Loop Trail News & Happings Around The Trail - Wenatchee, Washington USA

Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
News And Happings Around The Trail

Wenatchee, Washington USA

( Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail Index Page )

Agencies Ask WSDOT To Preserve Loop Trail Land

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Douglas County and East Wenatchee officials are asking the state to preserve
the river shoreline and at least 100 feet of the sage, grass and woodlands on
the east side of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

Douglas County commissioners and the East Wenatchee City Council sent a letter
to the state last month asking it not to surplus the land from the trail to the
shoreline, and 100 feet east of the trail.

The state Department of Transportation will consider the request over the next
few months as it decides whether to auction off the 200-acre strip of land between
the Odabashian and the Sen. George Sellar bridges.

In 2007, DOT Secretary Paula Hammond said she would designate the trail
as part of the areas highway system. Its the land surrounding the trail
thats still in question.

The DOT has owned the land since the 1950s. The state Legislature told the DOT
in 2008 to prepare a list of unused properties for the auction block. The plan
is to offer up to 20 properties for auction two to four times a year, said Mike
Palazzo, real estate services manager at DOT headquarters.

The DOT hasnt declared the property as surplus yet, but the agency has two months
to update the surplus list. The first list included nearly 270 properties, assessed
at $42 million, Palazzo said.

If the Douglas County property makes the updated list, the land will go through
a lengthy review process to determine if the DOT might need the property and how
the agency should sell it on the market. Local DOT officials say that some parts
of the property may still be needed for storm water drainage and the DOTs Highway
28 widening project.

Even if we were told to do it today and we started today, wed be lucky to
auction it in the next calendar year, Palazzo said. Its a complicated property
with complicated valuations and variety.

The zoning is mostly commercial residential, so any private
developers who bid for the land could build homes or businesses.

In the meantime, Douglas County and the city of East Wenatchee have not had the
money or staff time to create a long term plan for the property. The study will
include future upgrades to the trail, potential development, urban infrastructure
and any public needs for that land in the future, said Lori Barnett, East Wenatchee
community development director. She guessed the plan would cost between $60,000 and
$150,000 to finish. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette said she believes the master plan is
necessary in helping protect it from being sold.

We were told three years ago that eventually land across the state of Washington
owned by the DOT may be surplussed, Evans Parlette said. We need enough evidence
that were moving ahead and why we don’t want them to surplus it.

The commissioners and City Council held a joint meeting in late September to
draft its request to DOT. In a City Council meeting the next day, the council
members agreed to draft a request that preserved 50 feet east of the trail and
to the shoreline. The commissioners later extended the request to 100 feet.
In the meantime, the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council awarded a $268,000
grant to the county and city to improve the trail. The county and city are planning
to build a landscaped plaza at the bottom of 9th Street in East Wenatchee.

The county is also planning to redirect part of the trail and
straighten out a sharp U curve near 32nd Place Northwest.

The projects should be finished this year, well before any decision is made
to surplus, said Jeff Wilkens, executive director of the transportation council.

Trail Opponents Take A Last Stand

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Orchardists who want to stop the Rocky Reach trail extension
have appealed their case to the state Supreme Court.

This is the last stand for them, Douglas County Prosecutor Steve Clem
said of the March 22 appeal by orchardists Jack Feil and John Tontz
and the Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats.

The five-mile-trail extension, expected to cost $4 million
to complete, has been in the works since the early 1990s.

Since that time, the farmers have fought before various governmental
bodies and in court. In the most recent legal challenge, the farmers
asked the state Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling to uphold
Douglas Countys decision to create a recreational overlay district
for the trail through an agricultural area of long-term commercial
significance. -- That request was denied Feb. 19.

The real issue here is can the government put a pet project through
a long-term commercial agricultural area when everyone else is restricted
from developing the same area? said Jim Klauser of Olympia, one of the
farmers attorneys.

He said a 2000 state Supreme Court decision involving King County and Central
Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board found that agricultural land is
of supreme importance compared with a recreational area, and must be protected.

Klauser said he thinks there is a good chance that the high court will
hear the case because he said the trail is in direct conflict with the
states Growth Management Act.

Jim Schwartz, an assistant attorney general in Olympia representing
the state Parks and Recreation Commission, disagreed.

He said that in order for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court,
they (the farmers) have to show that there is a significant conflict of law.

Schwartz said the King County case is a different kind of case
than the current case and that there is no constitutional conflict.

The project could go forward as early as this month, Bill Fraser,
the trail extension project manager for State Parks, said in February.

We cant go anywhere until the court decides, he said.

The trail would connect the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
at Odabashian Bridge with Lincoln Rock State Park.

Clem said the court could do one of two things: deny the petition outright, or
If they do accept the case, it could take years to for them to make a decision.

Board Bets On Rocky Reach Trail Extension

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council board has named the Rocky Reach
trail extension as its No. 1 pick to compete statewide for federal money.

The state Department of Transportation allocated $3 million for an enhancement,
or non-traditional highway project, from the Wenatchee Valley, said Jeff Wilkens,
executive director of WVTC.

The board on Feb. 24 agreed unanimously to submit the five-mile-trail extension
between the Odabashian Bridge north of East Wenatchee to Lincoln Rock State Park
that has been in the works since the early 1990s. The project is expected to cost
$4 million to complete and the board requested $2.7 million.

Bill Fraser, the trail extension project manager for State Parks, said the
project so far has $365,000 in commitments from the DOT, $153,000 budgeted
through State Parks, a $500,000 Chelan County PUD grant and about $200,000
from Complete the Loop Coalition members.

Fraser said that if the $2.7 million grant could be secured,
the project could go forward as early as this April.

The project has faced strong opposition from orchardists Jack Feil and John
Tontz and the Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats. In the most recent
legal challenge, opponents asked the Court of Appeals on Dec. 21 to reconsider
its ruling to uphold Douglas County’s decision to create a recreational overlay
district for the trail.

Steve Clem, prosecutor for Douglas County, said the
court denied the request for reconsideration on Feb. 19.

Tontz, speaking from Yuma, Ariz., on Monday, said that they would be taking
the case to the Washington Supreme Court after filing with the court in the
next few weeks. This will be the third time the group has asked the state
Supreme Court to hear their case.

He said his problem with the trail is that it interferes with his property
value, and he wishes the trail was going to be farther east, away from the
Columbia River.

Just think if you had three-quarters of a mile of riverfront property, and
one day you get tired of farming and maybe your kids decide to build a home
down there, Tontz said. Now would you want a bike trail between your front
porch and the river?

Trail Supporters Shaking The Dust Off

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Washington State Parks and local trail supporters are moving forward
again with plans to build a new trail north of East Wenatchee.

The project an extension of the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail has
been mired in legal challenges for years. But a recent court ruling has
proponents dusting off the construction plans and restarting fundraising
efforts for the $2 million to $4 million project.

State Parks hopes to break ground on the 5-mile Rocky Reach Trail in fall 2011.
It would run from the Odabashian Bridge north to Lincoln Rock State Park.

Complete the Loop Coalition members are meeting tonight to get a fix on
how much money is still available for the project and how much is needed.

Were getting to know each other again, said Coalition President
Bob Parlette. Its been three to four years since weve done anything.

Bill Fraser, the trail extension project manager for State Parks,
said the agency stopped most planning work on the project in 2000,
when legal challenges began.

Orchardists Jack Feil and John Tontz and the Right to Farm Association of
Baker Flats have appealed the project to Douglas County Superior Court, the
Shoreline Hearings Board, the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings
Board, the state Court of Appeals and twice to the state Supreme Court.

The opponents have argued that the trail would
be a detriment to agriculture in Baker Flats.

Last December, the appellate court rejected their latest appeal. The court
upheld Douglas County’s decision to create a recreational overlay district
for the trail and confirmed a Douglas County Superior Court ruling that
dismissed the orchardists’ challenge of the overlay district.

Opponents asked the Court of Appeals on Dec. 21 to reconsider the ruling.
The court is expected to issue a decision at any time. However, trail opponents
and State Parks and Douglas County officials say they do not expect the court
to hear the case again.

Fraser said that over the next few months State Parks will be working on
redesigning the original trail proposal, which was developed in the late 1990s.

He said the Chelan County PUD has since built a security building near
Rocky Reach Dam where the trail was supposed to be built. That portion
of the trail will now have to be rerouted.

In addition, he said a pedestrian interchange built near the Odabashian
Bridge by the state Department of Transportation last year will alter
the southern portion of the trail extension.

It eliminates about 1,000 feet of trail from our project,
Fraser said. We will have a new starting point.

He said some of the state and county permits issued for the
project have expired, but can be extended without much trouble.

Fraser said funding that had been earmarked for the project is long gone.
So the agency will be applying for grants from the state Recreation and
Conservation Office and may also be applying for capital improvements
from State Parks.

Parlette said he needs to find out if there is any money left from two DOT
grants awarded for the extension project. He also wants to see if a $500,000
grant from the Chelan County PUD is still available.

The Complete the Loop Coalition still has $200,000 left over from a fundraiser
15 years ago for the project, he said, and there is another $50,000 earmarked
for the project from the estate of the late Gordon Congdon Sr., a Wenatchee
doctor who was a strong supporter of developing the Loop Trail system.

Fraser, who has been heading up the trail extension project since 1995,
said hes looking forward to getting it completed. Were looking for a little
celebration out there sometime soon, he added.

Trail-Extension Opponents Lose Appeal

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Courts decision will stretch Loop by 5.1 miles.

The state Court of Appeals has upheld the approval of
the Rocky Reach trail extension north of East Wenatchee.

In a ruling published Thursday, the appelate court rejected an appeal filed by
orchardists Jack Feil, John Tontz and the Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats.

The court also ruled they must pay attorneys fees Douglas County and
Washington State Parks incurred fighting the appeal over the last year.

Im on Cloud 9, said Wenatchee attorney Bob Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete
the Loop Coalition, which has been advocating the trail extension for more than a
decade. Frankly, I was always confident we would prevail. But this has been going
on for 15 years and its a huge relief to have it over with.

Feil said this morning he was unaware of the courts decision and had not read
it yet. He said the trail opponents will explore their options, and may ask the
state Supreme Court to review the Appeals Court decision.

Im disappointed, thats all I can say for now, he said. They
(the county) wanted to preserve farmland and didnt do it.

They have spent the last five years fighting Douglas Countys approval of a
recreational overlay district that would allow construction of a 5-mile trail
from the Odabashian Bridge north to Lincoln Rock State Park. The trail would
run through orchards on state Department of Transportation land that are leased
by area orchardists, and require the removal of 24 acres of fruit trees.

Opponents argued it would be a detriment to agriculture in Baker Flats. They have
filed numerous appeals and lawsuits since 2004 in Douglas County Superior Court,
the Shoreline Hearings Board, the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings
Board and twice to the state Supreme Court.

In November 2008, they filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court. In their appeal,
trail opponents argued that Douglas County violated county and state regulations by
approving the formation of the recreation district for the trail; that county
commissioners did not have adequate evidence to support their approval of the
district; and that the county and East Wenatchee comprehensive plans are void
because they approve activities in agriculture areas that are not allowed under
state law.

The high court declined to hear the case and remanded it to the Court of Appeals.
The appellate court heard oral arguments on the appeal on Oct. 12 in Spokane.

In a 17-page ruling, the three court judges were unanimous in affirming the county
commissioners decision to create the recreational district and upholding a Douglas
County Superior Court ruling that dismissed the orchardists challenge of the decision.

Were pleased, Douglas County Prosecutor Steve Clem said today. The court found
that our legal reasoning was sound and that the decision made by the board of
county commissioners was based upon the record before them and had substantial
evidence supporting their decision.

If the opponents do not take their fight to the states high court, it will now be
up to Washington State Parks to move forward with the trail project. Clem said the
state has a permit to move forward.

But Parlette said funding may now be an issue. He said five years ago, before
the challenges began, all the money had been raised for the $1.2 million project.
But some of the grants have since expired. At least three grants totaling more
than $500,000 are no longer available for the project, he said.

The Complete the Loop Coalition, which has been in hibernation through the legal
challenges, will now regroup and begin fundraising, Parlette said. He added that
the Coalition still has about $200,000 for the project.

The big work is to go raise the money we need now, he said.
Its a different economy now.

Parlette said that despite the prolonged legal battles, he hopes
Baker Flats farmers will still participate in the trail project.

I never envisioned this would cause a split between the fruit industry and
recreational users, he said. Its a wonderful opportunity to have an interpretive
trail that explains the difficulties farmers have producing fruit in Eastern
Washington and particularly along the margins of a city.

Bicyclist Injured On The Loop Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Gary Rounds, 54, of Wenatchee, was in critical condition at Harborview
Medical Center this morning with head injuries after he collided with
another cyclist on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The accident, which occurred on a bend on the Eastside section of the trail,
happened about 9 a.m. Tuesday, said Dan Reierson, assistant chief of the East
Wenatchee Police Department. Rounds was not wearing a helmet.

The other bicyclist, whose name was not available, did not have significant
injuries and was not transported to a hospital, Reierson said.

Shortcuts Over Train Tracks Not An Option

Wenatchee, Washington --

Photo - A boy crosses the railroad tracks in south Wenatchee on Tuesday
to access the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail and the Pipeline Bridge.
If caught, he could be fined for trespassing on railroad property.

Inconvenient or not, anyone walking over Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
to get to the Pipeline Bridge could face a $250 criminal trespass fine.

The sidewalks on Sen. George Sellar Bridge have been closed since construction
began in May, and some people have been accessing the Pipeline Bridge by crossing
the railroad tracks.

But as Stevan Ruelaf, 34, of East Wenatchee,
learned that shortcut could cost you.

Ruelaf, who has no vehicle, was visiting his father at WorkSource at
215 Bridge St. in Wenatchee on Monday. He said normally he would walk
back to East Wenatchee over the Sellar Bridge. Since thats not an option,
Ruelaf said he crossed the tracks because the only other route was to
walk to the Thurston Street railroad crossing.

Thats way out of my way, he said.
Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF in Seattle, said the railroad has been
strictly enforcing the law for years, adding that the only legal way to
cross tracks is at street crossings. He wouldnt speak to whether incidents
have increased in Wenatchee since the Sellars bridge sidewalks closed.

BNSF does not allow trespassing on its property, he said. Its illegal.
Its illegal whether no trespassing signs are posted or not. For years
people have been going under, through and around fences to cross the
tracks. But it is illegal and the fine averages about $250. The bottom
line is we do not want anyone to get hurt.

Melonas said in the past 15 years in Washington, about 15 trespassers have
been killed by trains annually on BNSF tracks. It is so dangerous for people,
he said.

Melonas wouldnt get into details about Ruelafs fine, but said an
unidentified BNSF officer observed Ruelaf stepping onto a wheel
of a stopped train, and climbing between two railroad cars.

Ruelaf denied that he climbed between two cars.

But Melonas said it doesnt matter if someone walked across
the tracks or between railroad cars. - Both are illegal.

New Loop Trail Trailhead At Odabashian Bridge

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Photo - Genaro Castaneda of Granite Northwest Incorporated uses a grader
to level out crushed rock to form the base for the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail extension to 37th Street Northwest in East Wenatchee. This photo
was taken from the east side of the Odabashian Bridge looking south.

Soon it will be a lot safer to access at the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail on the east side of the Columbia River.

Currently to access the trail from north of the Odabashian Bridge,
users have to cross Highway 2/97, which can be dangerous when theres
a lot of traffic. The state Department of Transportation is working
to fix that by creating a new trailhead and access under the bridge.

Really, it is a method for getting folks that live north of the Highway 2
area access to the trail where they dont have to ride across the highway
on a bike or walk across it," said Kevin Waligorski, a project engineer
with the DOT.

The connection will split away from the trail south of the bridge and
head northwest a short distance. It then will drop under the bridge
and head northeast to connect with 37th Street Northwest.

A lot of people who access the trail in that area end up going under the
bridge anyway, so we are providing a better way for them to do that,
Waligorski said. Near the trailhead, there will be a small parking lot
with enough room for nine cars.

The $419,000 project, funded by the state gas tax, started
June 22 and is expected to be complete by the end of this month.

Last year a similar pedestrian safety project was completed on the west
side of the trail. DOT crews built a bridge next to the railroad bridge on
Highway 2/97 and extended the Loop Trail west where it connected with
Highway 97A and Euclid Avenue across from the Washington State Apple
Commission Visitor Center. That project cost $1.84 million and was also
funded by gas tax dollars.

Opening The Loop Trail Open House August 4th

East Wenatchee, Washington --

A public meeting, called the Eastside Shoreline Exhibit and Riverside Social.
When: August 4th 2009 From 4-8 p.m. Where: Douglas County Public Services
building in East Wenatchee, near the loop trail access on 19th Street..............

Its more than a trail. Thats how Douglas County and East Wenatchee
officials want you to think about the portion of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail that is on the east side of the Columbia River.

City and county officials are working with a tight deadline to develop
a master plan for the 400 acres of the trail between 13th Street Northwest
and the Odabashian Bridge thats currently owned by the state Department of
transportation, said Mark Kulaas, land services director for Douglas County.

It really is more than a trail, Kulaas said. Its a commuter route.
Its a beautiful community setting with natural features. Its something
that provides areas of natural habitat, recreation and a sense of community.

In 2007 the DOT announced it intends to sell the 400 acres. A proposal
to sell the land will be a part of supplement to the DOTs budget that will
be prepared in September. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee,
urged county and city officials to work together to create a master plan
for the trail so she will be able to present a vision for the land to the DOT.

In May the city and county approached the Douglas County Regional Council
and got approval to hire local consulting company Project Groundwork to help
create the master plan. The regional council consists of one elected official
from each of the cities/towns and the three Douglas County commissioners.

Were moving along pretty fast because we have to, Kulaas said. Were working
to create a definition of what the trail should be as decided on by the community
so Senator Parlette can have something that represents a clear idea of what the
community wants.

The plan could include creating new access points, changing the width of
the trail and rerouting it to preserve animal habitats. The land is zoned for
mixed use which means condominiums, retail shops and restaurants could
go in the area.

Kulaas said his department and others are currently working with groups
that are stakeholders in the trail developers, sports clubs, homebuilders
and others to develop the plan.

Due to the time constraint, a lot of broader ideas will be included in the
master plan and more specific recommendations might be discussed after the
plan is created.

Were doing a lot of big-picture thinking. We dont have a lot of
time to linger on things from a real close-up view, Kulaas said.

A public open house is set for Aug. 4. Kulaas said the plan is
expected to be complete Aug. 25 to meet the September deadline.

Project Groundwork also has set up www.morethanatrail.com

Its something were trying for the first time. Well see how it goes,
Kulaas said about the county using Facebook as a tool for government.

Closer To Reimbursement Pipeline Bridge Repairs

Wenatchee, Washington --

City officials spoke with groups that use the Pipeline Bridge Tuesday
night in an effort to find ways those groups help the city of Wenatchee
can pay for some of the $102,000 in repair work to the bridge.

Ideas mentioned at the public meeting ranged from offering a challenge
grant to approaching service clubs for money. Just today, with these
ideas, we are getting pretty close, said Allison Williams, the citys
executive services director. "These are all great ideas and all very doable.

Bob Parlette of the Complete the Loop Coalition said his group would
offer up a challenge grant of $5,000 if the city of East Wenatchee
would give twice as much.

They have to be a player in this thing, Parlette said. East Wenatchee
starts halfway across the bridge and so does Wenatchee, so they both
should be players. Last week, the city of Wenatchee requested $10,000
from East Wenatchee to help with the repair costs. The East Wenatchee
City Council said it would address the request at a future budget
committee meeting.

The bridge repairs cost $268,000. The city of Wenatchee agreed to chip
in $102,000 and the Wenatchee Reclamation District is paying for the rest.
The reclamation district, an irrigation utility, owns the 101-year-old bridge
that houses a 46-inch irrigation pipe that carries water to 4,000 acres of
farmland in Douglas County. The bridge can be used as part of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail because the city of Wenatchee assumes liability.

The city has already received $50,000 from various organizations.

Basically, were committed for all of the funding but we dont have all the
money, Williams said. She added that the city would likely take the money
out of the parks and trails fund in future budgets if it did not get enough
support from local agencies and user groups. The parks and trails fund gets
about $3,000 a year.

Security Cameras Help Nab Bridge Vandals

East Wenatchee, Washington --

East Wenatchee police found and arrested two men for breaking lights on
the Pedestrian Bridge early Saturday morning, thanks to security cameras.

RiverCom dispatchers, who routinely monitor security cameras around the
community, noticed the two men breaking lights on the bridge, where cameras
are installed, said East Wenatchee police officer Christy Patterson.

When police arrived at the bridge, the dispatchers watched the men on camera
as they jumped a fence and hid behind the large pipeline on the bridge. The
dispatchers were able to direct police to their location, Patterson said.

Two men from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, were booked into the Chelan County
Regional Justice Center on suspicion of second-degree malicious mischief.

Rocky Reach Trail Extension Makes Funding List

Wenatchee, Washington --

While two local sides continue to battle over the Rocky Reach trail extension
in court, the state House and Senate both put aside $168,000 for the project
in their capital budgets released Wednesday.

If approved, the money would pay for design updates and permits that have
expired since Douglas County commissioners approved the project a year ago.

The commissioners' decision would have allowed the state Parks and Recreation
Commission to build a 5.1-mile extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop
Trail between Odabashian Bridge and Lincoln Rock State Park, near Rocky Reach Dam.

The Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats challenged the county's decision
in court, saying the trail would interfere with their operations and destroy
24 acres of mature trees.

Last August, Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss
ruled in favor of the county. The orchardist group appealed.

The Washington State Supreme Court is still determining whether to hear
the case or refer it to the Court of Appeals, said Jim Harris, regional
director for Washington State Parks.

"This is just to allow us to be prepared to move forward in a timely
manner if we do prevail in court," Harris said of the $168,000 request.

Columbia River Pedestrian Bridge Work Continues

East Wenatchee, Washington --

The Columbia River pedestrian bridge is undergoing a 90-day repair
project that cost $268,245. The project is in its final stage, which
involves stabilization work on lateral bracing underneath the bridge.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of the month,
according to Rick Smith, manager of the Wenatchee Reclamation District.

Irrigation water will be turned on and sent through the pipeline Monday.
The city of Wenatchee committed $102,000 for the project and the Reclamation
District is footing the bill for the rest.

The city is currently asking for help from other county, city
and user groups that have a stake in the bridge’s operation.

Pipeline Bridge In Pretty Dang Good Shape

Wenatchee, Washington --

Good news for fans of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail:
the 100-year-old pipeline bridge isn’t as feeble as feared.

The most thorough engineering study of the bridge to date recommends
relatively minor repairs in order for it to stay open to pedestrians.
The study will be presented to local leaders at a Nov. 25 meeting.

The bridge was the first to carry vehicles across the Columbia River.
These days it carries a big irrigation pipe and the Loop Trail.

