In the News

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