. The gravel not only defines the path but also helps prevent erosion and dust. Many groups pitched in for the effort, including The Backcountry Horsemen, who paid for most of the gravel with a grant from REI. That group also came in handy on the final day of work, moving gravel with their horses and mules and saving the backs of many volunteers. The Washington Trail Association also helped out, as did many others. There were some hiccups along the way. Sagebrush Trail was closed at the water tanks after the Friends of Badger discovered that the road up to the tanks traversed private property. That means no access to the new trail from Queesngate for the time being, but discussions with the landowner are under way. Additional trailways are scheduled to be built in the fall, when there's more moisture in the ground. About 600 more hours of volunteer labor will be needed. We have no doubt the volunteers will show up and the new trails will be well used. The success of the Sagebrush Trail project this spring reflects the community's interest in creating additional opportunities for outdoor recreation. The popularity of the existing trail proves the demand is there. Friends of Badger Mountain say the new trail was necessary to relieve the burden on the Canyon Trial, and those of us who use it know it can be busy on a sunny day. We look forward to the additional routes up -- and down -- the mountain.

Volunteers dig out new Badger Mountain trail

By Kevin McCullen, Herald staff writer

RICHLAND — Steve Ghan slapped a hoe into the hillside on Badger Mountain, clearing away small clumps of grass and brownish dirt to form a narrow strip inside two reddish boundary flags. Around him, other volunteers carved out chunks of the hillside, uprooted the occasional sagebrush or tamped down dirt Sunday to carve a new multi-use trail on the popular mountain to serve horseback riders, mountain bikers and hikers. "This is my first time building trail," said Ghan, of Richland. "It doesn't take long to get the hang of it. This is wonderful." Organized by Friends of Badger Mountain, about 80 volunteers turned out Saturday and at least 45 Sunday to help with trail construction, said Jim Langdon, trailmaster for Friends of Badger Mountain. The new trail, referred to as the Sagebrush Trail by Benton County, covers at least two miles, Langdon said. It will connect the existing Skyline Trail on the eastern edge of Badger Mountain Preserve, with one segment for horseback riders, mountain bikers and hikers terminating near the water tanks at the base of the mountain. Another segment, for hikers only, will link with the 1.25-mile Canyon Trail, the heavily used main route up the mountain, providing a convenient loop route for hikers from Trailhead Park on Queensgate Drive in Richland. "We absolutely need this trail because Canyon Trail gets heavy use," said Sharon Grant of Richland, president of Friends of Badger Mountain and one of its founders. "We counted over 200 people on the trail in just one hour last Sunday. We get people of all sizes, ages, ethnicities, whole extended families on the trail. "It's good, because it is so close and so accessible, so it gets a lot of use," she said. An electronic counter set at the base of Canyon Trail showed that 59,000 people used the trail from May 2008 to May 2009, and Grant thinks there is "no question" use has increased since then. Anecdotal evidence Sunday supported that view. Cars lined both sides of the street by the entrance to Trailhead Park, and the small parking lot was continually full. Waves of hikers worked their way up and down the trail during the balmy afternoon while the volunteers toiled on the trail. Darcy Waddell of Kennewick dug out a small sagebrush blocking the edge of her section of trail. Waddell is a regular on the Badger Mountain trails, either running or mountain biking, to prepare for the annual Mount Marathon Race on July 4 in Seward, Alaska. The race, which draws thousands of participants from throughout the world, takes runners on a 1.5-mile climb up and then down Mount Marathon on a course with steep inclines and slippery loose rock. "This will be my 11th year, so I am really excited they are building the trail here because now I'll have a place to train," Waddell said. After the trail is cut, about 100 tons of gravel will be used to surface it to reduce erosion and cut down dust. "It (the trail) would turn into flour if we didn't put down the gravel," Langdon said. In spite of the progress made during the weekend, Langdon said he thinks it could be April at the earliest before the project is finished. Volunteers from Tri-City churches participating in the annual Sharefest community service event March 20 will help build more trail, and Langdon said any groups that might want to volunteer can e-mail him at [email protected]. The project Saturday and Sunday was a cooperative effort by the Washington Trails Association in Seattle, which provided the tools and helped supervise work, the Backcountry Horsemen and the Chinook Bicycle Club. A $2,000 grant from REI to Rattlesnake Ridge Riders is paying for the gravel, Langdon said. Among the volunteers Sunday were six new employees at the Kennewick REI who chose the trail construction for their team-building project as part of their orientation.