A study done in 2007 led officials to think the bridge as it is could be
done for — that to stay open it would basically have to be rebuilt. While
the 2007 study indicated the bridge was in bad shape, it also recommended
that a more-thorough engineering analysis of the structure be carried out
before passing judgement on the span’s condition.

All in all it looks pretty good, said Wenatchee co-Public Works
Director Steve King. The bridge is in pretty dang good shape.

The main repair needed is strengthening, or replacing, some steel cables in
the middle of the bridge. Some pins and beams also need fixing. If people are
going to keep on using the bridge, repairs should be done before the 46-inch
irrigation pipe fills up with water next spring, the study recommended.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation utility, owns the bridge,
but the city is the main mover on the issue. The reclamation district supplies
irrigation water to 4,000 acres of farmland in Douglas County. A deal between
the reclamation district and the city says people can use the bridge as long as the
city takes on the liability. Several jurisdictions, including the city of East Wenatchee,
Link Transit and the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council, helped pay for
the latest study, which cost $156,000.

The cost of the needed repairs isn’t nailed down but Wenatchee Mayor Dennis
Johnson said the bill should be between $125,000 and $350,000. A decision to
do the repairs or close the bridge to pedestrians hasn’t been made.

The bridge hasn’t been maintained since the Wenatchee Reclamation District
took ownership of it in 1951, when the Sen. George Sellar Bridge opened.
Based on the negative conclusions of the 2007 study, Wenatchee in January
imposed a 20-person load limit and required groups wanting to use the bridge
for a function — say a bike race — to take out $1 million insurance policies.

While the immediate needed aren’t huge, compared to what was feared, the bridge
before long needs painting. That job could cost more than $1 million, King said.
Paint provides a protective layer that wards off rust and corrosion. The span
has never been repainted.

Also, the soundness of the pillars of the bridge isn’t yet clear. King said the
study recommends analysis of the bases at the bottom of the river. State Department
of Transportation divers in August took a cursory look when they were here to examine
the Sellar Bridge. A diver said he was mesmerized by the sheer size of the voids he saw
in the piers — places where it looks like concrete has washed away over the years.

Rocky Reach Trail Extension Fight Continued

East Wenatchee, Washington --

The Rocky Reach trail extension fight continued on Thursday
when opponents filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The appeal was filed on behalf of Jack Feil, John Tontz and the Right
to Farm Association of Baker Flats, according to their Seattle attorney,
Jim Klauser.

“This is the last shot they have,” trail advocate and Wenatchee attorney
Bob Parlette said Thursday in expressing his disappointment over the appeal.
Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition, has lobbied for
years to get the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail extension built from
the Odabashian Bridge north to Lincoln Rock State Park.

Klauser said the appeal challenges a ruling by Douglas County Superior
Court Judge John Hotchkiss that would allow the extension. Hotchkiss ruled in
August the Right to Farm group failed to prove Douglas County commissioners
committed any error in their March 25 approval of the project.

The commissioners approved a permit allowing the state Parks and Recreation
Commission to build the 5.1-mile extension on state Department of Transportation
and Chelan County PUD rights of way.

Four miles of the proposed trail would go through land county commissioners
previously designated as an “agricultural resource area of long-term commercial
significance” under the state Growth Management Act.

“I was really hoping this was all over,” Douglas County
Commission Chairman Ken Stanton said this morning.

The decision we (commissioners) made was made on the basis of law,
the basis of facts, and the basis that State Parks had done everything
that was required by law,” he said. “The Right to Farm group certainly
has the right to appeal. But I would really like to see this finalized
sometime. It should be open after that (Supreme Court) decision is made.

Stanton said every appeal so far of the commissioners’ decision has been
upheld and he is optimistic that the Supreme Court will also rule in the
county’s favor.

Klauser said the trail opponents chose to take their appeal to the states
highest court, rather than the Court of Appeals, because Hotchkiss cited
a previous state court ruling in siding with the trail.

Klaus said the Supreme Court has essentially created a conflict of law with
two decisions regarding agriculture lands — one that prevented soccer fields
from being built in an agriculture zone and another that allowed site-specific
rezones of agriculture lands. So he said the high court is the logical choice
for hearing the trail extension appeal.

However, the Supreme Court may ultimately decide not to hear
the case and send it down to the Court of Appeals, he said.

Klauser said the key argument of opponents is that building
the trail would jeopardize farming in Baker Flats.

The purpose of the (agriculture) designation is not to protect Jack Feil
or to prevent a trail; it’s to protect the agriculture industry in Washington
state, he said. “This decision by Judge Hotchkiss does not protect the ag
industry in Baker Flats. This decision puts every farm at risk.

Parlette, who has been pushing for more than a dozen years to get the
extension built, said no one wants to harm agriculture in Baker Flats.
But he said the trail will be built on state lands and the county does
not have the right to designate transportation right of way as agriculture land.

Im confident that State Parks, the Department of
Transportation and Douglas County will prevail, he said.

Loop Trail Project Under Way Another In Limbo

Wenatchee, Washington --

Construction of a pedestrian bridge and an extension of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail in Olds Station started this week, but a pending project
to improve the trail on the east end of Odabashian Bridge has been put on hold.

The new 183-foot bridge will connect the west end of the Odabashian Bridge
with the trail. Presently, to travel between the bridge and the trail, users must
cross four lanes of highway or cross railroad tracks. Also due to be built is a
trail connection running from the main trail at Odabashian Bridge to Euclid
Avenue, near the Washington State Apple Commission Visitor Center.

State Department of Transportation engineer Kevin Waligorski
said the $1.2 million job should be completed by Thanksgiving.

Another project to improve safety and mobility on the east side of the river is
scheduled to start this month but could be put off because of a departmentwide
reprioritization of projects in the wake of drastically declining gas tax revenues,
Waligorski said.

The $420,000 project would extend the Loop Trail north, taking users under the
Odabashian Bridge to meet up with roads and trails to the north. As it is, users must
cross the highway to get to the north side. Money was set aside for the work, but
DOT’s re-evaluation means the project currently doesn’t have the green light, said
Jeff Adamson, DOT spokesman for North Central Washington. However, the project
is still scheduled to go to bid August 11th, 2008 he said. That bid date is five
months behind the original schedule.

Shooting Incident On Loop Trail One Dead

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Authorities are investigating an apparent double shooting
this morning near the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The shooting victims are a woman and a young boy,
said East Wenatchee Police Chief Randy Harrison.

The woman is dead, Harrison said. The chief said investigators
believe only the woman and boy were involved in the shootings.

The relationship, if any, between the woman and boy was not known
late this morning. Investigators recovered a 9mm handgun, personal
identification and a handwritten note at the scene, Harrison said.

There were few details available, but a boy was loaded
into an ambulance and taken to Central Washington Hospital.

The shooting was reported about 9:30 a.m. near the trail and
19th Street Northwest. A passerby walking his dog reportedly
heard gunshots and a female scream.

The shootings took place between the loop trail and the Columbia River.

An autopsy will be performed on the woman.

Apple Capital Loop Trail Work To Begin Monday

Wenatchee, Washington --

A portion of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail from
the Orondo Avenue boat launch south to the end of Riverfront
Park will be repaved Monday through Thursday.

Trail users may be asked to detour during work hours, but the
trail will be open evenings and within a few hours after paving
is finished, the Chelan County PUD announced in a news release.

MOE Asphalt of Wenatchee will do the work, estimated at $42,000.

Apple Capital Loop Pedestrian Bridge Closed

Wenatchee, Washington --

Apple Capital Loop trail users will find the Columbia River
Pedestrian Bridge closed during work hours this week through
Thursday, while a bridge inspection team is working.

The inspection is the result of a preliminary engineering study
last year that suggested the 100 year old pipeline bridge may be
nearing the end of its usefullness because of rusted joints and
other issues.

Orchardists Filed Appeals On Rocky Reach Trail Extension

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Orchardists filed appeals Monday of the Douglas County
Commission's March 25 approval of the Rocky Reach trail extension.

Jack Feil and John Tontz and the Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats
filed the appeals in Douglas County Superior Court in Waterville and before
the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board in Yakima. Named
as defendants in both actions are Douglas County, county commissioners, the state
Department of Transportation, State Parks and Chelan County PUD.

Courts, in two prior appeals, have sent the trail project back to Douglas
County because the county failed to follow zoning code, James Klauser, a
Seattle attorney representing the growers, said in a news release.

The appeals allege that county commissioners violated state and county land-use
laws and ignored the latest Superior Court ruling, two recent state Supreme Court
decisions and Growth Hearing Board rulings, Klauser said. All of those rulings
severely restrict any nonagricultural development within protected agricultural
resource areas, he said.

County Commissioner Ken Stanton said commissioners haven't violated any laws and
that the Growth Management Hearings Board and state Shoreline Hearings Board have
upheld county decisions in the case.

At issue is county approval of a permit allowing State Parks to construct a
5.1-mile extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail between Odabashian
Bridge and Lincoln Rock State Park, near Rocky Reach Dam. The trail would be built
on DOT and PUD right of way. Four miles of the proposed trail would pass through
land that county commissioners previously designated as "Agricultural Resource Area
of Long Term Commercial Significance" under the state Growth Management Act,
Klauser said.

That designation requires protection and that no incompatible uses be allowed,
he said.

The farmers say the trail would interfere with their operations and
destroy 24 acres of mature trees, Klauser said in the release.

"It's hard to understand how Douglas County can continue to ignore the law and
flout the courts' decisions. If we farmers broke the law like this, they'd locks
up," Feil said in the release.

Stanton said the Growth Management Hearings Board has held that the
trail is a compatible use with agriculture and doesn't violate the law.

"They have every right to appeal," Stanton said. "I was hopeful this, after how
many years this has been going on (15), that it would be the end for everyone."

Stanton said he believes the commissioners' conditions on the permit addressed growers' concerns.

In the news release, Feil said, "Lawyer Bob Parlette and his trail coalition want
this trail and he has pulled all the substantial political strings at his disposal
to pressure Douglas County staff and officials to ram this project through the
protected area."

Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition, said he is disappointed
that the growers have "chosen to prolong the agony for everybody."

"I was really looking forward to working with farm groups to get them to realize
trail users are really their friends and work on interpretive signs to help educate
the public about the importance of agriculture," he said.

Parlette denied pulling political strings. "Those commissioners did a remarkably
thorough job in looking at the facts before them," Parlette said. "If Jack believes
that (that Parlette pulled strings), he's absolutely wrong. He doesn't understand
how popular and important trails are to fully integrated developing communities such
as Wenatchee."

Feil said he's most galled by the hypocrisy of politicians and media condemning
Chelan County commissioners for not protecting large agricultural areas 12 years
ago under the Growth Management Act and then supporting Douglas County in ignoring
its protection of ag lands.

"The dispute is treated like a popularity contest and no criticism is heard," Feil
said in the release. "Instead, we hear public criticism of farmers for demanding
the protections that flow from such a designation.

"Our public officials have been happy to avoid criticism by designating
Agricultural Resource Areas which they have no intention to actually protect,
at least if enforcement interferes with their public projects."

Pipeline Bridge Study Will Cost $156,000

Wenatchee, Washington --

The Wenatchee Reclamation District and the city of Wenatchee have selected
a Montana-based company to do a more thorough evaluation of the pipeline
bridge across the Columbia River, but now must come up with $156,000 to
pay for the work. HDR Engineering of Missoula will inspect the 100-year-old
bridge this summer and identify necessary repairs and how much they will cost.

An analysis of the bridge last year found severe rusting, cracked beams and
missing bolts and pins, and recommended further study of the bridge's condition.
The bridge carries a 46-inch irrigation pipe across the river and serves as a
crossing for the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

Because the stability of the bridge is unknown, the city has limited its
occupancy to 20 people at a time and requires groups that use the bridge
for events to carry $1 million liability insurance.

The reclamation district, which owns the bridge, has agreed to pay up to $56,000
toward the new study, said Superintendent Rick Smith. Link Transit has offered to
pay $15,000. The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council is ponying up $25,000,
said WVTC director Jeff Wilkens.

At a City Council meeting last week, Wenatchee officials said they will agree
to work with the reclamation district to find $60,000 from other government
agencies and community organizations in the area. Wenatchee Mayor Dennis
Johnson said he's confident other agencies will step up to share the bill but said
the city has guaranteed to cover the $60,000 balance to get the study rolling.

Douglas County Commissioners Approve Loop Trail Extension

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Douglas County commissioners unanimously approved the Rocky Reach trail
extension Tuesday afternoon, but an attorney for orchardists who oppose the
trail says there are good grounds for appeal.

Seattle Attorney James Klauser said his clients, grower Jack Feil and the
Baker Flats Right to Farm Association, have 21 days to decide whether to appeal.
Feil and members of the association said they will think it over. They said they
were disappointed with county commissioners.

The Complete the Loop Coalition, which supports the trail extension proposed
by State Parks, was pleased with the decision. Coalition members have said it
will enhance the region's tourism draw.

One issue is whether Douglas County Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp's
Nov. 3, 2006, approval of the trail extension was a site-specific permit
or a rezone. In remanding Kottkamp's decision to county commissioners on
July 31, 2007, Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss ruled
it was a rezone that Kottkamp had no authority to make. But Douglas County
Prosecutor Steve Clem has said that's an apparent contradiction of an earlier
Hotchkiss ruling calling it a permit.

Klauser has said commissioners could not rezone the land without first removing
it from its designation as ag land of long-term commercial significance under
the Growth Management Act.

The trail would run 5.1 miles through orchard and other land on a state Department
of Transportation right of way linking the 10.5-mile Wenatchee area Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail to Lincoln Rock State Park, near Rocky Reach Dam.

The 20 growers who make up the Baker Flats Right to Farm Association say it's
an incompatible land use that will force many of them out of business. They
contend their orchards are protected from any kind of development since they
are designated as agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance.

Commissioners, two of whom are farmers, said it was an extremely difficult
decision but they had to approve Kottkamp's permit because State Parks met
all county and state laws.

Commissioner Dane Keane, a Rock Island wheat and cattle rancher, said he has
not supported the trail extension but he had to base his decision on whether
county codes were being met. He said they are.

Commissioners adopted Kottkamp's 26 findings of fact and conditions of approval
and added one more condition allowing growers to reduce buffers from 60 to 100
feet on each side of the trail to something less that all sides could agree upon
so growers could save more fruit trees.

Commissioner Mary Hunt, a Sims Corner wheat and cattle rancher,
called the decision her hardest in her 10 years as a commissioner.

Hunt said wide buffers shouldn't be needed because growers spray fruit trees to
the edges of county roads in many places throughout Douglas and Chelan counties.

"I believe in this valley we can live, work and play side by side. Agriculture
is the life blood of this area and I would suggest we give this a try," she said.

The condition contains a two-year review to determine if smaller buffers
work or need to be changed. Klauser said reducing buffers won't work.

Orchardists Larry and Susan Letts said reducing buffers won't help them.
They said 8.8 acres, about a third of their apple orchard, is land leased
from the Department of Transportation. They said they assume they will lose
the lease because DOT won't want the liability of an orchard so close to the
trail. Without the 8.8 acres they won't have a viable orchard and aren't sure
what they will do.

Milt Johnson, a grower just north of the Odabashian Bridge, said any
buffers will change the air flow through his orchard, creating frost
pockets and significantly reducing his income. Larry Letts said buffers
would also cause frost pockets for him.

The Lettses and Johnson are members of the Baker Flats Right to Farm Association.

Feil, as leader of the group, has admitted he has spent more than $200,000 of his
family's money fighting the trail. The fight, before various governmental bodies
and in court, has been going on for 15 years.

Bob Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition, has said the real
issue for orchardists isn't spray drift and incompatible land uses as much as who
gets ownership of the right of way if the DOT relinquishes it. Feil has said that's
a secondary reason he's fighting, that he wants first dibs on the right of way since
DOT purchased it from growers in the 1950s. He has said that won't happen if State
Parks gets it.

At a Feb. 25 public hearing before county commissioners, Feil suggested DOT
sell the right of way to growers with the requirement that the trail be built.

"Parks gets their trail and the orchardist gets his land
back, problem solved and everyone's happy," he said then.

Tuesday, Klauser said there's no such thing as a recreational overlay permit
in the county code and the area's designation as commercial ag land of long-
term significance protects it from any development, including trails.

Commission Chairman Ken Stanton read the 26 findings of fact, including one the
county has issued other recreational overlay permits. Another was the Eastern
Washington Growth Management Hearings Board on Feb. 16, 2007, ruling that the
hearing examiner's decision was a site-specific project permit, not a rezone.

Hazard Trees To Be Removed From Confluence State Park

Wenatchee, Washington --

Approximately twenty-five elm and white poplar trees will be cut from the area
between Olds Station Road and the Apple Capital Loop Trail in Wenatchee
Confluence State Park March 24-27, 2008.

The non-native trees are fast growing and considered invasive, and are a safety
and power-reliability concern. Low-growing, native trees in the area will be kept.

The PUD’s contract tree-trimming crew, Kemp West, will remove the trees.
Larger logs will be delivered to the Hospitality House for heating fuel.
Other debris will be chipped and placed on the slope as mulch.

Trail users will be rerouted through the park and around the work during
the project. Cones and signs will alert trail users to the temporary change.

Park users will also see more truck traffic than usual,
and are asked to use extra care.

Groups Using Pipeline Bridge Must Pay For Insurance

Wenatchee, Washington --

Groups that want to include the beleaguered pipeline bridge as a part of
an event this summer better make sure they have a solid insurance plan.

The City Council unanimously voted Thursday night to require groups
— such as organizers of the Wenatchee Marathon — that want to use
the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Columbia River to have $1 million
in insurance.

The ordinance goes into effect immediately.

The move is an effort to limit the city's liability and
promote safety for users of the century-old bridge.

Currently there is a limit of 20 people allowed on the
bridge at any given time because of fears it may collapse.

As part of the ordinance requiring the insurance, a group must also agree
to not hold the city liable for any damages that occur during the event,
as well as pay a $50 bridge-use permit application fee.

"Our key here is not trying to pass liability to others, it's more trying
to watch the weight restriction on the bridge for safety," said Mayor
Dennis Johnson.

City staff estimated the cost for $1 million in insurance to be around $700. The
requirement is consistent with the insurance requirement for parades in the city.

Along with acquiring insurance, groups that want to use the bridge must also
submit a plan to the city that details how they plan to monitor and control
traffic on the bridge.

"I think given what we know about this bridge right now, it is important for
these groups to have insurance," said Steve Smith, city attorney. "It protects
us from the worst-case scenario … which is they have too many people on
the bridge and the bridge fails. We're on the hook for that."

The concern for safety stems from a fall 2007 engineering study showing that
if 20 people were packed together at the bridge's weakest point the compact
load would push 3,400 pounds. That amount is the recommended limit for the
bridge's most fragile part, according to the study.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation utility, owns the 100-year
-old bridge which houses a 46-inch irrigation pipe that carries water to 4,000
acres of farmland in Douglas County. It is also part of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail and can be used as part of the trail because the city
of Wenatchee assumes liability.

The council wanted a plan for groups using the bridge because of the addition
of water to the irrigation pipe, which is expected to happen later this month
and will add additional weight to the bridge. A plan was also called for because
groups will likely be using the bridge again soon, now that cooler winter weather
is morphing into springtime climates.

Loop Trail Extension Public Hearing No Decision Yet

East Wenatchee, Washington --

After about a decade and a half of wrangling, proponents and opponents of
a proposal to extend a trail five point one miles from the Odabashion Bridge
to Lincoln Rock State Park will have to wait another month to find out if the
project will be given the green light by Douglas County Commissioners.

After hearing over three hours of testimony Monday night, and receiving hundreds
of e.mails, calls and letters recently, Commissioners will take written testimony until
March 10th 2008 and could make a decision on March 25th 2008.

Loop Trail Extension Plan For Another Round Public Hearing

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Public hearing on Rocky Reach extension of Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
at 5:30 p.m. Monday 02/25/2008 at the Eastmont Junior High School commons
Information: 884-7173 or www.douglascountywa.net (click on current projects)

Douglas County commissioners are holding a public hearing Monday on
a proposed rezone that would allow State Parks to extend Wenatchee's
riverfront recreational Loop Trail to Rocky Reach Dam.

Proponents and opponents of the extension have been battling before government
boards and courts for about 15 years. They say it would be nice if this were the
final chapter, but neither side thinks it is.

Bob Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition which supports
the trail, says the hearing will be the "last shot this year" if State Parks and the
coalition loses but that "we will keep coming back until we get this trail built."
He said it may become a campaign issue in county commission races if
commissioners turn it down.

Jack Feil, orchardist and leader of the Baker Flats Right to Farm Association
which opposes the trail, says he thinks the association would want to consult
with its attorney but that he believes it would fight on if commissioners
approve the rezone.

"It would be awfully difficult to farm out here. It's zoned commercial agriculture
and is protected farm land. That's important. Farm land is getting scarce all the
time and with prices of apples, wheat and cherries being good I don't think any
one (any grower) is anxious to convert anything from ag," Feil said.

Parlette said the plan to extend the trail 5.1 miles, from Odabashian Bridge to
Lincoln Rock State Park next to Rocky Reach Dam, is extremely popular among
recreationists. He said he has petitions of support, signed by more than 1,100
people, that he will give commissioners Monday.

"I'm not giving up. It either has to be me or Jack Feil.
One of us has to die first," Parlette said with a laugh.

Parlette said he expects 200 to 300 trail extension supporters to attend the
5:30 p.m. hearing in the Eastmont Junior High School commons. Parlette and
Andy Dappen, content editor of WenatcheeOutdoors.org sent a combined e-mail
to trail supporters urging them to attend the hearing suggesting talking points.

Curtis Lillquist, a senior county planner, said he expects the hearing to go at
least two hours. Each side has been given half an hour for presentations following
a staff report and then time will be provided for public comments.

The trail extension has been approved by the state's Shorelines Hearing Board but a
recreational zoning overlay on top of agricultural zoning has been the battleground.

Parlette said State Parks at one time had $1.2 million in state and federal grants to
build the trail. Some of the federal money was used for design work, but $550,000
in state grants was lost because it wasn't spent on time, he said.

The Complete the Loop Coalition has $200,000 of its own money for trail construction
and the Chelan County PUD has committed to giving $500,000 as part of the recreation
component of the relicensing of Rocky Reach Dam. The PUD and coalition money would
be enough to get construction going, he said, noting that the trail wouldn't have to be paved
right away if that helped to get it started.

Loop Trail Pipeline Bridge Limit Of 20 People

Wenatchee, Washington --

The pipeline bridge will stay open to people — but
don't just walk out there, do a quick head count first.

Only 20 people at a time are allowed on the bridge from now on,
the city says. The century-old span crossing the Columbia River
can certainly hold much more weight but with all the unknowns
about its stability, "there is no option for us from a liability
standpoint," said city engineer Steve King.

Why 20?

If 20 people were packed together in the very middle of the bridge
—its weakest point — the compact load would push 3,400 pounds, the
recommended limit for that most fragile part, according to the
engineering analysis done so far. A 2007 Ford Taurus weighs 3,741 pounds.

