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Road trip to save our state’s longest trail: Three meetings this month

IMG_2103The John Wayne Pioneer Trail (AKA the Iron Horse Trail) was one typo away from destruction this year. Not only do we need to protect it from another effort to give away the central half of the defunct rail right-of-way, but this should be a wake-up call to redouble our efforts as a state to develop it into the economic engine it could be.

The Tekoa Trail & Trestle Association has been working hard to keep pressure on their Representatives Mary Dye and Joe Schmick to drop the attempt to give the trail away and invest in it instead.

If you feel passionately about someday adventuring by bike through the heart of Washington State from Seattle to the Idaho border, you may want to plan a road trip to one of more of these listening sessions this month. The closest meeting to Seattle will be in Ellensburg November 23:

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  • Tuesday November 10th at 12pm: Rosalia, Community Center (7th St. and Whitman Ave.)
  • Monday November 16th at 12pm: Lind, Union Elevator Conference room (201 S Street)
  • Monday November 23rd at 6pm: Ellensburg, Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St.)

Sadly, you can’t bike to the Ellensburg meeting, since the Snoqualmie Tunnel closed November 1 for the winter, according to a State Parks phone message.

If you can’t attend, you can email comments to [email protected].

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14 responses to “Road trip to save our state’s longest trail: Three meetings this month”

  1. bill

    Actually you can ride to Ellensburg without the Snoqualmie tunnel, using Denny Creek Rd aka Forest Road 58. You have to ride a couple of miles on the freeway between exits 38 and 42 but the shoulders are good. In late November there is no guarantee FR-58 will be open, or that it will be a pleasant ride! Arriving on bikes from Seattle would underline the seriousness of one’s interest in someday the eastern part of the trail.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      You’re right, I apologize for saying you CAN’T bike somewhere. That’s totally not my style. I meant that you can’t bike the trail the whole way, but I wasn’t specific enough. Thanks for the alternate route!

  2. Josh

    When does the I-90 closure end, anyway? It was originally supposed to be 2009-2015, but 2015 is almost over…

  3. Jack Nolan

    Thanks for covering this.

    Just realizing I have that Monday off. May make that trip.

  4. Gary

    I can’t go, so thanks for the comment email address. These railbeds are priceless.

  5. Matthew Snyder

    Does anyone know if the gates on the Snoqualmie tunnel have been closed and locked? Or is it just “administratively closed” but still accessible? I heard there was some fairly substantial flooding at Hyak 1-2 weeks ago, but if the gates are still open, it might be a fun (if muddy) ride.

  6. Josh

    They usually close and lock those big tall gates. You can climb them and run through, but I don’t know about hucking a bike over. And they do actually close for safety reasons, falling ice formed on the ceiling and whatnot in winter.

  7. Dave Thurman

    At what time is the meeting in Ellensburg on Nov 23rd?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Monday November 23rd at 6pm: Ellensburg, Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St.)

  8. Vancouver WA

    Tom, who is convening the “listening sessions,” who will attend those (as listeners), and who reads that jwtcomments@ email? Knowing the audience might help frame my message to them (beyond just please, please, please!). Thanks!

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, and Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. Story from the first meeting gives you an idea of who is there and what’s being said: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/nov/11/john-wayne-trail-irreplaceable-asset-for-eastern-w/

  9. Chip Andrus

    I was at the Rosalia meeting and thought it went well. Over 100 people showed up with about three-fifths in favor of keeping the trail open and increasing the funding to resolve user and landowner issues. The meeting was moderated by a county councilman who did a good job of keeping things moving. Almost everyone in the room got their say — the time limit for each person was about three minutes. In general, people were respectful of each other in spite of any differences they may have had on the issue.

    I’m concerned about Monday’s meeting (November 16th) in Lind. Due to the time of day (12:00) and it being held far away from a population center, the meeting is likely to be dominated by the landowners adjacent to the trail. It is the section of trail that goes through Lind (and west to the Columbia River) that the adjacent landowners are most adamant about getting shut down. If anyone who is a trail supporter could attend Monday’s meeting it would certainly help. In my mind, the main focus should be on getting enough money appropriated to state parks so that they can seriously address the issues most on the mind of the adjacent landowners (weed control, illegal dumping, vandalism, trespass). The meeting is being held at the Union Elevator conference room (201 S Street). The following week on Monday November 23rd will be the meeting in Ellensburg. It will start at 6pm at the Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St).

  10. bill

    It is hard not to take a cynical view of the locations and times of these meetings. Not many people from the west side of the state are going to drive over the mountains in winter weather in order to go to Lind or even Ellensburg.

  11. Judy Worley Madden

    I worked with the founder, Chic Hollenbeck, I was a trail boss, or co-boss 18 years for the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons & Riders. Chic saw the possibilities this trail could engender, and cast the vision. We’ve welcomed people from all walks of life, taken hikers, bicyclists with us. Also people from many countries and states, always being respectful of land owners. Our hosts are deeply appreciated on various ranches, many relationships have been fostered, through thousands of volunteer man hours, enhancing the trail, and communities we go through. Whole towns have designed their annual festival around the wagon train coming through, and make us their guest of honor.
    We welcome coalitions for the people of this state to enjoy the mother of all trails, the founding trail from which Wash. state is a role model to other states. The history and changes of terrain we enjoy are unsurpassed by any other state in the union. Judy

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