Friends of Badger Mountain needs workers for new trail

By John Trumbo, Herald staff writer

RICHLAND — Jim Langdon is operating on the premise that if enough people come, it will be built. As trailmaster for the Friends of Badger Mountain, Langdon hopes to have 100 volunteers on the mountain March 6-7 for a work party to dig about 1.4 miles of new trail. When completed, the new segment will connect to the existing trail to the summit, giving hikers a loop route from Trailhead Park on Queensgate Drive in Richland to the top and back. But Langdon would like to have a few more tons of gravel carried up the trail before the builders arrive. Everyone who hikes the trail during the next week will have a chance to carry one or two plastic buckets holding about 20 pounds of gravel about 100 yards to a temporary holding bin. Langdon tries to keep about 90 buckets with gravel ready to go at the trail's edge. A sign invites hikers to grab a bucket as they pass by. About 100 tons of gravel will be used to surface the new trail to help keep down dust and reduce erosion. The bucket brigade isn't part of the trail-building weekend, however. Langdon said he'll put as many volunteer hands as he can to work digging the trail. "I'd like to have 80 to 100 volunteers, and currently have 40," he said last week. Everyone who volunteers to work on the trail must sign up on the Friends of Badger Mountainwebsite or the Washington Trails Association website. A mandatory safety meeting will be held prior to the work, Langdon said. The project is a cooperative effort by the Washington Trails Association in Seattle, which is providing the tools and will help supervise, the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington and theChinook Cycling Club. Langdon said a grant from REI Kennewickto the Rattlesnake Ridge Riders Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen is paying for the gravel. Volunteers must bring their own lunch, water and work gloves. Long pants and boots are required. No tennis shoes or shorts will be allowed. Hard hats will be provided and are required for everyone who works on the trail.

State, group fail to reach price for Badger Mtn. land

Laura Kate Zaichkin, Herald staff writer

— Richland had to turn down $1.3 million from the state to help preserve 150 acres of ridgetop on Little Badger Mountain because negotiations with the property owner fell through, a city official said. "It's over, darn," said Phil Pinard, planning and capital projects manager for Richland's Parks and Recreation Department. "It's hard to give up when you do so well on your application." The city had submitted the proposal for funding to the state and was planning to match money raised by Friends of Badger Mountain so the nonprofit could try to purchase the land. Both the House and Senate budget proposals included $1.3 million for Richland's Parks and Recreation Department. But the combined funding wouldn't have been enough to meet the landowner's asking price of $5 million, and Richland developer Milo Bauder might not have been willing to sell now anyway, Pinard said. "It was kind of a long shot to start with," said Pinard, who told the Herald that the city had turned down the proposed state money. "There was never an agreement on the price." Bauder wouldn't comment on if the land was for sale, the asking price or any negotiations between him and the city or Friends of Badger Mountain, a nonprofit group working to preserve Tri-City area ridgetops. Sharon Grant, of Friends of Badger Mountain, said the group and a city official were going to try to negotiate with Bauder one more time on Friday, but Grant and city officials did not return messages left by the Herald on Friday afternoon.

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.