Hard answers to the many questions about the span's stability and longevity
likely won't come until a more-complete engineering study of it finishes,
presumably this fall.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation utility, owns the
100-year-old bridge. People can use it as part of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail because the city of Wenatchee assumes liability.
The city can cancel the deal anytime.

City leaders have considered closing the bridge to people once water starts
flowing through the 46-inch irrigation pipe in late March or early April,
adding thousands of pounds to the load. The exact weight of the water is
unknown, but a couple of figures provide an inkling of the load: one gallon
of water weighs 8.33 pounds and the pipe delivers 225 to 375 gallons of water
per second.

As it stands, the bridge won't close to people when the tap turns on,
but that's when the the city, King said, will be sure to have posted
20-person limit signs at both ends of the bridge. No one will be on guard
to enforce the 20-person load limit during regular times but a monitor may
be on hand during events where people cross the bridge. Perhaps the largest
of them, the annual Wenatchee Marathon, might have to be rerouted. Race
organizers could not be reached for comment.

King said people shouldn't worry crossing the span. Karen Kornher,
an engineer with the East Wenatchee firm RH2, which is advising the
reclamation district, agreed.

"I think that the risks of anything happening are extremely low," Kornher said.
The reclamation district is seeking a firm to do another study to the get
definitive answers about the condition of the bridge.

Apple Capital Loop Trail To Grow By 1,600 Feet

Wenatchee, Washington --

The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail will grow by an additional
1,600 feet this year thanks to two state Department of Transportation
projects, one on each side of the Columbia River.

When complete, the projects will create connections to the trail
that feature safer access to areas near the Odabashian Bridge.

"Both of the projects are specifically for improving the safety and
connectivity of the Loop Trail," said DOT spokesman Jeff Adamson.

The projects are scheduled to be advertised for bids Feb. 25. Construction
on both is slated to start in spring and be complete by fall, Adamson said.

The projects are expected to cost about $2 million, with $1.6 million
coming from the state's 2005 gas tax, according to the DOT's Web site.

On the west side of the river the project will create safer access from
the trail to the Olds Station area and Highway 97A where bicyclists can
ride north to Rocky Reach Dam and Lake Chelan.

"Now, anyone who wants to go from the Loop Trail to the north usually has
to get off their bike, take themselves and the bike across four lanes of
speedy traffic and over one concrete barrier. This essentially eliminates
that issue," Adamson said.

The west side project will construct a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge next
to the railroad bridge on Highway 2/97 and extend the trail west across around
the northbound off ramp. The extension will connect with Highway 97A and Euclid
Avenue across from the Washington State Apple Commission Visitor Center.

This provides a direct connection from the trail to the Port of Chelan
County's Olds Station Industrial Park, the nearby commercial district
and shopping center and Highway 97A.

Washington State Department of Transportation's Loop Trail connectivity improvements:


Rock Island Hydro Park To Be Renamed

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Chelan County PUD commissioners voted today to change the name
of Rock Island Hydro Park to Kirby Billingsley Hydro Park.

The vote came after a request was made by customer Bob Parlette,
Wilfred WOods, Rich Congdon and Bill Layman. Billingsley was a
former PUD general manager and commissioner.

The community members outlined the accomplishments of Billingsley,
a former PUD general manager and commissioner, citing his pivotal
involvement in public power in the region, the funding and construction
of Rocky Reach Dam, and the creation of Chelan County PUD’s parks system,
among other accomplishments.

When presenting the request to commissioners, Parlette noted that
Billingsley’s impact on the Columbia River was huge. “He was a giant
in the struggle for public power,” he said. For More Please See:
( http://www.chelanpud.org/5024.html )

New Pipeline Bridge Analysis Will Determine How Safe

Wenatchee, Washington --

The city of Wenatchee and the Wenatchee Reclamation District
are looking for partners to help finance a third engineering
study of the pedestrian bridge over the Columbia River.

Previous studies to determine whether the bridge could
withstand bus traffic turned up structural problems.

Officials from Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Douglas and Chelan counties
and various organizations that have an interest in the longevity of the
bridge met Monday at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

"This bridge is an icon of the Columbia River. A critical part of this
meeting is that everyone who has a stake in this bridge will be able to
hear firsthand what needs to be done," said Wenatchee Mayor Dennis Johnson.
"Doing this study is the most prudent path to proceed ahead with so we can
get a more clear view of what needs to be done."

The purpose of the new study, which will be done by Spokane-based Nicholls
Engineering, is to find out exactly what improvements are needed and, most
importantly, to conduct a test to determine the bridge's load-bearing capacity.
The study will also provide estimated costs for repairs.

The reclamation district, an irrigation provider, has owned the span since
1952. Under a two-decade-old agreement, the city takes responsibility if
anyone is hurt or injured on the bridge, which is part of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail.

Johnson said if the next study finds that pedestrian traffic is not a viable
option on the bridge, the city could drop out of its agreement with the reclamation
district, and the bridge would be used solely to transport water. It would eliminate
the Loop Trail's south-end crossing, and the loop would become a horseshoe.

The 1,000-foot-long bridge was built in 1908 and carries irrigation
water from Wenatchee to 4,000 acres in Douglas County.

"We need to work together and look at partnerships throughout the community
that will help us find ways to keep the bridge's loop connection," Rick Smith,
reclamation district manager, said Monday.

The new engineering study will involve cleaning the bridge, examining joints
and bolts and conducting load-bearing and other tests. The estimated cost of
the study is between $150,000 and $260,000, said Randy Asplund, an engineer
with the firm RH2. Asplund said the scope of work still needs to be finalized
before providing a concrete cost.

The study would begin no earlier than the beginning of March. Johnson did
not have an estimate for how long the study would take and said the city
and reclamation district would not have to pay the entire study cost all
at once. He said it is likely the study would be completed in stages and
that the load-bearing test would be performed when water is sent through
the pipeline in the spring.

After the meeting, Johnson said possible organizations that could partner with
the city and reclamation district to help finance the study include Chelan and
Douglas counties, the city of East Wenatchee, Chelan County PUD and the port
districts of both counties.

Pedestrian Pipeline Bridge Open For Now

Wenatchee, Washington --

The pipeline bridge reopened this morning with the
ultimate fate of the century-old span decidedly unstable.

Crossing the bridge is a 48-inch wide pipe that carries water from
Wenatchee to 4,000 acres of Douglas County farmland. Part of the pipe
collapsed Oct. 16 while being sucked dry for the season. Pipe repairs
closed the bridge weekdays from early November until this morning. The
1,000-foot-long span connects the west and east sides of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

People can again cross but for how long isn't known. The bridge has corroded
bearings, rusted joints, cracked support beams and missing bolts, rivets and
pins, according to a recent engineering study.

The bridge "will probably not fail within the next two years," the report said,
noting that a more in-depth analysis is needed to figure out how long the bridge
will hold up.

On Monday, local politicians will get together to talk about possibly doing another
study in a meeting called by Wenatchee Mayor Dennis Johnson. The meeting could make
clear which jurisdictions are willing to plan and pay for further study and possibly
repair of the bridge.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation
provider, has owned the span since 1952.

To enable pedestrians and bicyclists to use the bridge, the city of Wenatchee in
1984 assumed liability for anyone hurt while crossing through an agreement with
the reclamation district. As part of the agreement, the city could end the deal
with the reclamation district at any time.

Engineer Karen Kornher, with the East Wenatchee firm RH2, said that the earlier
study could not nail down the condition of the bridge because so many joints can't
be seen under layers of rust. A new study would include chipping off the gunk to
get a look at the previously invisible places.

City Moves On Pipeline Bridge Problem

Wenatchee, Washington --

A two-decade-old agreement makes the city responsible if
anyone is hurt or killed in a collapse of the pipeline bridge.

The agreement, which surfaced following recent reports that the 100-year-old
span is basically falling apart, means the city has a big say about how long
people should be allowed to use it. The 1,000-foot-long bridge connects the
west and east side segments of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The City Council could close the bridge to pedestrians until its stability is
verified through further engineering studies, said City Attorney Steve Smith.

One analysis completed early this month concluded the bridge "will probably not fail
within the next two years." The study, commissioned by Link Transit, recommended that
pedestrians and bike riders stay off the span starting in late 2009, unless a more
detailed study verifies its capability to hold up longer. As it is, officials know the
bridge is weak — much weaker than previously figured — but they still have no firm idea
about how long people can safely use it.

The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation provider, has owned the span
since 1952. The district uses the bridge to carry a 48-inch pipe that delivers
water to Douglas County. In order to make it possible for pedestrians and bicyclists
to use the bridge, the city of Wenatchee in 1984 stepped up to assume liability for
anyone hurt while crossing, Smith said.

The city could terminate the liability agreement at any time, Smith said. In that
case, it would be up to the reclamation district whether or not to let people cross.

Smith said he has not advised city officials to rescind the liability agreement.
He said he will decide whether or not to make such a recommendation based upon
what area leaders decide about determining the reliability of the bridge.

Councilman Mark Kulaas said "it doesn't seem prudent" to maintain
the agreement if the stability of the bridge is in question.

"The city alone should not be exposing our taxpayers to that risk," he said.

Councilman Frank Kuntz said he's willing to have the city take the risk for
now but added that he would "have no problem shutting it down" if that's what
engineers end up advising.

"We have to listen to what the engineers tell us and I
don't know that we know what they're telling us yet."

Kuntz said the city should help pay for further study of the bridge.

'We clearly have a stake in this."

Mayor Dennis Johnson agrees. He has invited county and city leaders from both
sides of the Columbia River to a Dec. 10 meeting to find out who is interested
in dedicating resources toward saving the bridge, or at least figuring out how
much longer it can remain in use.

The firm that did the analysis released in October reported that not enough was
known about the bridge and its construction and maintenance history to determine
how fast it is deteriorating.

"Since we don't have a solid background on all the factors affecting deterioration,
answers to specific questions, such as 'How can it be fixed?' and 'How long will it
last?' are more difficult to answer," the report stated.
The study found: Half of all bearings are corroded. 60 percent of joints are rusted.
Others are misaligned, damaged or are missing parts. Support beams are cracked. Bolts,
rivets and pins are missing.

Link Transit paid for the studies on the stability of the bridge to find out if
it could be retrofitted to support buses, getting them between Wenatchee and East
Wenatchee without having to cross the often-congested Sen. George Sellar Bridge.

A first engineering study, finished in July, found that the bridge probably could
hold buses if it underwent a relatively minor remodel. The second study found the
major deficiencies and eliminated the possibility of the bridge carrying buses.

"I think there are partnerships we have to talk about," Johnson said of the purpose
of the December meeting. "The hope is to save it (the bridge) in some fashion."

The pipeline bridge will be closed November 26-30, 2007 as crews
continue repairing an irrigation pipe that collapsed in October.

The bridge has been open on weekends and closed on weekdays this month.
The bridge will reopen for the weekend, Dec. 1-2, but could close again
the following week if repairs aren’t completed, said Rick Smith, manager
of the Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation provider that owns the bridge.

Public On Same Page, Save Loop Trail, Loop Trail Will Stay

East Wenatchee, Washington --

State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond says her agency
will preserve the 4.5-mile section of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
along the east shore of the Columbia River.

Hammond said she will officially designate the trail a part of the area’s highway
system, giving the state the legal authority to hold on to the land beneath the trail.

“I’m committed to doing that,” Hammond said in an interview at
The Wenatchee World this morning. “It makes perfect sense.”

The city of East Wenatchee and Douglas County
lease the land under the trail from the state.

On Thursday night, Hammond joined about 300 people at Eastmont Junior High
School for what turned out to be an Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail love fest.

State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, called the meeting so officials
and the public could hear about the state agency’s plans to surplus 400 acres
of land on the east shore of the Columbia River, from the Sen. George Sellar
Bridge to the Odabashian Bridge.

Officials and members of the public praised the trail for its positive economic
impact, its value as a transportation route and for the refuge it provides in an
expanding urban area.

“This trail is the crown jewel of Wenatchee,” said Bob Bugert,
executive director of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.

The state bought the land over several decades — starting in the 1950s
— intending to build a highway along the river. It came close to building
the road but the project was ultimately scrapped because of challenges to
shoreline permits, said Dan Sarles, assistant regional administrator with
the state transportation department.

Though the state abandoned plans to build the road years ago, the required
studies officially saying that the state has no use for the land wrapped up
only this summer. That put into motion the state’s process of declaring the
land surplus and ultimately selling it. State law says the transportation
department must sell surplus land at market value.

Hammond told the crowd at Thursday meeting, “This trail is too valuable to lose.”
Hammond was in town on a statewide tour to introduce herself to local officials.
Governor Chris Gregoire appointed Hammond earlier this month.

Though the trail itself may be saved by the state, the fate of the open space
around the trail is unknown. The land is zoned for mixed use, similar to how
Wenatchee has planned its waterfront, said Lori Barnett, community development
director for the city of East Wenatchee. Condominiums, retail shops and
restaurants could go in the area.

The prospect of the trail someday being hemmed in by buildings bugged trail user
Jack Stagge, an East Wenatchee resident. Stagge said he moved to Wenatchee in the
early 1990s to escape rampant development in Southern California.

“We came here (to the meeting) to help it (the riverfront) not become what we left,”
Stagge said, speaking of himself and his wife, Holly Stagge. “What we have is unique.”

Following the meeting, state Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, said there’s
no magic wand to wave to see that the trail is preserved but that “the odds are
very strong that we’ll preserve the trail one way or another.”

The state’s process to surplus and sell the land will take several years,
Sarles said. The value of the land is yet to be determined.

CC - Wenatchee World

Loop Trail Users Undaunted By Bridge Closure

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Photo - Wenatchee Reclamation District employee Mike Abhold, top, secures
temporary fences Monday to block people from crossing the pipeline pedestrian
bridge across the Columbia River. The bridge will be closed weekdays for about
three weeks while the irrigation pipe is being repaired. Bicyclist Michael Carlos
rides up to ask how long the bridge will be closed.

Walkers and bikers good-naturedly accepted Monday's closure of the
pipeline pedestrian bridge — even though it took them by surprise.

"We'll just change our route," said Sal Mugnos of Wenatchee as he and
Mike Lowell, both 48, cruised up to the east end of the bridge Monday
afternoon on their mountain bikes.

Two orange "Road Closed" signs and a chain-link fence blocked their way across.

Mugnos of Wenatchee and Lowell of East Wenatchee ride the 12-mile Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail every day during their lunch break at Stemilt Growers in
Olds Station. Monday they decided to head back to Stemilt the way they came.

The bridge, which spans the Columbia River at the loop trail's south end,
will be closed Monday through Friday for the next three weeks, as workers
repair a section of 48-inch irrigation pipe that collapsed Oct. 16.

Popular with Loop Trail exercisers and non-motorized commuters, the span also
carries the irrigation pipeline, natural gas and telephone cables across the river.

The pipeline isn't the only part of the century-old bridge in need of repair.

Badly rusted and missing bolts, the bridge may be
closed permanently by 2009 if it isn't repaired.

The Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council and the cities
will weigh alternatives in the coming weeks and months.

For now, the closure is only temporary.

"I heard they were going to close it, and here it is," said Paul Bieniasz,
50, of East Wenatchee, pausing on his bike and viewing the big orange signs.

Bieniasz said he bikes the Loop Trail about four times a week, but will also change
his route until the bridge reopens. Monday, he opted to cross the heavily traveled
Sen. George Sellar Bridge, nearby.

That was Scott Woods' decision as well. Woods, 50, of Wenatchee discovered
the bridge closure on the one day he decided to walk the entire Loop Trail.
The Seattle transplant said he preferred the cool
fall weather to the scorching heat of summer.
"It's a beautiful fall day to see all the leaves out. It's not that
much farther. I'll just walk across the other bridge," he said.

Ian Ashbaugh, 37, of Wenatchee began cycling north near the Orondo Avenue
boat launch and had almost completed the 12-mile loop when he encountered
the big orange signs.

"It adds more of a challenge. I'll get twice the workout," he said.

Did he take a short detour across the Sellar Bridge? Nope.
"I'm going to go back the way I came," he said. "It's a gorgeous
day. You can't complain about a Nov. 5 that looks like this."

Pipeline Bridge May Be Off Limits By 2009

Wenatchee, Washington --
A engineering analysis released Friday says the pipeline bridge "will probably
not fail within the next two years" and recommends that pedestrians and bike
riders stay off the span starting in late 2009, unless a more detailed study
verifies its capability to hold up longer.

The firm that did the analysis, Nicholls Engineering, says it doesn't know
enough about the bridge and its construction and maintenance history to
determine how fast it is deteriorating. The bridge carries people, water,
natural gas, and telephone and cable lines across the Columbia River. The
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail also goes over the bridge.

"Since we don't have a solid background on all the factors affecting deterioration,
answers to specific questions, such as 'How can it be fixed?' and 'How long will it
last?' are more difficult to answer," the report states. Various haphazard repair
jobs — support brackets welded to different parts here and there in 40 places over
the years — could have altered the way the bridge supports weight, making it hard
to determine its true strength, the report said.

The analysis, commissioned by Link Transit, did find, however,
that the span is in terrible shape and probably can't be repaired.

The defects reported include:

Rust is "a major problem throughout the bridge."•Half of all bearings are
corroded.•60 percent of joints — parts holding pieces of steel together —
are rusted. Others are misaligned, damaged or are missing parts. •Support
beams are cracked.•Bolts, rivets and pins are missing.

Link initiated the study process as part of its proposal
to use the bridge as an alternate route for its buses.

The first engineering study, done in July, found that the 1,000-foot
bridge probably could hold buses if it underwent a relatively minor remodel.

The second found major deficiencies. Now, Spokane-based Nicholls Engineering
is recommending a third study to nail down an expected life span.

Rick Smith, manager of the Wenatchee Reclamation
District, favors a closer inspection.

"We are looking for better answers," he said.
The reclamation district, an irrigation provider, has owned the bridge since
1952. A 48-inch pipe carries water to 4,000 acres of farmland in Douglas County.

Smith said the poor condition of the bridge came as a surprise and that the
district is exploring options, including how else it might be able to get
water across the Columbia River.

The future of the bridge will be taken up by elected officials from both
sides of the Columbia River at next Thursday's meeting of the Wenatchee
Valley Transportation Council. The meeting is set for 9 to 11 a.m. in the
third-floor conference room at Columbia Station, 300 S. Columbia Ave.

Parlette Pushes To Save Loop Trail Access

Wenatchee, Washington --
State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette is taking up the cause to keep the
Eastside portion of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail open to
the public.

"I know how important this piece of property is to our citizens and
I want to do all I can to ensure we can access it for generations to
come," she said in a press release.

The release announced a Nov. 15 meeting she has put together to address
the future of the Loop Trail and 400 acres along the east shore of the
Columbia River between the Sen. George Sellar and Odabashian bridges.

The state Department of Transportation owns the land, which it no longer
needs since plans to build a highway along the stretch have been abandoned.

The state is preparing to surplus the land.

Parlette said she wants everyone interested in the fate of the land to
all hear at the same time what representatives of the state Department
of Transportation have to say about their plans for it.

Dan Sarles, assistant regional administrator with the DOT, said there's a
misconception that the state is flat-out selling the land immediately. The
process of selling the land could take several years, he said.

The upcoming meeting is aimed at "establishing a community vision for that
area," Sarles said. "There's a lot of potential uses there," he said.

State law to a large degree dictates what DOT does with surplus land. As it
stands, the state has to sell surplus land at market value. That value won't
be known until the state does an appraisal.

Sarles said it might take legislative action to "accomplish community goals,"
and that "everyone we have talked with to date agrees that … maintaining the
Apple Capital Loop Trail is a priority."

"The dialogue needs to happen," Sarles said.

The city of East Wenatchee and Douglas County lease
the 4.5-mile Loop Trail right-of-way from the state.

If you go

What: Discussion with Sen. Linda Evans Parlette and state officials about the
fate of 400 acres of state-owned land along the east shore of the Columbia
River from the Sen. George Sellar Bridge to the Odabashian Bridge

When: 5 to 6 p.m., Nov. 15th 2007
Where: Eastmont Junior High School, 905 8th St., East Wenatchee

Reclamation Bridge Closing For Three Weeks

Wenatchee, Washington --
Starting Monday Nov 5th 2007 the Wenatchee Reclamation bridge will be
closed as crews replace 100 feet of pipe that was damaged last month.

The bridge will be closed for about three weeks.
The bridge will be open to the public on weekends.

Future of reclamation district bridge is in doubt.

Link transit will not be using the Wenatchee Reclamation District's
bridge in the future, and if nothing is done, within a couple years
or so the bridge might be closed to the public.

An engineering report, released today, says the age of the bridge,
combined with rust related corrosion of structural joints, has weakened
the bridge to the point it it's not able to accomodate significant
motorized traffic.

The report adds that while there is no immediate risk to the public
who use the bridge now, over time the corrosion will continue to weaken
the structure to the point that the bridge will become unsafe for its
current loop trail use.

Pipeline Bridge's Future Uncertain

Wenatchee, Washington --
The pipeline bridge over the Columbia River "is at the end
of its useful life," Link Transit's general manger says.

Just how weak the pedestrian bridge is is expected to come out Friday
when officials report the results of an engineering analysis of the
century-old span that carries an irrigation pipe as well as pedestrians
and bicyclists on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The study, begun 18 months ago by Link Transit, was first aimed at finding
out if the bridge could support buses, possibly providing a way for buses
to shuttle between Wenatchee and East Wenatchee without getting tangled up
in traffic on and around the Sen. George Sellar Bridge.

Early indications were promising: Inspectors found significant decay but
not so much that it ruled out the possibility of repairing the bridge at
a reasonable cost.

The repair bill was pegged at about $3 million early on.

The picture flipped in late September when Link General Manager Richard
DeRock told the transit agency's board of directors that further study
of the span's underside had turned up severe degradation of steel that
ruled out the possibility of it carrying buses and brought into question
how long the bridge could last carrying an irrigation pipeline and pedestrians.

On Friday, officials are expected to say how many years the bridge, the first
to carry automobiles across the Columbia River, should hold up, according to
a private engineering firm's study.

DeRock on Tuesday would not offer specifics about the engineering findings.
However, he said: "The bridge is at the end of its useful life."

The bridge is the south end of the popular Loop Trail.

Rick Smith, manager of the Wenatchee Reclamation
District, could not be reached for comment.

The reclamation district has owned the bridge since 1952. The district
provides water to 4,000 acres of farmland in Douglas County via a 48-inch
pipeline that crosses the bridge.

"It was a very exciting concept that provided relatively inexpensive
accessm if we could have pulled it off," DeRock said of the possibility
of the pedestrian bridge carrying Link buses.

Link paid for the engineering study, but it's unclear what role,
if any, the agency will have in rebuilding or repairing the bridge.

