The John Wayne Pioneer Trail has a broad constituency, including those who value it as a link to the past or as a vital link across Washington for bicycling, hiking, or horseback riding. Despite this support, a large portion of this important public asset was nearly transferred to adjacent private landowners. State Representatives Joe Schmick (9th District) and Mary Dye (9th District) added last minute language to the capital budget bill that passed the Legislature in June 2015 with the intent of closing and transferring to adjacent property owners 120 miles of the John Wayne Trail between the Columbia River and Malden, along with part of the Columbia Plateau Trail. This effort was only thwarted by their inability to get the wording to match their intent. The stated reasons for the closure included low use, lack of weed control, illegal dumping, and trespassing.
Trail advocates in Tekoa, the Tekoa Trail Association, learned of this effort to close much of the trail in Eastern Washington in September. After sounding the alarm, the resulting outrage and dialogue has resulted in Rep. Schmick working with the Tekoa Trail Association to hold three informal public meetings to gather public input about the trail before he develops new legislation in January.
Tuesday, November 10th at 12 p.m. in Rosalia at the Community Center (7th St. and Whitman Ave.)
Monday, November 16th at 12 p.m. in Lind at Union Elevator Conference room (201 S street)
Monday, November 23rd at 6 p.m. in Ellensburg at Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St.)
Cascade Rail Foundation supports keeping the John Wayne Pioneer Trail intact, as well as the allocation of additional state resources for the maintenance and improvement of the entire trail.