Protecting open spaces in the Tri-Cities

By John Trumbo, Herald staff writer

Everywhere he looks, Bob Spaulding sees the big picture for open spaces. That picture is in the canyons, on the hillsides, atop the ridges and along the rivers. It includes the community's tree-canopied parks and pockets of hard-to-build-on properties hemmed in by development. But the picture is getting smaller. Spaulding, who is chairman of the Kennewick Planning Commission, is not alone in sensing urgency about saving Tri-Cities open space. About 40 people met this week in Richland for a workshop held by the Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network of the Mid-Columbia to brainstorm ways to protect and connect open spaces. "We want to preserve, promote and enjoy what we have," said Scott Woodward, a workshop organizer. Tyler Heibeck came to the workshop as a relative newcomer to the Tri-Cities. "There is a lot of pride among the people here in the rivers and landscape," he said. Having moved from Boston two years ago, he appreciates the need to save open areas. Bostonians had the foresight 100 years ago to place large tracts of land into public trust, and today those acres are cherished open spaces, he said. Growth will continue and open spaces will be further reduced, Spaulding said. He's seen that in Arizona and San Diego, where he worked as a city planner, and in Seattle, where he grew up watching new homes inch up the slopes. "One of my missions is to raise community awareness about the issue," Spaulding said while giving a driving tour to show what is happening to Tri-Cities open spaces. "We need the community to stand up and express their thoughts about what they value. The community can help decide what is important," he said. Spaulding is passionate about open space, but he's also respectful of private property. He recognizes that landowners shouldn't be forced to surrender their right to develop without receiving benefit. The key is in how developers go about their business. Open space lacking As Spaulding steered along residential streets in Kennewick, he noted how some neighborhoods have a feel of open space that others lack. A road that meanders and dips as it follows the contour of the landscape gives a comfortable feel and visual experience not found a few blocks away. There, a wide street shoots a flat, straight line bordered by sidewalks and faced by garage doors at equal distance from the street. It is neat, but predictable, Spaulding said -- exactly what builders, bankers and real estate agents like because they are easy to build and to sell. But the design also is unimaginative and lacks a feel of openness. A few blocks later, Spaulding swung into a subdivision where the road flows around homes that were placed purposefully to save a wetland with tall trees. "This gives a sense of community," he said. A few miles west, Spaulding drove the gentle curves of Creekstone Drive. Curbs and sidewalks are incorporated into a pathway along an irrigation canal. Ridgetops above Panoramic Heights appear closer than they are, and the pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly design is enhanced by trees, shrubs and grass that soften the look of the street, fencing and buildings, he said. But the true open spaces -- the hillsides, ridges and canyons -- are a challenge for planners like Spaulding. One site is at the west end of West 26th Avenue in Panoramic Heights, where about 40 acres of untouched sloping shrub-steppe may soon be homes. The landowner could place the lots evenly over the property, building on steeper portions, or he could group the homes on flatter land, leaving steeper areas open. Spaulding said the developer would spend less on earth-moving if he left the slopes untouched, but each lot would be smaller. And that could reduce the developer's potential profit. Spaulding said city staff can't dictate the developer's choice. "We have various concepts and rules and statements (about encouraging open spaces and natural features of the land), but we haven't gone the extra step to incorporate them into a legal document that would give staff the ability to implement those vision statements," he said. Richland spaces lost What Kennewick is facing on its hillsides, Richland has already seen. Spaulding points to areas leveled by bulldozers on Little Badger Mountain, where homes stair-step up the slope. He said hillside development that follows the contours and uses flat spots, with roads going around instead of over the top of a ridge, respects open spaces and saves having to carve out benches and build massive retaining walls. "We need to create a sense of place by building while respecting the natural setting," Spaulding said. "It's not about hurting a private property owner, but looking at what the choices are and what we value," he added. But Lane Carrier, a Kennewick Parks and Recreation Commission member, is uneasy about pushing the open space concept on private property owners. "We can't dictate to the private individual as to what they have to do," he said. Instead, he would rather finish the ball fields at Southridge. "I'm more concerned about what we are going to do with the spaces we already have," he said. Open space, even privately owned, is important to Donna Lucas of West Richland. She said a neighbor's orchard allows her to "get away from the noise and all the people." Lucas talked at Thursday's workshop about the need for trails connecting open spaces. "West Richland isn't connected to anything," she said, citing the Tapteal Greenway Trail along the Yakima River and Horn Rapids Park. Most of those who attended the Richland workshop said trails and open space development should include unique sites with natural habitats, that are easy to get to and connect to other features. An online survey by the Open Space Network over the past three months showed more than 80 percent of the 360 people who responded use natural areas, parks and the rivers. The top five recreation activities listed were walking, wildlife watching, studying native plants, touring and cycling. Canoeing and kayaking also were favorites. Priorities listed The survey showed Red Mountain, Little Badger and Candy Mountain were highly rated to be saved as open space and Badger Mountain Preserve, Tapteal Greenway, Leslie Groves North Natural Area and Sacajawea State Park are the most frequently used open space areas. Respondents said the top open space priority should be expanding trails, followed by preserving important habitats and scenic views. Dick Rasp, a 20-year-resident of Kennewick who has been a planning commissioner for 51/2 years, said, "I'm not as passionate as Bob (Spaulding) for maintaining ridges, canyons and hillsides. I'm more interested in people using the parks we have." Rasp said Kennewick's smaller parks, known as pocket parks, seem underutilized. "We need to publicize them and find a way to connect them," he said, adding walking and bicycle paths could do that. "Our trail system (in Kennewick) is near to nothing except for Zintel Canyon," said Rasp, who also served 111/2 years on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. "We need more connectivity." The Playground of Dreams and Columbia Park have become jewels for the city, Rasp said, but more needs to be done elsewhere. "What we have in this area are a lot of interesting things but we take them for granted. Once they are built on it will be gone," he said.