DeRock said Link and the reclamation district will present the results
of the study to the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Council early next
month. The council, made up of politicians and transportation planners
from both sides of the Columbia River, decides which roads need to be
fixed and where the money will come from.

Pipe Collapse Could Close Pedestrian Bridge

Wenatchee, Washington --
A collapsed irrigation pipe will likely cause a three-week closure
next month of the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Columbia River.

The pipe collapsed Oct. 16 while it was being drained for fall maintenance,Rick
Smith, manager of the Wenatchee Reclamation District, said Wednesday afternoon.

The collapse was caused by a vacuum that formed inside a 110-foot section of the
pipe as water was being drained through a set of small valves. Typically, the pipe
would have been drained using two large valves. The smaller valves were used in an
effort to reduce vibration on the bridge as a precaution until the bridge's structural
integrity is evaluated in the second phase of an engineering study, Smith said.

"Unfortunately, the vacuum was an inadvertent consequence of how we decided to drain the pipe,"
Smith said.

"In order to get the work done safely without any pedestrians or workers possibly
getting injured, we will have to close the bridge," he said. "I am hoping that it
will be able to be opened for weekends during the closure period, but I can't say
for sure right now."

The bridge is part of the popular Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The damaged pipe is part of a stretch of about 1,000 feet
of pipe that runs across the bridge, Smith said.

"It's not a very common occurrence that the bridge is closed, and we
really appreciate people's consideration due to the circumstances,"
he said.

He also said a new pipe has been ordered and he's hoping it arrives next week.

Parties Ponder Trail Extension

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Douglas County commissioners probably won't address the proposed
Rocky Reach extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
until after the first of the year, Commissioner Ken Stanton said Tuesday.

When Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss ruled July 31
that a permit for the trail from the county hearing examiner was insufficient
and that a rezone from commissioners was needed, Stanton said commissioners
likely would hold a public hearing on a proposed rezone within 30 to 45 days
and make a decision.

“That time has passed, and we just haven't got to it
because of other things happening,“ Stanton said Tuesday.

He mentioned Commissioner Dane Keane being on medical leave until
Oct. 25 and commissioners needing to work on the 2008 county budget.

Hotchkiss remanded Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp's Nov. 3, 2006,
recreational overlay permit for the trail extension to commissioners
for review and a decision, saying Kottkamp's action amounted to a
rezone that only commissioners have the authority to approve.

County Prosecutor Steve Clem said county commissioners do not have to
proceed without first receiving a request from State Parks, the agency
wanting to build the 5.1-mile trail extension from Odabashian Bridge to
Lincoln Rock State Park, which is near Rocky Reach Dam.

Karolyn Klohe, an assistant state attorney general representing State Parks,
said the state has until Oct. 12 to decide whether to appeal the judge's July
31 decision. She said State Parks has not made a decision.

Stanton said he wants to hold a public hearing on a proposed
rezone and then decide whether or not to allow the rezone.

Some orchard owners have opposed building the trail.

“It's my understanding that through the hearing examiner process a lot
of issues with the orchards were addressed,“ Stanton said. “So that's
why I would like to reopen it and see what has been addressed and what
hasn't been addressed.“

He said he believes Commissioners Keane and Mary Hunt feel the same way,
but he said any commission action may be delayed if State Parks appeals
the judge's July 31 decision.

Kottkamp's decision was appealed to Hotchkiss by Jack Feil and other
Baker Flats orchardists in the Baker Flats Right to Farm Association
who contend that the trail is incompatible with farming and violates
the state Growth Management Act.

On Aug. 10, Klohe presented a proposed final order of the judge's
July 31 decision, reversing it and affirming Kottkamp's permit.
Klohe also asked the judge to reconsider his decision.

On Sept. 13, Hotchkiss denied the motion for reconsideration and
Klohe's proposed final order. He wrote that putting anything more
than necessary on paper allows both sides to suggest findings he
did not make. He reiterated his July 31 decision that Kottkamp's
recreational overlay permit amounted to a rezone and that rezones
have to be approved or denied by county commissioners.

State Prepares To Sell Eastside Waterfront

East Wenatchee, Washington --
The east side of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail is at
stake as the state prepares to sell the land that the trail sits
on, as well as hundreds more acres of riverside property between
the Odabashian and pipeline bridges.

The state Department of Transportation bought the riverfront land
decades ago, planning to build a highway along the bank someday.
In the mid-1980s, and again in the mid-1990s, officials considered
but ultimately abandoned plans to put a road along the river.

The DOT has scrapped the notion of building the road. Instead, the
agency is expanding Sunset Highway to four lanes. This summer, the
Federal Highway Administration backed up the state by declaring Sunset
Highway the preferred route, officially making the riverfront land surplus.

The state is required by law to sell the property at market value.
There's no guarantee that whoever buys it will preserve the 4.5-mile
segment of the Loop Trail between Odabashian Bridge and the pipeline
bridge. The city of East Wenatchee and Douglas County lease the trail
right-of-way from the DOT.

The process to sell the land is just starting and could take several
years to complete, Ted Hill, a DOT real-estate service manager, said Monday.

At this point, “there are a lot of different scenarios“ that could
play out, said Jeff Adamson, a Department of Transportation spokesman.

Among them is that commercial developers will go after riverfront
tracts that stand to become prime property — as has happened in Wenatchee.

“You have a lot of competing interests,“ Adamson said. People who have
lived on leased land for decades, those who want the area to stay undeveloped,
Loop Trail advocates, as well as commercial builders, are all in the picture,
he explained. Adamson said public agencies such as Douglas County, the city of
East Wenatchee or the State Parks Department could be granted the first crack
at buying the land before private parties.

Hill said he didn't know exactly how much land the DOT owns between the
bridges. Also unknown is how much the land is worth. He said an appraisal
is needed. Hill said the department would prefer to sell the land to one
buyer, but the possibility of selling to multiple parties isn't ruled out.
“If we lose the trail, we lose one of the gems of this valley,“
said Dave Schwab, director of the Eastmont Metropolitan Parks District.

This morning, the sun lit up the yellowing treetops near the river
as brothers Ed Brugmann, 76, and Dick Brugmann, 68, quietly walked
the trail near 19th Street. The brothers, both East Wenatchee residents,
have been walking the trail together for an hour every morning for about
eight years.

It's away from traffic and quiet, they said,
which seemed to suit the brothers of few words.

“We don't talk that much,“ Ed said.
“I've already heard all his lies,“ said Dick.

The brothers said they couldn't imagine citizens and government
agencies not standing up to see that the trail survives.

With everything up in the air, East Wenatchee Community Development
Director Lori Barnett said she's sure of one thing: “We need to get
proactive doing something to be able to keep that trail.“

Safety Questions For Pedestrian Bridge

Wenatchee, Washington --
The 100-year-old pedestrian bridge crossing the Columbia River
certainly can't carry buses, and it's questionable how much life
the span has left, according to the latest engineering analysis.

Experts studying the stability of the bridge for Link Transit have
found that joints holding it together from the underside are irreparably
rusted, in contrast to joints on the top side, which engineers determined
earlier this year could be salvaged.

“Degradation of the bridge is much more extensive than preliminary
analysis showed,“ Richard DeRock, Link general manager, said Monday.
He said the bridge will never hold buses. “They (engineers) discovered
that there is no effective way to repair it.“

Analysis of the bridge, the first built to carry cars across the
Columbia River, is still going on. Yet to be determined is how much
steel the rust has eaten away and how fast new rust is forming, he said.

DeRock said engineers told him the lifespan could be anywhere from
10 to 50 more years. At any rate, DeRock said indications are the
bridge is much weaker than officials had thought.

Link had hoped the bridge could carry buses, getting them around the
jam-packed Sen. George Sellar Bridge. Now Link's role in the span's
future is unknown. The Wenatchee Reclamation District, an irrigation
provider, owns the bridge.

DeRock said it might take several agencies teaming up to save the span.
“In the near future we should probably be talking about this process,“
he said.

Noting its use as a conduit across the river of cable lines, an
irrigation pipe and the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, DeRock
said: “There's a whole bunch of people who need this corridor.“

Among them are farmers and orchardists tending 4,000 acres in the
East Wenatchee area. A 48-inch pipe carries irrigation water over
the bridge to Douglas County.

“I think we've got to take it one step at a time,“ said Rick Smith,
superintendent of the Wenatchee Reclamation District.

Smith said the final analysis could show that the bridge can continue
doing what it's doing, carrying pedestrians, cyclists and a water pipe.
“For the existing uses we may be just fine,“ Smith said.
“We're pursuing better information.“

Trail Extension Rezone Improper, Judge Says

Wenatchee-Waterville, Washington --
A judge has thrown out approval of a riverfront trail
between Lincoln Rock State Park and Odabashian Bridge.

Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss ruled
that a hearing examiner lacked the authority to rezone land
to allow the trail. The Tuesday decision, unless appealed,
will send the trail case to the Douglas County Commission.

Commission Chairman Ken Stanton
said it “will be a real tough decision.”

He said philosophically he doesn’t think he or commissioners
Mary Hunt or Dane Keane are opposed to the trail but that they’ve
“always had issues with the compatibility of the trail going through
the orchards and farm land and impacting their ability to farm.”

“That’s been the major concern we’ve had,” Stanton said.

Stanton said he assumes commissioners will hold a public hearing
on the matter in the next 30 to 45 days and make a decision.

No Decision Yet On Trail Extension

Wenatchee-Waterville, Washington --
Supporters and opponents of a riverfront trail extension
to Lincoln Rock State Park will have to wait one more
month before a decision is made on the fate of the
proposed trail.

Arguments for and against the trail were presented at a hearing
in Douglas County Superior Court Monday. Judge John Hotchkiss
said it would be at least a month before he would make a decision.

The proposed 5.1-mile pedestrian and bicycle path along
the Columbia River between the Odabashian Bridge and
Lincoln Rock State Park has been contested for more than
a decade. The trail would link the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail with Lincoln Rock State Park.

It would be built on public lands owned by the state
Department of Transportation and the Chelan County
PUD. However, some of the land has been leased to orchardists.

Last year, Douglas County hearing examiner Andy Kottkamp
approved a permit for the trail to the state Parks and Recreation
Commission and recommended that county commissioners
rezone the property.

Shortly after the permit was granted, Jack Feil, John Tontz
and The Right to Farm Association of Baker Flats filed a
lawsuit in Douglas County Superior Court against the county,
the state Department of Transportation, the state Parks and
Recreation Commission and Chelan County PUD. The suit
seeks reversal of Kottkamp's decisions.

Feil, Tontz and the association are challenging whether
Kott-kamp has the authority to approve permits and
recommend rezones as an administrator.

They also argued that by rezoning the land the county
would be going against the Growth Management Act
which calls for protecting agricultural lands, Jim Klauser,
an attorney representing Feil, Tontz and the association,
said Monday afternoon after the hearing.

Klauser said if Kottkamp's recommendation stands,
Hotchkiss will be "setting an unfortunate precedent
that will have ramifications throughout the state."

"The ramifications will be severe. If you could do
administratively what they are trying to do, which is
supposed to be done legislatively, it would be like
setting a wildfire from county to county," he said.
"You'd have administrators and bureaucrats creating

Pedestrian Bridge Closures Camera Work

Wenatchee, Washington --
Brief closures on pedestrian bridge due to camera work

Work to install security cameras on the Columbia River
pedestrian bridge, which links Wenatchee and East Wenatchee,
will cause brief, 10- to 20-minute bridge closures on
weekdays through Feb. 23.

The Chelan County PUD is installing the cameras to monitor
an electric substation on South Worthen Street, the utility
said in a news release. Both the RiverCom emergency dispatch
center and the Washington State Patrol will also be able to
remotely rotate the cameras 360 degrees to monitor bridge traffic,
PUD spokeswoman Kimberlee Craig said.

Beckstead Electric of Wenatchee is doing the installation
for $9,250. The bridge will be closed during the short
periods for welding or when new materials arrive.

Ruling Clears Path For Trail Extension

East Wenatchee, Washington --
A long-sought riverfront trail extension north
of East Wenatchee got the green light to proceed
on Friday.

Douglas County Hearings Examiner Andy Kottkamp
approved an application by the state Parks and Recreation
Commission to build the 5.1-mile bicycle and pedestrian
path on the Douglas County side of the Columbia River.

The trail would link the Apple Capital Recreation Loop
Trail with Lincoln Rock State Park. It would be built entirely
on public lands owned by the state Department of Transportation
and the Chelan County PUD. However, some of the land has
been leased for years to orchardists.

The proposal was opposed by orchardists in the Baker
Flats area who say they fear the trail would bring an
increase of thefts, trespassing, vandalism, liability
over spraying and beehives kept near the trail route,
and a risk of frost pockets.

Orchardist Jack Feil, who hired an attorney to fight
the proposal, could not be reached for comment.

In his written ruling, Kottkamp ruled that the proposal
did enough to make up for any potential impacts the trail
may have. State Parks has committed to closing the trail
during orchard spraying times and patrolling for violators,
as well as creating buffers between the trail and orchards
and installing fences and gates for farmers.

Kottkamp wrote that during a Sept. 12 public hearing on the
proposal, several people testified to the incompatibility
between orchard activities and public recreation.

"However, the more convincing testimony leaves the
Hearings Examiner to find that orchard activities, pedestrians
and bicyclists can co-exist in the same proximity, just as they
have for over 100 years," he wrote.

Kottkamp also ordered that the trail and buffers
be built to minimize frost pockets in area orchards.

He also wrote that State Parks may -- but won't be
required to -- consider a temporary closure of the trail
for up to two weeks during peak beehive assembly times.

Kottkamp dismissed concerns raised by orchardists
during the Sept. 12 hearing that helicopter spraying
would no longer be allowed if the trail is built.

He said the proposed trail closures will allow large
blocks of time in the morning hours over a three-month
period for spraying near the trail.

He also wrote the orchards near the trail could serve as
an educational opportunity for the public through the use
of interpretive signs.

Washington State Parks has been working on the trail
project since 1995. The agency received a shoreline
development permit to build the trail from the county
in 2004. But the decision was appealed, and a Douglas
County Superior Court judge later ruled that State Parks
needed a conditional use permit or recreational overlay
permit to build the trail.

In his ruling, Kottkamp granted the permit Friday.

Rebuttal Period Delays Rocky Reach Trail Decision

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Douglas County Hearing Examiner Andy Kottkamp
probably won’t decide whether to grant a permit
for the Rocky Reach trail until Nov. 3.

Kottkamp held a public hearing on the proposed
recreation overlay permit Sept. 12 and had said he
would make a decision by Oct. 13. But he’s giving
the state Parks and Recreation Commission, which
is seeking the permit, until Friday to rebut comments
the public made through Sept. 29, Mark Kulaas,
county planning director, said Monday.

Kottkamp has 10 days after Oct. 20 to rule and probably
will need the entire time to review material, Kulaas said.

The 5.1-mile Rocky Reach trail, an extension of the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail to Lincoln Rock
State Park near Rocky Reach Dam, has been disputed
for more than a decade. Recreationists want it but
orchardists along the route say it’s incompatible
with their orchards.

Kottkamp’s ruling could be appealed to Superior Court,
Kulaas said.

Hearing Set On Loop Trail Extension

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Official will consider granting overlay
permit, which would allow construction.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday on a proposed but
long-delayed extension of the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail.

The state Parks and Recreation Commission has applied for
a permit from Douglas County to build a 5.1-mile pedestrian
and bicycle path along the Columbia River between Odabashian
Bridge and Lincoln Rock State Park.

Orchardist Jack Feil is fighting the plan, arguing that the
trail would encroach on prime orchard property and increase
the risk of theft, trespass and vandalism.

He farms 35 acres along the proposed route.

Douglas County Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp
will consider granting a recreation overlay permit,
allowing the trail to be built.

The underlying zoning, much of which is designated
agricultural resource, would stay the same, said
county Planning Manager Glen DeVries.

No decision is expected Tuesday.

Kottkamp could continue the hearing, extend the public
comment period for five working days, or issue a decision
in 10 working days, DeVries said.

Former county hearing examiner Don Moos in January 2004
granted a shoreline development permit for the project.

Feil's appeal was rejected in March 2005
by the state's Shorelines Hearing Board.

In August 2005, after Feil appealed that decision in
Douglas County Superior Court, Judge John Hotchkiss
ruled that the state Parks and Recreation Commission
needed a conditional use permit or recreational overlay
permit before starting work.

No hunting near the Loop Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --
The no hunting signs will soon be going up along
Douglas County's side of the Apple Capital Loop Trail.

Commissioners have approved an ordinance that
bans the discharge of firearms in the area.

The ban was ordered after public safety complaints about
water fowl hunters firing their weapons in the area.

Douglas County Hunting Ordinance and Loop Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Hunting near the Douglas County side of the
Apple Capital Loop Trail may be prohibited
in the future.

County Commissioner Ken Stanton says a public
hearing is slated for May 2nd to discuss the issue.

Several people have told County Commissioners
they are concerned about people shooting around
the popular walking and biking trail.

Bridge update begins — Loop Trail detour in effect until Friday

Wenatchee, Washington --

Update - The bridge at the Linden Tree Area is Open!
Photo - 04/03/2006 Olga Rybakov, 20, of Malaga zooms across
the recently updated bridge at the Linden Tree Area of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail on Monday. The Chelan County PUD
replaced the wooden deck of the bridge with a concrete surface to
make it safer for use in bad weather. Crews also replaced the railings.

Photo - Work has begun to replace the small bridge on the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in the Linden Tree Area,
near the Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club barn. Apprentice
carpenter Isidro Arellano, right, removes a bracket Monday
from a plank as he and journeyman carpenter Lynn Preston,
both of Blodgett Construction Associates of Malaga, dismantle
the bridge. The timbers will be replaced with a concrete deck.

The clickety-clack of bikes and in-line skates crossing the
little wooden bridge at Linden Tree Area is about to be silenced.

The Chelan County PUD this week is replacing the wooden deck of the
aging bridge with a concrete surface to make it safer in bad weather.

PUD spokeswoman Kimberlee Craig said the bridge will have a
deck similar to a boat launch, giving better traction in snow and ice.

The bridge is on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail and crosses
a water runoff channel at the bottom of Ninth Street, near the Wenatchee
Row and Paddle Club barn. The wooden crossing was built between 1988
and 1990, Craig said.

She said the PUD, which owns the riverfront park system,
is also replacing the bridge’s railings. The small posts
supporting the railings will be placed closer together in
compliance with new safety standards, she said.

The bridge work started Monday,
forcing the closure of the Loop Trail in that area.

Craig said the deck replacement work will be finished by
Friday afternoon, and the bridge will be reopened in time
for a Saturday fundraising run through the park.

The railing work will be completed next week.

Riverfront Trail Section To Close For Repairs

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Linden Tree section of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
between Wenatchee Riverfront Park and Walla Walla Point Park will
be closed Tuesday through March 24 while crews repair the small
bridge there.

Construction Service Associates of Malaga will replace
the handrails and decking of the bridge at a cost of
about $9,900, the Chelan County PUD said.

Trail traffic will be routed to the sidewalk along Walla Walla
Avenue from Ninth Street to the entrance of Walla Walla Point Park.

Visits drop by half at Confluence State Park

Wenatchee, Washington --
Visits to Wenatchee Confluence State Park have dropped
by more than half since a day-use parking fee was imposed
in 2003.

The state Legislature is working to repeal the $5 fee in the
hopes of luring people back to state parks that collectively
lost more than 7 million visitors in the last three years. The
parking fee would be axed under a version of the state budget
approved Friday by the Senate. The House also favors
eliminating the fee.

Visitor figures at Wenatchee Confluence dropped from
480,868 in 2002 -- the year before the parking fee was
imposed -- to 209,080 last year.

"With the Chelan County PUD parks so close by and free,
people had alternate places to go," said Jim Harris, regional
director of Washington State Parks in Wenatchee.

Attendance at 50 state parks in the Eastern region
-- including 20 in NCW -- has dropped from 11.4
million in 2002 to fewer than 8.5 million last year,
according to the state.

The count is only an estimate, though. The state figures the
number of visitors by counting cars, then multiplying by an
estimated number of people per car. The vehicle occupancy
formula varies through the year, but averages 3.5 people.

In addition to Wenatchee Confluence, attendance at
Lincoln Rock, Daroga, Lake Chelan and Lake Wenatchee
state parks also dropped dramatically.

Eliot Scull, a member of the Washington Parks and Recreation
Commission, said he believes the drop-off in visitors has been
exaggerated and is fewer than 7 million statewide.

Scull, an East Wenatchee resident, also said
visitor numbers started to rebound last year.

While parks users will overwhelmingly welcome elimination
of the $5 parking fee, the parks agency is worried about the
budgetary impact of cutting the fees.

In a written statement, the commission objected to any reduction
in its funding without replacement. The parking fee generated $3.4
million in the last three years. Losing the money could result in
park closures or a reduction in service, the commission said.

"I'm quite happy to see the fee go away, provided we can get
a definite, ongoing, reliable source of funding to replace it,"
Scull said in an interview Friday. "But I don't see that
happening in the current bill proposals."

He said state lawmakers are proposing a one-time backfill of $2.7
million for the next biennium, but nothing is decided after that.

"What I'm hoping is that we don't find ourselves in a couple
years having to cut back services or considering closing parks,"
he said.

Scull acknowledged that there was an "enormous amount of
resistance" to the fee from a vocal group of opponents. He
said he believes that many of the people who didn't like the
fee are those who make short visits to the park, such as for
lunch or a walk.

He said parks that saw the biggest drop in
visitors were in urban or suburban areas.

Harris, the regional parks director, said he suspects most
of the visitors who stopped coming to Wenatchee, Lincoln
Rock and other parks in the region were local residents not
used to paying fees to recreate along the waterfront.

Harris and Scull both said one positive side effect of the
fee has been a decrease in vandalism, damage and troublesome
visitors to the parks.

"With the parking fee, we saw a change in the type of people
who came to the parks," Harris said. "With no cost, we saw
people with behaviors less than desirable. With the fee, they
no longer came."

Scull added, "There were less kegger parties, and fewer
teenagers driving in and playing loud music. The parking
fee has made the rangers' jobs easier."

If the fee is repealed, Washington will be the only state
in the West that does not charge for day-use parking.

Low-hanging wire 'not a danger' PUD says

Wenatchee, Washington --
A wire hanging low from the Riverwalk Crossing does
not present any danger to users of the pedestrian bridge,
a Chelan County Public Utility District spokesman said.

The cable, a temporary fiber optic cable wire installed
about two months ago for TV, Internet and phone service,
is “completely passive,” said John Smith, PUD networks
director. There is no electrical current running through it.

The bridge connects downtown Wenatchee with Riverfront Park.

The cable, about 350 feet in length, was installed above
the bridge when the cold weather did not allow for the
installation of underground cable.

Now the wire is hanging about 7 feet 6 inches from the ground.

The only danger is the potential for vandalism, Smith said.

If people swing on it, they could damage it,
which could cause fiber outages around Worthen Street.

The wire is scheduled to be replaced in the next
three weeks by an underground wire, Smith said.

PUD starts work to move route farther from river

Wenatchee, Washington --
A section of the riverfront trail system north of Walla Walla
Point Park was temporarily closed Tuesday as workers moved
a 650-foot section of fence in preparation for a trail relocation
next spring.

The site is one of a handful of spots along the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail in Wenatchee that have
taken on a construction-zone feel in recent weeks as
projects to repave, move and add trail and replant a
softball field were either stalled or jump-started by
the cold, wet weather.

The fence at the south end of the Walt Horan Wildlife Area was
moved about 20 feet inland from the water’s edge, paving the
way for a realignment of the trail next spring. The $30,000 fence
-and-trail move is needed to protect the riverbank and trail from
erosion, said Ray Heit, who managers the riverfront parks for the
Chelan County PUD. He said the erosion is being caused by river
motion and people and their pets walking down to the water.

The fence was moved into an area where a pear orchard was
torn out last month. The orchard was removed because of the
potential hazards of pesticide sprays drifting onto trail users,
said Steve Currit, PUD parks director.

The PUD and Wenatchee Valley College have discussed the
idea of the college building an environmental learning
center on the former orchard site. But Currit said Tuesday
that the project is very preliminary right now, and no
designs or proposals have been presented to the PUD,
which owns the land.

Tuesday’s fence work was originally scheduled for next spring
but was moved up when funding became available after three
other projects were delayed by weather. Those projects are:

* A 1,000-foot-long section of the pedestrian
trail through Walla Walla Point Park.

* A softball field at Walla Walla Park.

* A new spur trail leading to the new
Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club boat dock.

Work along trail to begin today

Wenatchee, Washington --
Fencing along a section of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
will be moved starting Monday the 28th, but the trail will remain open.

A contractor will move about 650 feet of fence near a former pear
orchard at the sound end of the Horan Wildlife Area in Wenatchee.

The work, which will continue until Dec. 9, is preparation for
realigning a section of the trail next spring. The trail will
be moved back from the river's edge to prevent erosion.

Loop trail section won’t be paved until spring

Wenatchee, Washington --
A section of the pedestrian trail in Walla Walla Point Park
torn up earlier this month for widening will not be repaved
until next spring.

Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail users are advised to use
caution in the 1,000-foot stretch of trail now covered with gravel.
The trail section is between the coyote statue and the entrance to
the Confluence Wildlife Area.

The paving work was delayed by wet weather,
according to the Chelan County PUD.

Riverside drive funding

Wenatchee, Washington --
A road that will help spur development along Wenatchee's waterfront
is closer to becoming a reality. Friday, the State Transportation
Improvement Board announced they will fund the first phase of the project.

The cost of the first phase of the project is estimated at 3.4 million
dollars. That includes project design and right-of-way acquisition.

Wenatchee Riverfront - A developing controversy

Wenatchee, Washington --
~Trail users go both ways on plans for condos, restaurants~

The city’s plan to replace the warehouses, homes and light
industry that line Riverfront Park with condos, shops and
restaurants got mixed reviews Saturday from people who
visit the park.

“I don’t like it. They’re looking out for the economics,
not for the people,” said Maria Hays, 55, of Sunnyslope,
taking a break from her brisk walk along the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail near Fifth Street.

“They make it out to be a huge thing and that everything
will be wonderful. But there is no benefit to anyone who
can’t afford to buy the condos. I like it the way it is.”

In a few years, the property across from where Hays spoke
is expected to become a string of seven-story condominiums
with commercial space on the ground floor and a street,
Riverside Drive, that will replace the parking lots that
currently line the west side of the park.

The city’s riverfront master plan calls for upscale development
along much of the property between Fifth and Ninth streets.
The city council approved the plan in early 2004. Private
developers would carry out most of the work.

Much of Hays’ concern was for the families of the Ninth
Street Trailer Park. The people who own or rent the 85
trailers and modest homes in the park will be forced to
move in 2007 to make way for the city’s plans.

Many have said they have no where else to go, and are hoping the
city and the trailer park’s new owner, Kamkon Inc. of Wenatchee,
will help them relocate. So far, they have no assurances.

“I understand progress. I understand that the riverfront development
plan is very important for the city, but the city has to understand
that they can’t just do nothing,” said Molly Littrell, 70, from the
neat, Africa-themed living room of the trailer she’s called home for
more than 10 years. Her chihuahua-teacup poodle mix dog, Diva,
squirmed in her lap.

“They need to find a piece of property and move all these
trailers at the city’s and Kamkon’s expense,” she said.
“It’s going to be a stressful winter for a lot of people.”

Other exercisers along the Loop Trail echoed concerns for
the trailer-park residents, but many liked the city’s plan.

“I think it’ll be a big improvement that will add more points
of interest,” said Paul Kapeikis, 39, as he walked his newly
adopted dog, Coral, and toted his 16-month-old son, Liam, in
a backpack carrier.

Kapeikis’ wife, Louise Kapeikis, is skating director at the
Riverfront Ice Arena. He said the couple lived six years in
Portland and enjoyed that city’s riverside walk and shops
along the Willamette River.

“I worked three blocks from there, and we’d meet there for
lunch or to take the dog for a walk. I thoroughly enjoyed it,”
he said.

Mike and Janice Daines, who live in the Sleepy Hollow area
near Monitor, said they also favored the condo-look to the
park’s current industry.

“It looks real nice,” said Mike Daines, 45, after examining
an architect’s rendering of the proposed condos and shops.
“They need a few spots like that. I like the ambience.”

But he wouldn’t like to see the high-density development
spread to the East Wenatchee side, which both he and Janice,
40, said they enjoyed for its natural, woodsy feel.

Joy Kalar, 24, who moved to Wenatchee two months ago
from Northern Minnesota, said she rollerblades the Loop
Trail for the mountain and river scenery, but she’d also
welcome the development.

“I don’t think it would ruin my experience,” she said.
“I’m just here for the river, but I could still see that.”

Leon Simms, 70, of Puyallup also approved.

“As long as the specifics of the park... are not disturbed,
I would say that it (the development) would be fantastic,”
he said, getting ready to start a trail walk near Ninth Street.
“To me, it would be a major breakthrough for Wenatchee. I’ve often
wondered why they’ve never built anything that went up to any height
for the beautiful view of the Columbia and the mountains.”

Simms said he visits Wenatchee twice a month to see his
kids and hopes to build a home and move here, himself.

A pilot for Horizon Air, Sean O’Connor, 28, said he stays in
Wenatchee twice a month and runs on the Loop Trail every time
he’s here. He said he’d wouldn’t oppose the condos and shops,
but would object to increased vehicle traffic along the trail.

“You’d get too fumigated,” he said.

Longtime residents of Wenatchee and five-time-per-week Loop Trail
walkers, Paul and Jeannie Phillips shook their heads disapprovingly
at the mention of the city’s development plans.

“I’m against it,” said Paul Phillips, 73, “I think we’ve got a
beautiful thing here. I don’t like change, and it looks as though
they’re going through all this for the sake of private enterprise.”

Dock project to close Linden Tree of Loop Trail

Wenatchee, Washington --
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail users should
use caution in the Linden Tree area between Walla
Walla Point Park and Wenatchee Riverfront Park,
where crews are doing work this week.

Contractors are extending a path and building a
bulkhead just upriver of the old barn as part of the
Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club dock project,
according to the Chelan County PUD.

The main trail may have temporary closures near
the restroom building at the top of the hill as crews
bring materials and equipment across the trail,
the PUD said in a press release.

The paddle club is extending the path from its
existing dock below Ninth Street by about 50 feet
to the site of a new dock, which will be installed
in about two weeks.

Eastside Trail Agreement

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Douglas County, the City of East Wenatchee, and the
newly formed Eastmont Metropolitan Parks District
have come to an agreement on the future maintenance
and operation of the Eastside Apple Capital Loop Trail.

A new cost-sharing plan calls for the EMPD to lease the
trail from the City and County. The Parks District had
earlier refused to take over the trail's ownership because
of cost concerns.

The Eastside Trail extends from Douglas County
Hydro Park north to the Odabashion Bridge.

Loop Trail closed by suicide investigation

Wenatchee, Washington --
Authorities closed a stretch of the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail to investigate an apparent suicide Monday morning.

The closed area went from Hawley Street to the north entrance
to the Walt Horan Natural Area at Confluence State Park.

The area closed around 11 a.m. and reopened about 3 p.m.

Loop Trail fire burns 3 acres

East Wenatchee, Washington --
The cause considered accidental.......

Fire burned about 3 acres along the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail near Odabashian Bridge on Saturday.

The blaze was reported at 2:16 p.m. and burned through grass
and brush along the Columbia River and up over the trail near
32nd Street, said Cam Phillips, a Douglas County Fire District
2 firefighter.

The cause is considered accidental, he said. Firefighters had been
called to the area Friday by the report of a fire but found nothing.

Firefighters also responded Saturday to a 1-acre
brush fire at 101 Rudolph Road, near Palisades.

No one was injured and no buildings were damaged,
Phillips said. The cause is under investigation.

Wenatchee Riverfront road plan moves ahead

Wenatchee, Washington --
City asks Chelan PUD for its support; $5 million grant sought.

The city of Wenatchee says it now has enough support from
waterfront property owners to move forward with its plans
to build a new riverfront road.

The city asked the Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday for their
backing as it seeks a nearly $5 million grant to buy property and
build the new road to connect Walla Walla Avenue and Worthen Street.

PUD commissioners, who called the road project a "beautiful plan,"
will decide next week whether to sign a letter of support for the
Riverside Drive project.

The road would be a major step toward the city's plans of developing
the riverfront with condos, retail shops, restaurants, hotels and
other features to entice economic growth.

The Wenatchee City Council approved the riverfront redevelopment
plan in February 2004 that covers roughly a three-mile strip along
the river. Then last September, the council approved the route for
a new riverfront road.

The city applied for a grant last year to build the road. But Allison
Williams, executive services director for the city, said they lost out
largely because they did not have enough support from property
owners whose land the road would cross.

She told PUD commissioners on Monday that most of the property
owners are expected to write letters of support for the new road.

The road would cross city and PUD property, as well as a few businesses,
some residential lots and go through the Ninth Street Trailer Park.
The future of the trailer park is uncertain.

Williams would not reveal the identity any of the property
owners in support of the road except for Columbia Colstor.

The total cost of the road project is estimated at $6.9 million.
The city would begin buying property next year and then build
the road in 2008, Williams said.

To avoid the new road becoming a bypass for other congested streets
in Wenatchee, Williams said it is being designed to slow traffic.
Calling it "planned congestion," she said the road will include
features like round-abouts, speed bumps and narrow sections.

Truck traffic would be routed along Piere Street to keep it off the most
congested areas along the riverfront between Fifth and Ninth streets.

The letter of support the PUD commissioners are being asked to sign would
also include a statement of their commitment to take a look at converting
its property at the foot of Ninth Street to public parking, to help the
city design the new road, removing an old substation near Columbia Colstor
on Worthen Street, and building a new substation near Ninth and Piere streets
to accommodate construction of new high-density housing.

"I think the whole thing is beautiful,"
said PUD commissioner Gary Montague.

Commissioner Ann Congdon expressed concern about allowing six-story
buildings along the waterfront that would block views of the river.
But Williams said Riverside Drive would be located between any housing
and retail building, and pointed out that the previous industrial zoning
for the land allowed buildings up to 13 stories.

"It's a beautiful plan," said Commissioner Werner Janssen.
"But hopefully the beauty of the parks won't be destroyed by all this."

Orchardist’s appeal stops proposed trail in its tracks

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Judge rules parks commission needs zoning
change permit from county for extension..

An orchardist has won the latest round in the fight over
an extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

A Douglas County judge has ruled that the Washington State Parks
and Recreation Commission must first get a zoning change permit
from the county if it wants to extend the trail through Baker
Flats and farmland leased by orchardist Jack Feil.

Bill Fraser, regional parks planner for the state parks commission,
said Feil’s legal opposition has dragged and delayed the state parks
commission’s efforts to implement a project that is backed by the community.

“If there was no legal action, we could have started
this fall, and now it won’t happen,” he said.

“We have been working on this (trail) since 1995,”
he added. “This just puts it back on the shelf.”

The judge’s decision will delay “indefinitely” the extension
of the trail, said Assistant Attorney General Barbara Herman,
who represented the parks commission.

In his Aug. 2 written opinion, Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss
stated that the state parks commission must apply to the county for
a conditional use permit or a recreational overlay permit if it wants
to extend the trail five miles from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln
Rock State Park.

Hotchkiss added that he doubted the final outcome of the
project would change but that he did not believe the state
could build the trail without such a permit.

Feil has long opposed the state parks department’s plans to
extend the trail through his farmland, citing concerns about
lawsuits and vandalism from trail users.

“Liability is a big thing,” Feil said. “People who don’t understand
about orchards will be coming in, also there’s thousands of bees,
which poses a threat as well.”

He has suffered some setbacks in his fight to stop the extension.

Last March, the state’s Shorelines Hearing Board rejected Feil’s
appeal of the county’s decision to grant a shoreline permit to the
trail extension project.

The shoreline permit was the only one the county’s hearing examiner had issued
in the state, which caused Feil to file an appeal to demand a second permit be
required, an appeal upheld by Hotchkiss in his Aug. 2 opinion.

“It’s a clear victory for our client,” said
James Klauser, the attorney representing Feil.

Klauser said the state was getting ready to start cutting trees
while the shoreline permit only applied to the two-fifths of the
trail extension that are within 200 feet of the Columbia River shore.

Herman said that while the judge’s ruling that the state needs to
get another permit is a victory for Feil, the fact that Hotchkiss
upheld the shoreline permit issued was a victory for the state.

An appeal of Hotchkiss’ decision is not out of the question, she said.

Mark Kulaas, Douglas County Planning Director said it is up
to the state to decide whether to apply for the second permit
or appeal Hotchkiss’ ruling. It could take between three to
six months for the permits to be processed, he said.

“We will wait for (the state) to contact us,” he said.

Confluence viewing area closed due to leaning tree

Wenatchee, Washington --
A possibly hazardous 100-foot cottonwood tree has caused
a viewing station in Wenatchee Confluence State Park to
remain closed, said Matt Morrison, the park’s manager.

Morrison said he is waiting for the only arbor crew in the
state park system to assess what kind of danger the tree poses.

“It looks healthy, but it has a lean to it,” Morrison said.
“We thought we’d be prudent and close the viewing station.”

Virginia Painter, spokeswoman for State Parks in Olympia,
said the arbor crew is working in northwest Washington.
Painter said she did not know when the crew would make
its way to Wenatchee.

The viewing station, which has been closed since the end of
April, is one of 16 stations in the park’s Walt Horan Natural
Area, Morrison said.

Last December, a woman was struck by a falling
tree and killed at Lake Wenatchee State Park.

After the accident, park officials said they would re-evaluate
their program for identifying and eliminating dangerous trees,

Painter said a request for a second arbor crew has been put on an
agency “needs list,” but there is currently no funding available.

Dog owner cited in pit bull attack on Loop Trail

Wenatchee, Washington --
An Orondo-area man has been cited for a dog attack on the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail last month, an animal
control officer said.

Christopher "C.J." Corter, 22, was fined $62 and his pit bull,
Mammas, was deemed a "potentially dangerous" dog by the
Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, animal control officer
James Rowe said.

The civil infraction for having a dog at large
was issued around April 25, Rowe said.

Corter could not be reached for comment.

The attack happened April 14 on the loop trail near Worthen
Street, where Corter works at American Building !*! Roofing,
Rowe said.

A 71-year-old Edmonds woman who was bit in the calf did
not need stitches. But the woman's Labrador retriever needed
several on its neck and back. The animal survived. The woman's
husband, also present during the attack, wasn't hurt.

Corter's pit bull, a 3- or 4-year-old female, was quarantined
April 19 and then released to Corter a few days later, he said.

As a potentially dangerous dog, Mammas must be on a leash
when in public, Rowe said. Rowe said Corter also places a
muzzle on the dog now.

The dog's identity, and that of its owner,
weren't immediately known after the attack.

The Edmonds couple said the dog came running out of the
fenced lot of American Building !*! Roofing and attacked
them around 2 p.m. that Thursday, Rowe said. The couple
said a man in his 20s with short reddish hair and a light
complexion came out of the business, got the pit bull,
and left, Rowe said.

Rowe said company officials told him after the attack that
they didn't recognize anyone fitting the man's description.

The manager of the business, at 310 S. Worthen St., said
in an interview with The Wenatchee World the day after the
attack that she did not recognize the dog's owner from a
description provided by a reporter.

Rowe said he later got about a dozen anonymous tips from
people saying Corter, who fit the description, worked at
American Building !*! Roofing and had a dog there.

Rowe said he went back to the business
and asked Corter to contact him.

Rowe said Corter came into the Humane Society
office on April 19 and handed over the dog.

Rowe said Corter told him he had been keeping the dog in
the cab of his truck while at work, but that the dog escaped
when he opened the truck's door just before the 2 p.m. attack.

Pit bull attacks couple on loop trail

Wenatchee, Washington --
~Woman and her dog bitten, both injured~

A pit bull attacked a black Labrador retriever and one
of the dog's owner as she and her husband walked on the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail near Worthen Street
on Thursday, an animal control official said.

A 71-year-old woman was bitten once in the calf, said Pat Baker,
executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. The
woman, from Edmonds north of Seattle, did not need stitches,
Baker said. She didn't release her name.

The Lab, a spayed female on a leash, needed several stitches on
its neck and back, Baker said. The Lab is expected to survive,
she said.

The Edmonds woman's husband was not hurt, Baker said.

Baker believes the pit bull bit the woman because she
was between it and the Lab at the start of the attack,
which happened about 2 p.m.

The Humane Society is looking for a man who "came running out of
American Building & Roofing and ran away with the dog (pit bull),"
Baker said.

It isn't clear if the man is associated with the business, Baker said.

However, Tina Jahr, manager of the business at 310 S. Worthen St.,
said she was the only person in the building at the time.

She was on the phone when she "heard a little bit of commotion," she
said. She went outside and saw an elderly man who was visibly upset.

Jahr said she had not seen and does not know anyone who matched
a police description of the man who left with the pit bull.

Baker said that since the pit bull bit a person, it needs to be
quarantined in case it has rabies. It is a misdemeanor if someone
fails to quarantine a dog, but Baker wasn't sure the man who fled
knew the dog had bit the woman.

Having an at-large dog is punishable by a fine of $62 to $205,
depending on whether it is a repeat offense, Baker said.

The pit bull could also be deemed potentially dangerous,
which would force its owner to have it registered, Baker said.

Wenatchee police Sgt. John Kruse said the man who left with the
pit bull was described as being in his 20s with short, reddish hair.
He was balding and had a light complexion, Kruse said. He wore
a white tank top and long pants and had freckles on his shoulders,
he said. Baker said the pit bull was a dark color.

Kruse said he hadn't heard of any other recent dog attacks in Wenatchee.

Anyone with information can call the Humane Society at 662-9577.

Gang member arrested in Riverfront Park assault

Wenatchee, Washington --
A 14-year-old Wenatchee boy was arrested after a handgun
was pointed at another teenager at Riverfront Park Sunday
night, police said.

Nobody was hurt, he said.

Wenatchee police Sgt. John Kruse said the suspect is a gang
member who thought that the victim was a member of a rival
gang. The victim was not a gang member, Kruse said.

The incident was reported at 8:30 p.m. on the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail near the Wenatchee Ice Arena, Kruse said.

He said the 14-year-old boy was caught by officer Edgar Reinfeld
after a short foot pursuit. Officers did not find a weapon.

The victim was riding a bike with two other teenagers, Kruse said.
Witnesses said the suspect began yelling “gang stuff” and then pulled
out the gun, Kruse said.

Two other boys who were with the suspect were cited for
obstructing an officer and were released to their parents,
Kruse said.

The suspect was also arrested on suspicion of minor in possession
of a firearm. He was booked into the Chelan County Juvenile Center.

Park fence protects young trees

Wenatchee, Washington --
A 100-foot-long fence was put up along the shoreline
in Wenatchee Confluence State Park to keep people from
trampling new trees.

The fence between the boat launch and Odabashian Bridge will
keep park users from accessing the Columbia River and boaters
from reaching the park along the quiet stretch of waterfront
for the next year.

The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail is close to the river in that area.
Boaters frequently beach their boats along the shoreline at that spot.

The Chelan County PUD planted 230 young river birch,
coyote willow and red osier dogwood trees this spring,
said Ray Heit, parks manager for the utility.

The trees were planted as mitigation for work the utility did
along the shoreline between the boat launch and the swimming
area at the park, placing rocks to control the erosion.

The new trees will help stop erosion of the
riverbank and provide shade for fish, he said.

The fence will probably be removed early next year, he said,
once the trees are strong enough to survive without its protection.
State park manager Mark Morrison said he doesn't expect
the fence to have that much impact on park users.

"But it's also going to save a bit of the park's shoreline,
so it's all right," he said.

Protest flags appearing along loop trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Tiny flags bearing the face of President Bush are once
again appearing in piles of dog and horse feces along
the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in East Wenatchee.

The NCW Take Pride In America is offering a reward for
information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for
the flags, said the group's director, Matt Warner. He said
the flags are a form of litter.

"This is not an appropriate political expression," he said.

The reward will be $101 -- the same as the fine for littering.

The flags first started appearing in January, then stopped before
more were discovered Thursday. About 50 have been found so far.

Loop trail lover thinks Bush bash smells

East Wenatchee, Washington --
No rookie to politics, Matt Warner thought he had seen it all.
Then he took one of his regular strolls on the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail two months ago.

Stuck in a pile of dog feces like a flag was a tiny picture
of President Bush attached to a tooth pick. He has found
another 19 since January.

"Any American would be incensed to see this type of thing,"
said Warner, who lives in East Wenatchee near the trail.

Warner, 52, is a former Douglas County commissioner and is
director of North Central Washington Take Pride in America,
which has worked to clean up the 10-mile loop trail.

In 2004, Warner ran as a Democrat and lost a bid to unseat
GOP incumbent Douglas County Commissioner Ken Stanton.

Although he has been a Democrat since 1989 in the heavily
Republican region, Warner said he voted for Bush in the 2004
presidential election. "If John Kerry's picture was on a flag
in dog feces, I would be just as mad, and I think any American
would," he said.

He hopes that if enough people know about the situation,
they might turn in whoever is defacing the trail.

"I myself am not going to stand still while this is happening.
It's littering," he said.

Wenatchee Loop Trail Extension Appeal Rejected

Wenatchee, Washington --
Plans by the State Department of Parks and Recreation
to extend the Apple Capital Loop Trail to Lincoln Rock
State Park, an additional six miles, has received the
State Shoreline Hearings Board's seal of approval.

The panel last week rejected an appeal by a trail opponent.