Badger Mtn. group falls short in bid to buy additional land

A seven-month campaign to raise enough money to buy 150 acres of ridgetop on Little Badger Mountain and preserve it apparently isn't going to succeed. At least not this year. After receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 500 donors since the campaign launched in May, Friends of Badger Mountain admitted this week that they can't make their goal, and donors are welcome to ask for their money back. The nonprofit group, which has a goal of preserving ridgetops in the Tri-Cities, was trying to raise $1 million to use in negotiating a price for 150 acres atop Little Badger Mountain. The land is owned by Milo Bauder, a developer from Richland. "For a small group we've done pretty well, but we basically are far apart," said Debbie Berkowitz, the group's vice president. The group collected about $200,000 by mid-summer. Berkowitz said they were not announcing how much they had in hand now nor how much Bauder was asking, to "respect his request that it not be made public." An e-mail sent this week to all of the donors in the preservation effort thanked them for moral and financial support, but noted that goal was unattainable unless "an angel" steps forward with a large donation. "We had offered what we felt was an amount that we could comfortably raise. (Bauder) responded that our offer was too low, but (he would consider another offer)," the e-mail said. "After much soul searching, the board has regretfully concluded that the project is not currently viable," said Sharon Grant, president of the group, in the e-mail to the donors. Bauder told the Herald on Wednesday that he did not want to talk about the issue because he considers the negotiations ongoing. Grant's e-mail said the Friends' board is considering using the money to buy other land on the south side of Badger Mountain to preserve ridges and have more trails. But Grant said donors who gave specifically for acquiring property on Little Badger Mountain can ask to have their donations returned before the end of the 2008 tax year. Refund requests should be made in writing to Friends of Badger Mountain, 1701 Fanning Road, Pasco, WA 99301. For more information about the Friends of Badger Mountain and the project to buy land on Little Badger Mountain, go to

Hill climbing’ damages popular Badger Mountain trail

By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer

A popular hiking trail and natural habitat on Badger Mountain was severely torn up by a Kennewick man who said he was just out "doing some hill climbing" in his '85 Chevy truck. James Dunlap, 30, said he didn't set out to damage the Benton County park -- and in fact didn't even know it was a park. "I was unaware that it was illegal to go up there or anything like that," Dunlap said. "I was unaware there were trails on the hill. Why would anybody walk up a hill?" Benton County officials and Friends of Badger Mountain members, however, are in disbelief that someone would so callously destroy the land that was built by volunteers wanting to preserve the open space and scenic views in the area. "There's quite a lot of disappointment that people were actually so stupid to think they could tear up a place like that," said Jim Langdon, trailmaster for the Friends of Badger Mountain. "Why these guys felt they needed to be up there and four-wheel, I don't know." The trail's still open and is safe for hikers, but it'll take time and money to fix the damage, said Adam Fyall, Benton County's community development coordinator. "People are not allowed to go driving up there. There is an easement for operators of the tower, but at the bottom of the road there's a gate that says no unauthorized vehicles allowed," Fyall said. "Plus, it's a matter of common sense. ... People need to make sensible, responsible decisions and obey the rules." The destruction was reported to the sheriff's office at 7:15 a.m. Saturday after a hiker went about a quarter-mile up Canyon Trail and saw a white truck stuck in the gully below. The trail, which is lined with rocks weighing between 50 pounds and 200 pounds to keep the trail in place, was crossed at least three times. Several rocks were knocked off the trail, some falling quite a ways down the hill, Langdon said. Wide gouges and holes also were cut into the hillside's soft soil, he said. "We haven't fully figured out how to repair the damage yet," Langdon said. "The damage to the trail will have to wait until I get adequate soil moisture because it's all dusty up there. Replanting of native vegetation will take a while. "Most of it will be volunteer labor and there will be some costs associated with supplies," he added. The biggest challenge right now is figuring out how to remove Dunlap's truck from the ravine without causing more damage. The dirt is so soft and the gully is so steep, trying to tow it out will just tear up the ground even more, Langdon said. Lifting the truck out with a helicopter is likely the only solution that won't cause more damage, but the cost would be steep. Officials also don't know if the stuck truck poses any environmental hazards. "Not only has he torn up a big part of the mountain, we don't know if there's transmission fluid, oil, brake grease or more leaking out," Fyall said. "There's all kinds of things that have happened or still could happen. There's no quick fix." Sheriff's Lt. Brian White said Dunlap can expect to receive an infraction in the mail for taking a vehicle off the roadway in a designated county park or preserve. It wasn't clear how much the fine for that is, but White said the county also could request Dunlap be responsible for covering the cost of repairs. The sheriff's office also has forwarded the report to the prosecutor's office for a possible malicious mischief charge. No decision has been made yet. Dunlap said he didn't have any malicious intent when he and his brother went off-roading at 2 a.m. Saturday. He said they drove up a main road to the top of the hill, but didn't come across a gate or sign saying they couldn't be there. They were getting ready to drive back down when the brakes went out just as they crested the side of the hill, he said. "The truck didn't want to stop going. I slammed on the E-brake and we went down," he said. "I slid to the main trail and that's where the truck stopped. ... It was a wild ride." After fruitlessly trying to back the truck back up the hill, he tried backing it down through the ravine, but got stuck in a bunch of tumbleweeds. Dunlap said he's trying to see if he can run a bulldozer up the ravine to get the truck out, but Fyall said there's no way the county's going to let that happen. Dunlap plans to extract the truck this weekend. "I'm not going to destroy anything, and I'm going to fix anything I do," he said. "I didn't know there were trails up there. I guess I do now."

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; [email protected]