Hearing board denies orchardist’s appeal to halt Loop Trail plan

Wenatchee, Washington -- CC - http://www.wenworld.com
Happy trail at last? —

The state Shorelines Hearing Board has denied an appeal by a local
orchardist who opposes a plan to extend the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail to Lincoln Rock State Park.

In the past, orchardists, beekeepers and residents along
Baker Flats have said the proposed trail would clash with
their farming rights and fear that it opens them up to
lawsuits and vandalism from others who might wander off
the trail and onto their property.

Trail supporters have said the trail would create another
recreational and transportation asset for the community
and help attract visitors.

Whether the denial last week from the shorelines board could
set the stage for a legal showdown in the Douglas County
Superior Court is unclear.

"It's premature as to what we'll do next," said James J. Klauser,
one of the attorneys representing orchardist Jack Feil.

Klauser said that his client had 10 days to seek reconsideration
from the board and 30 days to appeal the decision to the Douglas
County Superior Court, where another case to put the brakes on
the proposed trail is still pending.

Feil, an orchardist and the lead petitioner in the suit to halt
the trail extension, said he was disappointed the shorelines
board allowed the permit to extend the trail to stand.

"The Shorelines Hearings Board decided against the orchardists,
but that's no surprise," he said. "Orchardists are low on the
totem pole in Douglas County and Olympia."

It's been a winding road for the proposed trail. For 13 years,
there has been talk of extending it 5.1 miles along the Columbia
River, from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

The trail would run through land owned by the state
Department of Transportation and the Chelan County PUD.

Douglas County Hearing Examiner Don Moos granted a shoreline
development permit for the project last January. The state
Parks and Recreation Commission wants to build the trail.

Mark Gillespie, state parks development region
manager, said he is ready to move forward.

"It's been a long, difficult process," he said. "But at this point,
the ball's in Mr. Feil's court. ... I would much prefer that this
would be resolved."

Gillespie said Feil is the only holdout in a settlement
agreement reached with other parties who objected to the trail.

Feil farms 35 acres along the proposed trail route.
He and others who still opposed the project filed an
appeal to the Shorelines Hearing Board last year and
in Douglas County Superior Court.

Last Friday's decision from the shorelines board
upheld the hearing examiner's granting of the permit.

"I think the decision sent a pretty strong statement that
everything we've done conforms with state laws and regulations
in both the framework of the Douglas County code and among
the community," said Gillespie.

In the appeals to the shorelines board and Superior Court,
Feil argued the county sidestepped proper rezoning procedures
and critical environmental reviews when it described the trail
as a "multi-modal transportation facility."

While the ruling said that the board agreed that the petitioners
were "justifiably concerned about the conflicts of this proposed
trail," the "thrusts of the concerns raised by agricultural landowners,
however, relate to operation of orchards, not to impacts to shorelines
from the proposed Rocky Reach Trail."

Construction on new dock set for spring

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club says it now has enough
money to build a new dock in Riverfront Park, but must secure
a federal permit before the project can be started in spring.

The club has raised $60,000 from its members and received
a $47,500 state grant to do the work. On Monday, the Chelan
County PUD agreed to contribute up to $20,000, including in
-kind landscaping, toward the dock project.

The 60-foot metal dock would replace the existing wooden dock near the
paddle club's boathouse in Riverfront Park at the foot of Ninth Street.

"Up until two weeks ago, we didn't know whether we were going to
have the money to go forward with this," said Mike Kaputa, project
manager for the club.

But new cost estimates for construction lowered the
price tag from $150,000 to about $100,000, he said.

Now the only hurdle is a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
which requires permission from NOAA Fisheries, which Kaputa said has already
been consulted on the dock design. He said he expects the federal agency
to give its approval by Jan. 1, and a permit to be issued by Jan. 15.

"We're crossing our fingers on those dates," he said.

If it receive the permit in January, Kaputa said club members hope to install
the pilings for the new dock in February. He said the dock must be in place
and the project completed by April 30, when the state grant expires.

The only thing that could kill the project, he said, would be if the costs go
up. Kaputa said it would be difficult for the club to raise more money. The PUD
agreed on Monday to pay 40 percent of any costs over $110,000, up to $17,000,
if the club comes up with the other 60 percent.

Kaputa said the project is part of the city's riverfront development plan,
and city planners have been helping with the bid documents. The city did not
contribute money to the project, but served as a pass-through agency for the
state grant.

"This is going to be a community dock," he said.
"It will provide everyone with better access to the river."

Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club Web Site - http://www.wenatcheepaddle.com

Riverfront Park boat launch to close for maintenance

Wenatchee, Washington --
Maintenance on the dock pilings at the Wenatchee Riverfront Park
boat launch will require the Chelan County PUD to close the launch
for three days starting Tuesday through Oct. 21.

The parking lot will remain open for park users.

Boat launches on the Columbia River are also available
at Confluence State Park and Rock Island Hydro Park.

New boat-club dock in works for riverfront

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club wants to build a
60-foot metal dock near its boathouse in Riverfront Park.

The proposed dock would be next to the club's existing
12-foot wooden dock, said Mike Kaputa, project manager
for the club.

A paved trail to the current dock would be extended to reach
the new dock, Kaputa said. None of the area's trees would be
cut down, he said, and the club will replace any plants lost
with new ones nearby.

The club applied to Wenatchee for a project permit and
the city expects to approve the application next month,
said Brandon Whallon, an associate planner in the city
Department of Community Development.

"If we can be a part of people getting increased recreational
opportunities out of the riverfront, we'll certainly try our
best to help," Whallon said.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, which oversee state and federal
environmental rules, also need to sign off on the project,
Kaputa said.

With close to 300 members, the club is growing and wants
to add more programs, Kaputa said. Plans for a new boathouse
are part of the city's waterfront redevelopment plan.

The club received a $50,000 grant to build the dock from the
state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, Kaputa
said. The club is matching that amount and will ask for some
in-kind donations from the Chelan County PUD, which runs the
park. The project is expected to cost $120,000.

The club's goal is to start building in January, he said.
Work can't continue past March 1, to avoid interfering
with young salmon migrating downriver.

Once the dock is finished, the club plans to start raising money
for a new boathouse, which would be located either on the shore
or in the parking lot at the foot of Ninth Street, Kaputa said.

"Our strategy is, if we can get this dock in, that will
start a lot of momentum for the new boathouse," he said.

Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club Website -

Loop Trail Sternwheeler Plaza Replacing Pavers Project

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail will get a slight
detour starting 10/04/2004 when a project starts in Riverfront
Park near the foot of Fifth Street.

About 700 feet of new asphalt trail is being built through
the Sternwheeler Plaza to replace concrete block pavers.

According to the Chelan County PUD, the block pavers
pose a bumpy obstacle for skaters, bikers and strollers.

The project is to take about one month, the PUD says.

( Photos of the project October 2004 )

Photos - Loop Trail Sternwheeler Plaza Project Oct.2004

A spray of colored coating is added on the new asphalt trail through
Sternwheeler Plaza at Riverfront Park. The 700-foot section of the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail replaces concrete block pavers
that posed a bumpy obstacle for in-line skaters, bikers and strollers.

Chelan County PUD spokeman Steve Lachowicz said the utility had received
a few complaints about the pavers being a hazard to narrow bicycle wheels
and roller blade wheels. The new trail section is scheduled to re-open on
Monday the 25th of October 2004.

Columbia River pedestrian bridge falling on dark times

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Columbia River pedestrian bridge
seemed to have a bright future in 1995.

On a cold night in October that year, 100 people gathered to
watch as new lights on the bridge were turned on for the first time.

But the bridge has grown dim as the lights — paid for with $66,210
in community donations — have been broken or left to burn out
without being replaced.

On Wednesday night, 49 of the 67 lights were out. Two of the
working lights were pointed out toward the water instead of up
at the bridge, and two others were missing altogether. Several
were shattered.

Officials at the city of Wenatchee, who are responsible for
maintaining the lights, admit the job has slipped through the cracks.

“I don’t have a good answer for you, other than that we don’t
have anyone that regularly goes by there at night and checks the
lights,” said Don McGahuey, a city engineer and public works director.

McGahuey said street crews are responsible for replacing the lights,
but they rely on parks workers to tell them when they’re out, since
the street crews rarely go down that way.

“That’s off the beaten path for them,” McGahuey said.
“It’s not on their route of things to check.”

The bridge is owned by the Wenatchee Reclamation District,
which runs irrigation water through the pipeline that crosses it.
The city has an agreement with the reclamation district to maintain
the lights, with the Chelan County PUD reimbursing the city up to
$3,000 a year for electricity and work done on the lights.

Information on how much, if any, the city has collected
from the PUD was not immediately available from the utility.

The lights were the brainchild of former North Central Educational
Service District superintendent Gene Sharratt and members of the
Wenatchee and East Wenatchee chambers of commerce, who saw
them as a way of uniting the two communities during the dark days
of the 1994-95 Wenatchee child sex-abuse investigations.

“This is a night when light overcomes darkness, when hope
overcomes fear,” Sharratt said at the lighting ceremony.

Organizers said then that the lights could be maintained for three
years with the money raised. They also said the bulbs would be
replaced with colored lights during the holiday season.

Built between 1906 and 1908, the bridge was the first in the
United States to span the Columbia, and has been placed on
the National Register of Historic Places.

Graffiti is a regular occurrence on the bridge, but McGahuey
said the city checks it once a week and paints over the damage.
The last time they did so was Tuesday, he said.

Waterfront route gets final approval

Wenatchee, Washington --
With no comment from residents at a scheduled public hearing,
the Wenatchee City Council on Thursday night unanimously
approved the route for a new road along the waterfront.

The proposed Riverside Drive would connect
Worthen Street and Walla Walla Avenue.

City officials hope the estimated $3 million project
will encourage development near the Columbia River.

Some residents have criticized the road, which would pass through Riverfront
Park in two places. But no one spoke at a public hearing Thursday.

Councilman Steve May, a founder and past president of
Ridge to River, said he heard complaints from three race
participants because the road would pass through the finish line.

May said they were satisfied after he told them the street
would provide better access and more parking for the race,
which draws hundreds of participants each year from across
the Northwest.

The council’s approval set the centerline for the street
so developers can begin planning projects, city planner
Allison Williams said.

The city applied for a state Transportation Improvement Board
grant in August that would cover up to 80 percent of the cost.
City officials have said the earliest it will be built is 2006.

Groups to get attorney opinions on trail lease

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Representatives of the state Department of Transportation,
the Eastmont Recreation Service Area and Douglas County
met Monday to discuss transferring the lease of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail from ERSA to the newly
created Eastmont Metropolitan Park District.

The entities were discussing the legalities of the lease transfer
because ERSA will soon be phased out after voters failed to
approve a levy that funded the entity, which was charged with
overseeing the parks within East Wenatchee.

Douglas County Commissioner Mary Hunt said that the groups
will meet again after transportation officials receive an attorney
general's ruling on the issue and the attorney for ERSA renders
a decision on whether the transfer can be made.

Voters approved the creation of the metropolitan park district in May.
The district has five commissioners and gets tax money.

Fire burns area near Wenatchee`s Loop Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --
A fire along the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail near
19th Street burned about a half acre of brush late Friday
afternoon before firefighters were able to stop it.

Douglas County Fire District 2 firefighter Jeff Stephens
said Saturday morning the cause remains under investigation.

"We jumped on the fire real quick," he said. "It could have
gotten to be an acre or so in size because fuels are really
dry down there."

The blaze emitted a column of smoke that could be seen from
various spots in the Wenatchee area. It also attracted the attention
of numerous boaters who were on the Columbia River at the time.

Fire crews will check the area periodically on Saturday
to make sure no more flare-ups occur, Stephens said.

Loop Trail lawsuit on hold until January

East Wenatchee, Washington --
A lawsuit to stop a proposed extension of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail has been put on hold while another
challenge to the project plays out with the state Shoreline
Hearings Board.

Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss on
Thursday set a Jan. 25 hearing date for the lawsuit, in which
Baker Flats orchardist Jack Feil and 19 other residents claim
the state Parks and Recreation Commission failed to obtain a
required conditional-use permit and rezone to build the trail.

The same residents are challenging the project on environmental
grounds at the state Shorelines Hearings Board. Feil's Seattle
attorneys, Bob Rowley and Jim Klauser, said that case should
be finished by early next year.

The project is for a 5.1-mile trail along the Columbia River
from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

The waterfront: A new vision

Wenatchee, Washington -- http://www.wenworld.com
It's the right time and the right place for
upscale shoreline development, many believe
- but will investors step up?

A Public meeting

What: City's plans for the proposed Riverside Drive

When: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday May 26, 2004

Where: Riverfront Park Ice Arena

Why: View and comment on the three options
for joining Worthen and Walla Walla streets

See the rest of the story at:

Holdout orchardist hires new attorneys

East Wenatchee, Washington -- http://www.wenworld.com
The battle over a proposed extension of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail continues, with a new set of attorneys
hired to pursue legal challenges against the project.

Orchardist Jack Feil said he's hired Seattle attorneys Bob Rowler
and Jim Clauser to represent him and about four other Baker Flats
residents who still oppose the project, which would extend the trail
5.1 miles along the Columbia River to Lincoln Rock State Park.

"I'm not going to do this just to delay the trail," Feil said.
"I'm trying to stop it or get some better deal."

A group of 20 orchardists, beekeepers and residents from
Baker Flats appealed Douglas County's shoreline development
permit for the project in January. Appeals were lodged at Douglas
County Superior Court and the state Shoreline Hearings Board.

The group, except for Feil, agreed to drop the appeals last month
after reaching an agreement with the state Parks and Recreation Commission.

Jim Harris, regional director at the state agency,
declined to release a copy of the deal but said the agency agreed to:

Put chain-link fence around orchard pumps

Harden the trail where farm equipment will cross

Build gates for equipment to go through fences

Add more ranger patrols

Feil said he also wants chain-link fence along the east side of the
trail for property owners who want it. The agency offered to share
the cost of doing that, but Feil rejected the offer, said Mark Gillespie,
regional development manager for state parks in Wenatchee. Feil said
he can't recall Gillespie making that offer.

Thom Graafstra, the attorney who filed the appeals for the original
group, still represents them all except Feil. He said his clients are
keeping their names on the appeals for now because the deal with
the state Parks and Recreation Commission doesn't go into effect
unless the appeals are dropped. As long as Feil pursues the appeals,
his clients want to have some say in the outcome, Graafstra said.

"My disappointment is the matter didn't get resolved,"
Graafstra said. "It came as a bit of a surprise ...
that he (Feil) went in the direction that he did."

Beekeeper fears proposed trail comes too close to hives

East Wenatchee, Washington -- http://www.wenworld.com
~Stinging criticism: - but official says worries are overblown~

A veteran beekeeper says it makes no sense that the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail will go right by his son's bee
yard and three others when it's extended from Odabashian
Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park next year.

"Can you imagine people riding bikes with all these bees in here?
That's nuts," said Bruce Smith, a Wenatchee-area beekeeper for
30 years. "I don't see how they can without getting stung."

People will be stung, perhaps fatally, said Smith, who turned the
business over to his son, Blaine, in 2001 but still helps him. Smith
said the state Parks and Recreation Commission, which plans to
build the trail, and Douglas County, which has granted a permit, will be liable.

Mark Gillespie, eastern regional development manager of the state
agency, said he doesn't know who would be liable but that Smith is
painting "as negative" a picture as possible.

Gillespie said the state Parks and Recreation Commission looked
at the issue carefully and decided buffers of 60 to 100 feet total width
(30 to 50 feet on either side of a 12-foot trail) would be sufficient from
bees and orchard pesticide spray drift. But, he conceded, "There is a
certain amount of opinion involved."

Warning signs will be posted on the trail, but "people need to be
prudent. If people are allergic to bees, they probably would want
to avoid that area," Gillespie said.

He said bees, by nature, are not aggressive and that the trail
will be closed in the mornings from April 1 through June 30
for the bees and pesticide spraying.

Smith said he was part of a Baker Flats group that appealed the
county's trail permit in January. He and some of the others have
since dropped their challenge, although Smith said he still sympathizes
with opponents and is concerned people will get hurt by the bees.

"These guys don't know a damn thing about bees," Smith said.
"When it's warm out is when they fly. They'll close the trail in the
morning, but the bees are out in the afternoon."

Smith said there are some mean varieties among the 2,400 hives
of honeybees - or 60 million bees - his son rents each spring from
California to pollinate Wenatchee Valley fruit crops.

"They sting if you bother them or their hive. They go for your face.
If you get stung in the throat, it can be deadly because, if you're
allergic, it cuts off your breathing," Smith said.

Glen DeVries, senior planner for Douglas County, said the
beekeepers have a legal right to keep their yards because the
area is zoned for agricultural use. The Smiths' bee yard is on
Milt Johnson's orchard about a mile north of Odabashian Bridge.
There are three other bee yards to the north along the proposed
route of the 5.1-mile trail extension.

The hives are trucked into the Smiths' yard the last week of March
and first week of April each year. The Smiths haul a few at a time
out to orchards in the valley. They collect the hives and bring them
back to the yard before they are trucked out in early May.

A large cloud of bees was active in the air over the hives on the
afternoon of April 27. Lone bees occasionally landed in a reporter's
hair up to 200 feet from the hives.

Smith said the bees travel about a mile from the hives into nearby
orchards. He said he suggested closing the trail extension for six
weeks to two months during bee season. Gillespie said that defeats
the purpose of having a trail.

"It's not our intention to put anyone in jeopardy," Gillespie said.
"I don't see that as being as big an issue as is being portrayed.
I think it's being overstated because they don't want the trail."

"I don't care if they put the trail in," Smith said. "The farmers don't
want it and I can see their point of view. I just don't want to see
someone get hurt. I guess we will find out when someone gets
stung who was right and I don't think that will take too long to happen."

Riverfront Parks Hit with gang graffiti

Wenatchee, Washington --
Police are investigating a rash of gang graffiti
at Wenatchee parks along the Columbia River.

Parts of the Apple Capital recreation Loop Trail were tagged,
as were handball courts at Walla Walla Point Park, the boat
house at the foot of Ninth Street, and the train house near
Riverwalk Crossing pedestrian bridge in Riverfront Park,
police Cpl. Mike Huffer said.

"We haven't had a lot at the park, not of that magnitude,"
Huffer said.

There also was graffiti on a wooden foot bridge on the north
end of Walla Walla Point Park, said Kimberlee Craig, a spokeswoman
for the Chelan County PUD, which maintains the parks.

The graffiti occurred sometime in the last week or 10 days,
Huffer said.

He said Friday he wasn`t aware of any arrests
made in connection with the incidents.

Craig said parks maintenance crews had sanded off the graffiti
on the foot bridge and had painted over taggings on the trail.
The other markings will be covered or removed soon, she said.

Happy trails? Trail deal nearer, but some farmers unhappy

East Wenatchee, Washington -- http://www.wenworld.com
A tentative deal has been struck between State Parks officials
and orchardists to extend the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail,
but some farmers may not accept it.

Bruce Haupt, the lead negotiator for the orchardists, said an
agreement is circulating among his group that could allow the
project to move forward.

"I don't want to go in-depth, but positive things are happening,"
said Haupt, an orchardist and salesman at Valley Tractor in East
Wenatchee. "Hopefully within the next week we'll have an answer."

Jack Feil, an orchardist who farms 35 acres along the proposed trail,
said he and others aren't happy with what State Parks is offering.

"We don't think it's enough," Feil said. "I don't know whether the
whole group is going to sign on it or not. I kind of doubt it."

Mark Gillespie, eastern region development manager for State Parks
in Wenatchee, said the agency offered to add wildlife-friendly wire
fences along the east side of the trail wherever it runs next to farms
- adding about $80,000 to the cost of the $1.5 million project.

"State Parks is trying to do everything we can to reach an equitable
solution and meet all their concerns," Gillespie said.
"The ball is in their court."

About 20 orchardists, beekeepers and residents in Baker Flats
have appealed the shoreline development permit for the trail
approved by Douglas County Hearing Examiner Don Moos on
Jan. 12. The project would extend the loop trail 5.1 miles along
the Columbia River from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

The orchardists want State Parks to minimize the impact to their
property. They fear it will interfere with running their farms and
open them up to lawsuits and vandalism from trail users.

The agreement with State Parks is being circulated among the group now,
and Feil said all the orchardists have to sign off before the appeals
are lifted.

"Some have already signed it, but they say they really didn't want to,"
he said. "We really don't have many options now.
This thing was crammed down our throats."

Some orchardists want the whole eastern side of the trail fenced off,
Feil said. Even then, he said, people will likely cross onto their property,
especially if they sneak onto the trail after hours.

The trail was proposed more than 12 years ago by residents,
but has been mired in red tape ever since. It runs through land
owned by the state Department of Transportation and the Chelan
County PUD.

The orchardists have filed two appeals, one with the state Shoreline
Hearings Board and the other at Douglas County Superior Court.

Haupt remained upbeat about the deal.

"It's positive. It's going in the right direction.
It's just a matter of getting everyone to agree," he said.

Finally, a new waterfront blueprint

Wenatchee, Washington --
Riverfront strip rezoned to promote restaurants,
multi-family housing, recreation and lodging
City Planner Allison Williams offered up the popular phrase
"Bring it on!" after the Wenatchee City Council approved a
new waterfront redevelopment plan Thursday night.

Culminating years of planning work, the council adopted a new
plan that encourages commercial and recreational development
and multi-family housing along roughly a three-mile strip of the
city that lies between Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad
tracks and the riverfront park system.

"We're taking down fences and finding ways to bring the
park to the city and the city to the park," Williams said.

City Councilwoman Carolyn Case cast the only no vote on the waterfront
plan, saying she did not think drinking establishments should be permitted.

A handful of people who testified during the public hearing
- all of them property owners within the proposed new zoning
districts - largely supported the plan.

The waterfront "is the principal asset of this community and we've
turned our back on it for 100 years," said Wenatchee attorney
Bob Parlette, who plans to develop land along River Park Avenue.

Much of the land along the waterfront was zoned for commercial,
industrial and residential uses. Now, most of it will fall under a
new waterfront mixed-use zoning that will allow retail sales,
eating and drinking establishments, offices, lodging, recreation
and multi-family housing. Buildings will be limited to six stories
in the zoning district.

The plan also calls for extending the riverfront park system and
the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail south of the pedestrian
bridge that crosses the Columbia River.

"We're trying to make sure we're doing things on the park that
are an enhancement and not just a wall of buildings," Williams said.

She said the waterfront plan encourages the building of 1,440
new housing units, 96,000 square feet of new commercial space,
one or two restaurants and at least one hotel.

The development would be more dense along the Orondo Avenue
gateway to the waterfront and between Fifth and Ninth streets,
and less intense around Walla Walla Point Park.

The new plan calls for improving access to the waterfront in
several areas, including an overpass or underpass at the railroad
crossing on Hawley Street, a new Riverside Drive between Fifth
and Ninth streets, extending Orondo Avenue to the river, connecting
Walla Walla Avenue to Hawley Street, and building a pedestrian
overpass across the railroad tracks near Bridge Street.

It also encourages creative uses in the waterfront such as a
permanent covered farmers market, an educational center for
urban agriculture, an amphitheater, a new nonmotorized boat
facility and sternwheeler moorage.

Existing industrial uses and single-family homes will be allowed
to stay in the mixed-use zone. However, industries cannot be
expanded, and if a single-family home burns down, it cannot be rebuilt.

Ted Zacher, who owns property adjacent to Lowe's Home
Improvement Warehouse on Walla Walla Avenue, asked if
part of his property could remain commercial, rather than switch
to mixed use. But city planners said that would constitute a spot
zone, and would not be allowed.

Residents living on River Park Avenue, which is adjacent to
Walla Walla Point Park, had differing views on how their neighborhood
should be addressed in the new plan. It is the only area in the new plan
that is zoned as residential-recreation, where the focus will remain on
housing and buildings are limited to four stories tall. Parlette's property
on the street lies just outside the residential zone and is in the mixed-use
district. He has talked of putting up six-story condominiums on the land.

Some property owners wanted the neighborhood to be included in the
mixed-use district, allowing for taller buildings, while others
wanted to retain the residential tone that now exists.

"I think you should leave us alone," said Matt Byers, who lives at 301
River Park Ave. "We're a nice, quiet neighborhood. I don't want to
see a big wall. ... I like to see Burch Mountain."

Rick Cozzalio, general manager and part owner of G.G. Richardson Inc.,
a commercial construction company, said some existing commercial
businesses will be negatively affected by the rezoning.

His business and others, including Star Rentals, United Pipe and
Brett and Son, are now nonconforming uses along Walla Walla Avenue,
meaning they can never expand.

But he also said he was in favor of the new waterfront plan.
He encouraged city officials to find another area for such
commercial businesses, or they will be forced to leave the city.

"We've been the backbone of Wenatchee for years," he said.
"Kind of the dirty side of it."

After the council approved the plan, Mayor Dennis Johnson said
the city will need to lead the charge for waterfront redevelopment
by moving its storage yard on Ninth Street and its public works facility.

"Development will not occur without our encouragement," he said.
"We need to take the lead."

Loop Trail extension faces legal challenge from orchardists

EastWenatchee, Washington --
Orchardists from Baker Flats have filed two appeals to stop an extension
to the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, their lawyer said Tuesday.

The appeals filed with the state Shoreline Hearings Board and at
Douglas County Superior Court will halt the project until they're
resolved, said Glen DeVries, a senior planner at the county's land
services office.

Work on the trail probably won't start until fall of 2005 due to
lack of funds, said Bill Fraser, regional planner with State Parks
in Wenatchee. In their appeals, the orchardists say the state
Parks and Recreation Commission is wrongly calling the trail
a transportation facility and didn't get the required permits,
said Thom Graafstra, an attorney with offices in Wenatchee and Snohomish.

The orchardists are negotiating with State Parks about measures
to protect them if the trail is built. Graafstra said the appeals could
be withdrawn depending on the outcome of those talks, but declined
to be specific about what the orchardists want.

"We are doing this to preserve our rights, and if necessary
we'll fight those appeals," Graafstra said. "But hopefully this
is a holding mechanism to preserve the status quo so that we
can continue the discussions."

The proposed trail would run 5.1 miles along the Columbia River
from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park. Graafstra
represents about 20 orchardists, beekeepers and residents along
the route who say it will affect their property and businesses.

Bob Parlette, a Wenatchee attorney and orchardist who supports
the trail, said outdoor recreation is what draws people here.

"It is a tragedy that people try to pit the agriculture industry
against those of us who use the trails," Parlette said. "I think
the ag industry has to wake up to the fact that if they're going
to stay around, they have to change."At state Shoreline Hearings
Board, Graafstra's clients appealed a shoreline development
permit approved by Douglas County Hearing Examiner Don
Moos on Jan. 12. Graafstra said if the trail is a transportation
facility, state law on shoreline protection doesn't allow it within
200 feet of the river.

The Superior Court appeal says the county broke its own rules
by not requiring a conditional-use permit and rezoning for the
trail as a recreation facility. DeVries said because it's considered
a transportation route, the trail only needs the shoreline development
permit Moos approved.

The trail hit a snag in 2002 when the state Department of Transportation,
which owns right-of-way along the route, opposed rezoning it for
recreation. DeVries said county staff decided the trail qualifies as
a multimodal transportation facility.

Orchardists demand details on loop trail extension plan

EastWenatchee, Washington --
Orchardists from Baker Flats are preparing to appeal a proposed
extension to the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail,
their lawyer said on Wednesday.

Thom Graafstra, an attorney with offices in Wenatchee and
Snohomish who represents about 20 orchardists, beekeepers
and residents along the proposed trail, said his clients want more
details about how the project will affect neighbors. They want to
meet with officials from State Parks and other agencies involved,
Graafstra said, but they have only until Jan. 30 to file an appeal.

"It probably means there is going to be an appeal filed,
but hopefully there can be some discussion at the same time,"
Graafstra said.

Douglas County Hearing Examiner Don Moos approved a shoreline
development permit Jan. 12 for the 5.1-mile trail along the Columbia
River from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

An appeal would head to the state Shoreline Hearings Board.

Moos' approval included requirements to help offset the impact
to orchards, such as fences, warning signs and ranger patrols.
The trail would be closed in the morning from April through June,
when most pesticide spraying occurs.

Graafstra called the conditions "a step in the right direction,"
but said farmers want more details about how they'll work.

He said they want to know how high fences will be and where
they'll be placed, where farm equipment will cross the trail and
when farmers can spray.

"My clients aren't opposed to recreational trails. They're just
opposed to this trail as conceived under this application,"
Graafstra said. "We're trying to find if there's a win-win way
of achieving peaceful coexistence."

City of Wenatchee seeks comment on waterfront plan

Wenatchee, Washington --
The city Planning Commission will hold a public hearing
on proposed zoning changes for Wenatchee's waterfront area
at 5:30 p.m. 01/21/2004 at City Hall, 129 S. Chelan Ave.

A copy of the plan can be found on the city's Web site,
http://www.cityofwenatchee.com or picked up at 25 N. Worthen St.

For more information, call Allison Williams at 664-3390

Loop trail extension approved: Opponents say they may appeal

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Bikers and runners will get a new trail from the Odabashian Bridge to
Lincoln Rock State Park, but they won't be able to use it during morning
hours from April through June, a Douglas County official decided Monday.

County Hearing Examiner Don Moos approved a shoreline
development permit for the proposed 5.1-mile extension of the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail along the Columbia River.
Getting the permit is the last obstacle to the trail, proposed
more than 12 years ago by residents.

In a nine-page notice of approval filed Monday, Moos says the
proposal by the state Parks and Recreation Commission protects
the environment and agriculture. Anyone who disagrees with the
decision has three weeks to appeal. Moos declined to comment
in the meantime.

Orchardists and beekeepers around Baker Flats oppose the trail,
saying it will open their property to vandals and expose trail
users to pesticide spray.

Moos said the trail should only be open in the afternoon from
April 1 through June 30. He notes that spraying and pollinating
usually happens from April through June 30. The trail will be
closed after dark year-round under the proposal.

Jack Feil, who has 35 acres of orchard trees in the area, said
Moos' approval was no surprise. About 20 Baker Flats residents
have hired a lawyer and may appeal the decision, he said.

"Our group will get together and look at the conditions and
see where we go from here," Feil said. "As much as we despise
the trail, if you can't do anything about it, that's it."

Their attorney, Thom Graafstra, declined to comment
because he said he hasn't read Moos' approval notice.

Moos noted in his decision the project also includes:

Entrance gates to close the trail at night.

Fences to keep people out of orchards
and environmentally sensitive areas.

Signs warning people about farm machinery, pesticides and bees.

Ranger patrols to deter vandalism and fruit theft.

Construction on the trail must be finished within five years, he said.

Endangered'farmers object to extension of Loop Trail to Rocky Reach Dam

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Orchardists continued their opposition to a proposed
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail extension at a public
hearing Thursday night at the Eastmont High School auditorium.

Douglas County Hearing Examiner Don Moos will decide by Jan.
12 whether to approve a shoreline development permit for the
trail, which has been bogged down in red tape since it was
first proposed 12 years ago.

Farmers told Moos the trail would hurt their ability to get
insurance, expose trail users to harmful pesticides, open their
property to vandals and ultimately make farming there impossible.

"It really comes down to a right-to-farm issue," said orchardist
Bob Rogers. "Wenatchee farmers are becoming an endangered species."

The permit is the final hurdle for plans to extend the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail 5.1 miles along the Columbia River
from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

County planning staff told Moos they support the $1.5 million
project. They said the plan meets state and county requirements
and minimizes impacts to the environment and agriculture.

About 60 people attended the meeting. Nearly 20, mostly
Wenatchee residents, spoke in favor of the plan.

"Many of us probably won't use this trail much in our lifetime,
but it's our hope that future generations will get to enjoy it
once it's built," said Bob Parlette, a Wenatchee attorney and
co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition.

But orchardists and beekeepers along Highway 2/97 continued
their long-standing criticism. They were joined by Thom
Graafstra, a Snohomish attorney representing 21 property
owners and farmers opposed to the trail.

The shoreline permit application emphasizes the trail as a
transportation project. Orchardists said by doing that, the state
Parks and Recreation Commission and county planners avoided
a series of permits and public meetings. The trail would cross
state Department of Transportation right-of-way. By emphasizing
the trail as a transport corridor, state parks and the county
avoided having to zone it for recreation - a change the DOT opposed.

Moos will accept public comment on the trail in writing until
5 p.m. Dec. 26 at the Douglas County Transportation and Land
Services office at 140 19th St. N.W. in East Wenatchee.

Parking fees keeping park visitors away

Wenatchee, Washington --
Visitation at Wenatchee Confluence State Park dropped
by 36 percent and visitation has been low at other state
parks since a $5 day-use parking fee was imposed in January.

The Washington Parks and Recreation Commission began
charging for day-use parking as a way to boost a sagging budget.

Jim Harris, regional State Parks manager, said "fee resistance"
has kept many people away from the parks since then.

"Nobody wants to pay for something they've received
for free for a number of years," Harris said.

Park attendance was down by more than 3 million people
statewide and parking fees brought in about 87 percent of the
predicted $4 million, according to Rita Cooper, director for
business development and administrative services in Olympia.

"Any time you start up a parking fee you expect that," Cooper said.

Attendance at local parks reflected the state trend. At Daroga
State Park near Orondo and Lincoln Rock State Park north of
East Wenatchee, visitation has decreased by 25 percent and 11
percent respectively to date, Harris said. At Wenatchee
Confluence State Park, visitation dropped by 50 percent
during the summer alone.

Harris believes those numbers will increase in the next few years
as the public gets used to the idea of paying to park. "How fast
will people return to these parks is the question," he said.

With free parking offered at nearby Walla Walla Point Park,
many people chose not to pay to play at Wenatchee Confluence
State Park, said park manager Matt Morrison.

Morrison said the fees are "not such a bad deal," considering how
much folks pay to park in downtown Seattle or at a Mariners' game.

And for most people, an extra $5 for a day of recreation won't
break the bank, Harris said, adding it is a small price compared
to what people spend on gasoline, food and water crafts.

"This is not an economical barrier to people,"
he said. "It's more of a psychological barrier."

The fees will fund park improvements, and Harris said he has
asked the State Parks Commission to choose highly visible
projects so the public can see the results.

"It's a lot easier to accept paying a fee if you can see that you,
as a user, got something in return," he said.

Loop Trail Extension On Hearing Examiner Agenda

Wenatchee, Washington --
Plans to extend the Apple Capital Loop Trail north from
the Odebashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park gos
before the Douglas County Hearing Examiner on Thursday.

The State has applied for a permit to construct the five-mile
extension within Detartment of Transportation right-of-way.
According to Glen Devries of the County`s Planning Department.

The county is recommending the permit be approved.

The Hearing Examiner meeting is set for December 18th 2003
at the Eastmont High School Auditorium.
Copies of the proposal are available at the
County`s 19th Street annex building in East Wenatchee.

Waterfront Planning Meeting

Wenatchee, Washington --
Long term planning for the future of Wenatchee`s
Waterfront is entering its second phase.

A pair of public meetings to review prosed new zoning
designations for that area are set for this week.

The meetings are held at the Wenatchee Center
Wednesday night from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm and
Thursday morning from 8:00am to 9:30am

The City of Wenatchee’s Department of Community Development
is working swiftly toward plan adoption for the Wenatchee
Waterfront Sub Area Plan. Click on the link for the following
planning documents: www.cityofwenatchee.com/WaterFront_Home.html

Public to get look at Rocky Reach trail plans

East Wenatchee, Washington -- Wenatchee World
If permit process continues without delay, construction of
the Apple Capital Loop Trail extension could begin this fall.

The public is getting its first chance to look
over plans for the Rocky Reach trail extension.

On Thursday, a comment period began on the shoreline permit
application submitted to Douglas County by the state Parks
and Recreation Commission. If the permit is granted, the
commission will move one step closer to building a 5.1-mile
extension to the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The application, which details trail plans and includes an
environmental assessment, is in the earliest stage of review,
and the county has not started its analysis yet, said Mark
Kulaas, county director of land services.

The analysis will examine public safety, county codes and public
comments. A staff analysis and public comments will be
presented at a public hearing sometime after Oct. 16.

The examiner's decision will be passed along to the state
Department of Ecology, which serves as a coordinator for all
state projects, and an appeal period will begin, Kulaas said.

A parks department official said he is confident the county will
approve the project.

"The biggest obstacle has been securing the total support of the
Washington Department of Transportation," said Bill Fraser,
project manager and regional park planner for state Parks and
Recreation.The DOT has not yet struck a deal to let state parks
put the trail on its right of way, said DOT's regional director of
real estate, Ted Hill. But since the resolution of a dispute
between the county and the transportation department earlier
this summer, plans for a future lease look good, he said.

In addition to state grants, community donations and
cooperating partners, like the Chelan County PUD, will help pay
the estimated $1.2 million to $1.5 million cost. The PUD will
likely fund about one mile of the trail from the entrance of
Lincoln Rock State Park to a riverfront viewpoint, said PUD
spokeswoman Kimberlee Craig.

The commission won't need to wait for all grants to come
through before beginning construction, according to the
regional director of state parks, Jim Harris.

"If the permit process goes well,
we could start construction this fall," Harris said.

Trail extension plans have been in the works since the
mid-1990s, but were delayed several times because of
disputes with adjacent property owners.

Some of these neighbors lease land from the DOT and grow fruit
trees along the proposed trail route. Their concerns include
liability issues due to spray drift, vandalism, theft and trespassing.

** Trail plans
The public is invited to review the trail plans at Douglas County
Transportation and Land Services office, 140 19th St. N.W., East
Wenatchee, or Washington State Parks and Recreation office,
2201 N. Duncan Dr., Wenatchee.

How to comment: In writing to Douglas County Hearing
Examiner, 140 19th St. N.W., East Wenatchee, WA, 98802.

Wenatchee Confluence State Park Parking Permit Fee

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission requires
a vehicle parking permit to park in state parks system-wide.
~~ Wenatchee Confluence State Park ~~
The commission set the daily vehicle parking permit fee at $7 daily
and $70 for an annual permit. This permit is discounted to $5 daily
and $50 annually until 2006.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission began
charging a vehicle parking permit fee at six Washington State Parks
in June 2002. During the December 2002 commission meeting,
the commission voted to expand the vehicle parking permit fee
program to a statewide system, effective Jan. 1, 2003.

Although revenue from this fee will not solve the long-term funding
issues of state parks, it will help hold the park system together.

For more about vehicle parking permits:

Man found stabbed near Loop Trail in stable condition

East Wenatchee, Washington -- Wenatchee World
A 48-year-old man apparently stabbed himself in the abdomen
with a steak knife and collapsed against a tree Saturday
afternoon near the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in East
Wenatchee. He was in stable condition this morning at Central
Washington Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

His hometown isn't known, said East Wenatchee Police Chief
Randy Harrison, who described the man as homeless.

Trail users called police about 4:40 p.m. Saturday after seeing
the man staggering in a parking lot off 19th Street near the trail.
Officers found him unconscious.

Harrison said one of the responding officers, Officer Dan
Dieringer, wrote in a report that the man's wound appeared to be
self-inflicted. Police searched the area but found no potential
suspects or evidence of a crime, Harrison said.

Waterfront Plan Goes Forward

An ambitious blueprint for the development of Wenatchee Waterfront was
laid out for the public at a meeting at the convertion center Tuesday night.
Conceptual drawings of what the waterfront might look like in 20 years
were presented. The plans included a mix of condominiums, restaurants,
trendy waterfront shops, improved access to walking and bike trails,
expanded parkland development, as well as the creation of a new
Riverside Boulevard.

Loop Trail - Riders/Walkers/Jogers Beware going to Hydro Park

East Wenatchee Washington --
With the new trail now in place, lots of people are
using the new trail extension to get to Hydro Park.
The guardrails are now installed for the saftey of the trail,
But a Beware/WARNING for cars at Grant road and SR 28 as the trail
does run in a cross walk and most cars do NOT look or stop for people
in the cross walk even if the crossing light says "walk" the
cars don`t seem to care. A warning light should be added
in this area so people do not get crunch with a car.
Please Beware! of Cars and trucks if you are using the
new trail extension to get to Hydro Park
( PHOTOS of Loop Trail - Going to Hydro Park 05-10-2003 )
(looking at the trail guardrails and Grant road and SR 28)

State Parks takes step toward Loop Trail extension

East Wenatchee Washington -- James Pitkin Wenatchee World
The proposed Rocky Reach Trail project is moving forward,
a State Parks official said.

Mark Gillespie, resources region manager for State Parks, said
his agency sent a final draft of a shoreline permit to the DOT for
approval on Tuesday. The permit contains revised language that
designates the project, which would extend the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail five miles to Lincoln Rock State Park,
as a transportation corridor.

The DOT, which has right-of-way to the route of the proposed
trail, insisted on the wording last summer. Douglas County had
planned for the route to be designated for recreational use, and
the dispute threatened to scuttle the project. Gillespie said the
two sides reached an agreement late last year.

Once the DOT signs off on the revised permit, Gillespie said,
it will be sent back to the county for a series of public meetings
before final approval. He said he was not sure when that would happen.

City envisions a waterfront with fun stuff, too

Wenatchee Washington -- Marco Martinez Wenatchee World
A Saturday afternoon on Wenatchee's waterfront
could play out like this in the future: mom at the 100-room
hotel for a half-day business conference; the kids get dropped
off at the aquatic center across the street; and dad at the
nearby amphitheater for a concert.

Under current city zoning rules, it would be impossible. Most of
the waterfront property between the south-end pedestrian bridge
and the Odabashian Bridge is zoned industrial.

But the city of Wenatchee and Chelan County PUD are working on a
plan that would allow new types of development in the next 20 years.

"Waterfront development is going to require (city) zoning
changes and for that, we need a better idea of where we're
going," said Allison Williams, a community planner with the city.
"We do know that industrial (zoning) doesn't get us where we want to go."

Mayor Dennis Johnson said the city wants to do everything
possible to encourage new types of development along the waterfront.

Removing some barriers, like the chain-link fences that runs
along some sections, would improve accessibility and encourage
more use, said Johnson, who owns property himself along
Worthen Street next to Riverfront Park.

The community has benefited hugely by the PUD's work to
create the waterfront parks, Johnson said. He said the next step
is to develop ideas that would better connect the parks with the
rest of the community.

"It makes sense to make good use of the properties next to the
park that are undeveloped or could have a different use," he said.

The hotel, amphitheater and aquatic center ideas were
generated at a public meeting in December. Some of the other
ideas include a combination condo and retail space
development, a riverfront restaurant near the boat launch at the
foot of Orondo Avenue and a 3,500-seat baseball and football stadium.

A team of five different firms from Seattle and Wenatchee -
hired by the city and the PUD for $145,000 - took the ideas and
created three alternatives that focus on different sections of the waterfront.

About 110 residents, property owners and developers picked
their favorite ideas from those plans at a second public meeting on Feb. 25.

A preferred alternative based on the most popular elements
from each plan will be completed by mid- to late-April, Williams said.

Most of the major waterfront development is probably two to 10 years away, she said.

The city's sewage treatment plant is one of the big obstacles for
any development plan. Williams said the estimated $15 million
to $25 million cost of relocating the plant from the waterfront
likely means it will stay put.

"I don't know if that is an expense this community can afford,"
she said. "In an ideal world, it would not be there."

To comment - Who: Allison Williams, community planner
E-mail: awilliams@cityofwenatchee.com
Phone: 664-3390
Mail: To Williams' attention at City of Wenatchee,
P.O. Box 519, Wenatchee, WA, 98807

Alternative 1
Restaurant and plaza, looking south near boat launch
Walkway to boat moorage area
Existing boat basin
Continuous park trail south to bridge
Improved park plaza with amenities
Improved access to boat ramp

Alternative 1 focuses on the section of waterfront next to the downtown core. Features:
Improved access to the waterfront would be provided through an
extension of Orondo Avenue. The existing frontage road near
the boat launch would be eliminated.

Access would also be improved through a reconfiguration of the
Thurston Street underpass at the south end of Worthen Street.

Development might include a restaurant, park and streetscape
improvements, a residential and office complex and park
improvements near the sewage treatment plan.

Boat moorage area near the existing boat basin.

Alternative 2
Mixed-use building, Parkside Drive and expanded park looking
south midway between Fifth and Ninth streets
Riverside trail
Expanded park space
Riverside Drive designed for slow speeds, not a cut-through street
Mixed-use, residential and retail building
Residential courtyard over parking

The area between Fifth and Ninth street is the focus of Alternative 2. Features:
Park improvements between Fifth and Ninth streets.
A local access street called Riverside Drive would branch off
Worthen Street toward the river just north of the city sewage
treatment plant, cutting in front of the office building and ice
arena. The road would continue along the waterfront all the way
to Walla Walla Point Park.
Retail, hotel and residences west of Riverside Drive.

Alternative 3
Hotel complex plaza and amphitheater looking south from new access street
Environmental restoration
Expanded park area
Plaza with farmers market
Hotel/mixed-use building part of large scale redevelopment

Alternative 3 calls for a recreational village just south of Walla Walla Point Park. Features:
A small amphitheater, aquatic center, plaza, farmers market,
hotel and residential condos.
An option reserving a big chunk of space for a large-scale
institutional use like a regional sports center, college or research
and development center. The land could also have a corporate use.

A new gateway to the waterfront created by building a road from
Wenatchee Avenue south of Miller Street to the Walla Walla Point Park area.




Trail extension to Hydro Park is paved

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Loop Trail - Southeast 3rd Street - Hydro Park Photos 10-14-2002
***** Riders beware: *****

Trail extension to Hydro Park is paved,
but guardrails still need to be installed

Trail Repair Forces Detour

Wenatchee,Washington --
Users of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
will be asked to take a short detour over the grass
in WallaWalla Point Park starting Monday.

Basin Aspalt is repairing a section of the trail near
the coyote sculpture, Chelan County PUD officials said.
The work is expected to take about 10 days.
Click for Photos of the work at
WallaWalla Point Park 10-16-2002

( Photos by Gene`s BMX )

Bank employees replant section of Loop Trail

Wenatchee, Washington --Denise Holley, Wenatchee World
About 14 KeyBank employees left work Tuesday afternoon and dug
into the dry ground on the East Wenatchee side of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail. They planted 250 native plants
in an area that had been cleared of knapweed as part of KeyBank's
"Neighbors Make the Difference" program.

The company effort enlists employees in community projects about
a month before the national Make a Difference Day, scheduled for
Oct. 26 this year.

The plants -- mostly berry, sage and wild grasses
-- will need drip lines for first year, said Pat Rasmussen,
handpulling coordinator of the Chelan-Douglas Citizens Knapweed Coalition.
When they are grown, they will provide habitat for birds.

Volunteers and an inmate crew cleared knapweed skeletons from the area,
at Wilshire and 23rd Street, last year on Make a Difference Day, Rasmussen said.
KeyBank contributed funds to buy the native plants.

In past years, bank employees cleaned yards for seniors,
painted a room at the YMCA and cleared brush from a fire area near
Blewett Pass, said Lin Phillips, sales and service associate.


East Wenatchee, Washington --
Please Be Advised that the 19th Street Trail Access and
Parking Facility Will Be Closed From August 5 to October 5, 2002
The closure is necessary to allow
The Contractor to begin Construction of the Douglas County Administration Building.
Other Points of access to the trail continue to be available for your use.
These Include the Following:
* 3rd Street SE | * River Drive at Broadmoor | * 27th Street NW

Southeast 3rd Street to Rock Island Hydro Park Starts

East Wenatchee, Washington --

Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail

Southeast 3rd Street to Rock Island
Hydro Park is taking shape of a trail.
Photos posted - Click on pic.

The Hawley Street Improvements Finnishing Up

Wenatchee, Washington --
The Hawley Street section of the
Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail
has been converted from a sidewalk to an
actual path and separated from the nearby street.

The work on the $170,000 project began
on May 13th 2002 and is now finnishing up.
A nice new paved trail to ride and walk on
with no cars and trucks to battle with now.
The Hawley Street Pathway Improvement
is just one of the improvements being done
this year on the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail.

Photos of the Hawley Street Improvements:
( from start to finnish..) Photos by Gene`s BMX
News Clip Hawley Street Improvement

Hawley Street Construction Project

Wenatchee, Washington --
A section of the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail
will be converted from a sidewalk to an actual path
and separated from a nearby street.

Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail

Hawley Street Construction Project
Trail CLOSED at each end of Hawley St.
( News Clip & Photos Via clicking on Photo )

Eastside trail going downhill?

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By Ryan Feeney Wenatchee World
On the Douglas County side of
the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail, nature abounds
along the shores of the Columbia River. But so does
evidence of vandalism, lack of maintenance, and trail
misuse, say some trail users.

On the five-mile stretch between the Odabashian Bridge
and the pipeline bridge, road and interpretive signs have
been damaged or are missing, viewing stations have been
tattooed with graffiti, and mountain bikes have carved paths
into areas off the paved trail.

Douglas County officials, who are responsible for
maintaining the east side portion of the trail and a trail plaza,
deny vandals pose a major problem. On Friday, county
workers were sent to correct some of the problems.

"From the historical view, we've never had a problem with
vandalism," said Jim Barker, county administrator of
transportation and land services and interim parks director.
"Our No. 1 problem is the misuse of speed" by people on
bicycles, skateboards or roller blades, he said.

Douglas County leases the land for the trail, which opened
in 1994, from the state Department of Transportation.

The vandalism and lack of upkeep and policing is upsetting
some trail users, however.

East Wenatchee resident Jan Cramer said the trail overall is
beautiful, but she would like to see officials crack down on
the unwanted activity.

"I just don't see why people have to do this in a public
park," said Cramer as she walked her beagle, Trinket, on
Saturday near the Russell T. Congdon Recognition Plaza off
19th Street Northwest.

"There's quite a few trails that have been made by bicycles
and they're slowly eroding the landscape," Cramer said.
Brent Higgins, who as a contractor helped build the
Congdon plaza, stopped by to visit the area Saturday.

"The county should come out and weed this," said Higgins,
reaching down below a tree in a landscaped plaza area to
pull out a weed.

The plaza area, which includes a fountain and a wall bearing
the names of 600 people and groups that donated money
for the trail, is covered with weeds. Bricks in the plaza have
been removed.

The problems have extended up and down the trail, which
has become a tourist draw and has been written up in West
Coast newspapers and magazines.

Two viewing platforms below the plaza have been tagged
with graffiti, including obscenities and racial slurs. One of
the benches appears to have been burned. In the Porter's
Pond area, clear plastic covering an interpretive sign has
been shattered. A large interpretive sign about a quarter
mile north of the plaza has been stolen and one of the two
posts that held it up was damaged.

The tops on a quarter-mile stretch of wooden fence just
north of the pipeline bridge are warping, buckling and
popping off.

Graffiti has been spray painted on rocks at Jude's Oasis, a
small waterfall area near the pipeline bridge.

When told about the examples Friday morning, Barker said
he would send someone out to investigate. By Friday
afternoon, the graffiti at the viewing stations had been
painted over with brown spray paint, plastic shards on the
Porter's Pond sign were removed, and the damaged post
was cut off.

Barker said so many people use the trail that vandals can't
get away with much without being seen.

Graffiti has also been spotted along portions of the west
side trail and on the pipeline bridge.

Barker said the parks department once tried to keep
mountain bikers from riding off-trail on the east side by
placing barriers in front of unwanted trails. But the barriers
were removed because officials were afraid the county
would be liable for accidents.

"We don't encourage it (off-trail riding), but it's kind of hard
to keep it from happening," he said.

When the trail was first proposed in the early 1990s, some
people were against it because they wanted to see a
riverfront highway instead or wanted the shoreline area to
remain as it was. They questioned whether the county could
prevent vandalism and afford maintenance.

Barker said the county spends about $11,000 a year
maintaining the east side portion of the trail, which cost $1.3
million to build. Jail inmates also hit the trail three times a
week to pick up garbage, and a maintenance supervisor
visits once a month to scope out damage, he said.

He said the east side trail was built to give people a rural
experience, while the west side in Wenatchee is more
park-like and manicured. The Wenatchee side is maintained
by the Chelan County PUD, state Parks and Recreation
and the city of Wenatchee.

"People could well get the impression the east side was not
maintained as well as the west," Barker said.

Sweep The Bridge

Wenatchee,Washington --
Apple Capital Bicycle Club of Wenatchee,
May 8 at 4:30pm, bring brooms, pans, and gloves to help the
Greater Wenatchee Bicycle Advisory Board in sweeping the new,
and wider the better, Odabashian Bridge bike path.

New Douglas County office building
going up on Eastside near Loop Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Apple trees will fall to heavy
equipment this month on Douglas County's building
site at the foot of Northeast 19th Street.

County commissioners are going ahead with plans to build a
16,000-square-foot office build-ing there for the county's
Transportation and Land Services, the Solid Waste
Program and the East Wenatchee branch of the Assessor's Office.

The Transportation and Land Services building on 9th
Street does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act
standards, said County Commissioner Dane Keane.

Keane said the assessor's branch and Solid Waste Program
also need to be in the same facility with transportation so
people don't have to go to so many offices for services.

The county trimmed 2,000 square feet from the building
since last fall to save money. Construction was estimated to
cost $3.1 million, but is now estimated at $2 million to $2.5
million, said Jim Barker, Transportation and Land Services
administrator. Construction is expected to start this summer.

The county will pay for it with $1 million in bonds left over
from renovation of the courthouse in Waterville and 3rd
Street Annex in East Wenatchee, Barker said. Another
$1.5 million will come from reserves, the sale of the 9th
Street office building and a year-end cash balance or a new,
small, short-term bond, he said.

The building will be built on two acres on the south side of
the parking lot of the 19th Street trailhead of the Apple
Capital Recreation Loop Trail. The parking lot will be used
for the trailhead and building, Barker said.

The county owns 22 acres but only 16 are buildable
because of setback requirements from Sand Creek, Barker
said. The county already cleared Red Delicious apple trees
from 10 acres on the south side of the creek which it has no plans for.

Now it's ready to clear six acres of Goldens on the north
side of the creek, including the two-acre building site and
four acres which will be replanted in cherries to create a
buffer between the building and neighbors, Barker said. A
buffer is required by the city. It can be changed to a
property-line screen if the county eventually builds a new
sheriff's office and District Court on the four acres, Barker
said. Keane said such expansion won't happen for at least 10 years.

Commissioners hope to have a 10-year lease signed for
management of the cherries within the next two weeks.
Keane said neighboring landowner, Shawn Ballard, who
has opposed the building plans, may bid on the cherry lease.

Commissioners then plan to hire Bremmer Construction of
Wenatchee, an apparent low bidder, to remove the
Goldens. Commissioners want to remove the apples as
soon as possible before they have to be sprayed for pest
control. The four acres of trees will be burned since it will
be replanted. Trees on the building site will be chipped.

Commissioners reviewed construction designs this week
and will consider final designs on April 2 so they can call for
construction bids, Keane said.

Last September, state Rep. Clyde Ballard, Shawn Ballard's
father, wrote commissioners a letter opposing the project.
He said the area is residential and should be used for
housing. He said a culvert under Sunset Highway has been
reduced in size and that the property is in significant risk of
flooding in spring runoff.

Barker said the county will meet or exceed flood standards.

Keane said commissioners have received no other
comments concerning the site since September. He said he
takes Ballard's concerns seriously but has to consider
what's good for the community as a whole.

Commissioners Mary Hunt and Ken Stanton said they
looked at four other potential sites including Batterman
family property near Pangborn Memorial Airport and
Eastmont Junior High. They said they were all too costly.

The bridge that links downtown Wenatchee to Riverfront Park

Wenatchee,Washington --
Wenatchee has one of the best waterfront park systems
in the state is hardly a secret anymore.

Three parks stretch end-over-end along the Columbia River
for more than four miles, from the Odabashian Bridge to
just past the Orondo Avenue boat launch.

But finding a restaurant along the waterfront is no small
task. Locating a condominium is impossible. And don't even
ask about a hotel or marina.

They're nowhere to be found.

The PUD completed Riverfront Park in 1985 and Walla
Walla Point Park in 1990. The Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail was built in 1994, linking the east side of the
river with the west side. Prior to the parks, the Wenatchee
shoreline was home to factories, orchards, a garbage dump,
even a shack town. Railroad tracks blocked access then and now?

Today Wenatchee has a pedestrian bridge at First street
and Wenatchee Ave.that links the down town Wenatchee
area to the Riverfront Park .

A 643-foot-long span over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Railway tracks and Worthen Street. About 80 percent of the
$1.84 million span/pedestrian bridge has been paid for with federal grants.

The bridge has yet to be named,The Wenatchee Downtown
Association is having a" name that that bridge" contest and
they will have a name for the bridge by January 15, 2002

Loop trail supporter dies

East Wenatchee, Washington --
Dr. Gordon Congdon, one of the
driving forces behind the development of the Apple Capital
Recreation Loop Trail, died Saturday at his home.

Congdon, 86, was a co-founder of the Complete the Loop
Coalition, which worked to construct a trail along the
Columbia River in East Wenatchee that would connect with
a trail on the Wenatchee side of the river.

"He was a man of a few words and a lot of action," said
Bob Parlette, a Wenatchee attorney and the other
co-founder of the coalition. "He was a can-do guy."

Congdon, who was born in Wenatchee in 1914, practiced
medicine in Wenatchee for 54 years, 33 of those as a
surgeon. He was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist,
skiing and bicycling into his 80s, friends said.

"I think for most of his life -- he practiced medicine for 54
years -- he was committed along with his father and his
brother to providing outstanding health care to the
Wenatchee Valley," said his son, Gordon Congdon Jr.
"Secondly, it was his determination to see the loop trail built."

Congdon said his father's health had been failing for the last year or so.

He retired in 1990, right about the time the idea for the
Eastside trail was hatched, his son said.

"The timing was perfect," his son said. "Since he was no
longer practicing medicine, he had the time to spend. Once
he tackled something, he tackled it full speed ahead. He
helped create a great asset for the community."

Parlette said he and the senior Congdon both attended a
meeting of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to urge the
group to take on the loop trail project. Instead, the two
ended up spearheading the project and forming the
Complete the Loop Coalition.

In 1992, Congdon donated $100,000 to the project.

Congdon graduated from the University of Washington in
1936 and married Carol McGough. He graduated from
Rush Medical School in Chicago and served his internship
at San Francisco City and County Hospital and a one-year
residency at Sonoma County Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif.
He then served as a flight surgeon with a heavy
bombardment group in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

After the war, Congdon returned to Wenatchee and
practiced medicine with his father, Russell T. Congdon, and
his brother, Russell S. Congdon. He later trained as a
surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he
obtained a master's degree in surgery and qualified as a
Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Congdon was a longtime supporter of the Mission Ridge
Ski Area and considered it an important asset for the
Wenatchee Valley, friends said.

Parlette said Congdon simply loved the outdoors.

"His heart was in doing something for the community, and
he really believed exercise and good health go together,"
Parlette said.

Longtime friend Charlie Wilson said Congdon was
frustrated that plans to extend the loop trail out to Lincoln
Rock State Park hadn't reached fruition.

"It's accurate to say he was eager to see it completed and
he probably was frustrated it couldn't happen sooner, but
he never wavered in his belief it would be done," Congdon Jr. said.

Wilson said Congdon believed the Columbia River
waterfront should be a haven where people could relax,
recreate and find peace.

"He envisioned the shores of our river to be almost like a
cultural center for the community, where people could meet,
picnic, play sports and enjoy the out-of-doors," Wilson said.

Congdon and his wife, Carol, had five children. She died in
1976. He married Judy Chamberlin in 1977. She died in
1995. Congdon is survived by his children, Carol Conger,
Tacoma; Nancy Avey, Wenatchee; Connie McCauley,
Leavenworth; Ann Congdon, Manson; and Gordon
Congdon Jr., Wenatchee; a brother, Russell Congdon; a
sister, Emeline Paulson, El Cerrito, Calif.; and 11 grandchildren.

An informal gathering to celebrate his life will be held at 2
p.m. Dec. 9 at the Wenatchee Center.

Rocky Reach Trail project gets 'green' light

East Wenatchee,Washington --
The Federal Highway Administration has given an
environmental green light to the Rocky Reach Trail project.
It's a major milestone in the 10-year effort to build the
five-mile trail connecting the Apple Capital Recreation
Loop Trail to Lincoln Rock State Park, said William
Fraser, project manager and regional park planner for the
state Parks and Recreation Commission.

On Nov. 9, the federal agency determined the project has
no significant issues with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Fraser said he's optimistic State Parks will grant
environmental approval in two weeks, clearing the way for
final Douglas County permits. He's hopeful construction will
start next summer or fall.

But John Tontz, one of 18 Baker Flats orchardists opposed
to the trail bisecting their property, says the orchardists just
renewed leases for 2002 with the state Department of
Transportation for land the trail will use. He said the DOT
and State Parks often don't communicate.

Fraser said construction may start on land not leased.

Tontz, a former Douglas County commissioner, said the
Federal Highway Administration didn't address potential
incompatibilities and liabilities of public trails being located
too close to orchards.

He mentioned spray drift, mower debris and bees used in
pollination. He said the orchardists, who formed the Right
to Farm Association of Baker Flats, may sue the county if it
issues final permits.

Tontz and Fraser agreed the Federal Highway
Administration's finding of "no significant adverse impact to
agricultural lands" deals with loss of ag land, not
incompatibility and liability.

Fraser said just 24 acres will be taken from fruit production.
He said they are leased to orchardists by DOT and Chelan
County PUD, and that lease, to most people, means a temporary use.

Tontz said the DOT bought the land as a potential highway
site, not for use as a trail.

"Since they aren't doing that (building a highway), it should
be declared surplus and sold back to (adjacent) property
owners," Tontz said. "I don't think recreation will create that
much more revenue in the valley than we orchardists are
creating. Some of the orchards won't be able to continue
farming if they lose this lease."

In 1999, the Baker Flats association presented State Parks
with petitions signed by 800 growers opposed to the trail.
He said that number has grown and that the
Chelan-Douglas County Farm Bureau and Granges remain supportive.

State Parks, DOT and the Federal Highway Administration
all are partners in the $1.3 million trail project which was
started by the Complete the Loop Coalition. State Parks
and the Federal Highway Administration are applicants for
the environmental approval they are granting.

Fraser said it might appear to be a conflict of interest but
isn't because different parts of the agencies are doing the
asking and granting.

The agencies will need a rezone, conditional use permit and
shoreline substantial development permit from Douglas
County Hearing Examiner Don Moos.

Mark Kulaas, Douglas County planning director, said those
permits typically take 90 to 120 days to process.

Meanwhile, the Douglas County Department of
Transportation and Land Services is the project manager on
a $245,000 extension of the Loop Trail from Southeast
Third Street to Rock Island Hydro Park, which may start next spring.

Odabashian Bridge project finished

Wenatchee, Washington --

Odabashian Bridge new ten-foot wide bicycle pedestrian walkway
The $1.2 million project finished on ( 11/05/2001 )

More room to run, ride or roll:
Pedestrian crossing widened across Odabashian Bridge

Wenatchee, Washington -- By Laurie Smith, Wenatchee World
Rollerbladers Denese Sollom and Diane Holman skated two abreast Saturday,
blithely gliding from side to side as they crossed the Odabashian Bridge.

Once a bottleneck in the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail,
the bridge's newly widened bicycle and pedestrian lane gave
them ample room to move. And to say they reveled in it would not be an overstatement.

"We're jazzed -- really jazzed," said Sollom, 47, of Wenatchee.
"Yesterday when we came up here, we just went, 'Woohooo!' "

The state Department of Transportation announced completion of
the $1.2 million project this past week -- two weeks early and
$300,000 under budget. Sollom and Holman expressed delight to
see it finished soon enough to use before the snow flies.

"I feel a lot safer," said Holman, 38, of East Wenatchee.
Doubling the width of the lane from 5 feet to 10 feet accommodates
a free flow of two-way traffic and reduces the risk of collisions.
Before, there was hardly enough room for two cyclists to pass
without bumping handlebars, people who use the crossing say.

The widening of the 1,400-foot-long pathway will make the
Loop Trail more useful for commuting purposes,
DOT spokesman Jeff Adamson said. Folks who want to bicycle
to work across the Columbia River now have a safe route, he said.

It's also an example of the kinds of improvements needed if
North Central Washington is going to take full advantage of
its outdoor-recreation opportunities to advance economic development,
say community leaders such as Gene Sharratt, superintendent of the
North Central Education Service District.

Kathy and Bill Christman of Wenatchee concur.
"We live here because of the outdoor recreation,"
said Kathy Christman, who bicycled across the
bridge with her husband and three sons Saturday.

"This'll be a good jump start to maybe getting an Eastside trail,"
said Bill Christman, a civil engineer for the Chelan County PUD,
referring to a proposed extension of the Loop Trail northward to
Lincoln Rock State Park.

"Plus, it was kinda cool to see the DOT make a pedestrian improvement."

"Good use of our tax dollars," Bill Schettenhelm, 59,
of Cashmere, said while passing through with his wife,
Nancy, on a tandem bicycle. "It was worth the wait."

Work began on March 26 and involved seven months of lane
restrictions for motor-vehicle traffic. Restrictions during
daylight hours in the eastbound outside lane will continue
for a few more days while workers finish installing the
railing that separates the highway traffic from the bike-pedestrian lane,
Adamson said.

Some people had the impression that the project was taking too long,
he said. Because of the way the bridge is built, the strip of pavement
had to be added in six sections. After pouring each section, the contractor,
PCT Construction Inc. of Seattle, had to let it cure for two weeks before
building the next piece, Adamson said.

On the river side, a railing has replaced a concrete barrier,
affording a fuller view of the Columbia.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several dozen state
and local officials was planned for 1 p.m. today.

Pedestrian overpass finally to be built

Wenatchee,Washington -- By Stephen Maher, Wenatchee World
When Jim Ajax was named city public works director in 1994,
he inherited a two-year-old project -- some would say a decades-old project
-- that called for a pedestrian bridge between downtown and Riverfront Park.
Seven years later, Ajax is still working on the project, geared for bicyclists,
walkers and joggers. But apparently for not much longer.

Last week, the City Council chose Boss Construction of Bellingham to build the
643-foot-long span over Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and
Worthen Street. Work is expected to begin in June or July and be completed
by late November.

The bridge idea was first suggested by
architect Frank Lloyd Wright's studio in 1919.

In recent years, the project has survived cost overruns,
relocations and political infighting.

"It's been a long time in coming," Ajax said.

Boss Construction's bid of $1.84 million was the lowest
of six received by the city. The engineer's cost estimate was $2.23 million.

It was the second time the project was put out to bid. Last year,
bids came in at least $1 million over the $2.6 million budget.
For a time, it looked as though the overpass might remain just
an architectural drawing.

Ajax said the bids were much lower this time
-- and within budget
-- because the city changed the design.
The west side of the span will end on First Street,
rather than in the middle of the Stanley Civic Center Plaza.
The width was reduced from 12 feet to 10 feet.
The deck will be made of wood instead of concrete.

"It's a different bridge than was bid the last time," Ajax said.

It's also a shade different from what was originally conceived in 1919.
Wenatchee attorney R.S. Ludington arranged that year to have
Frank Lloyd Wright's studio develop a waterfront design for the city.
The design called for a pedestrian "viaduct" from downtown to the riverfront
between Fifth and Yakima streets as well as a park, civic center and war memorial.

However, the proposal remained on the shelf for decades,
occasionally generating interest from a curious writer or citizen but not much more.

That changed in 1992 when Link Transit announced plans for a
"multimodal" transportation center, including a pedestrian
overpass to be built from a lot at Mission and First streets
to the Wenatchee Center and then across the railroad tracks to Riverfront Park.

In the mid-1990s, the proposed bridge was shortened.
It also was put on hold as the city and Link worked to secure funding.
In 1997, thanks to lobbying from then-Mayor Earl Tilly,
the city received a $1 million grant from Congress.
The following year, Congress awarded the project a $870,000 grant.

Other money has come from Link, Chelan County, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway,
the state, the city, the Wenatchee Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau and
the Chelan County PUD.

Proponents have said the span will improve public safety, make downtown and the
waterfront more accessible, and attract more conventions and businesses.
Some predict it will further revitalize the urban core.

"This is really the first safe access we'll have to the riverfront for
unskilled riders," said Bob Bugert, chairman of the Greater Wenatchee
Bicycle Advisory Board. "Plus, for bike commuters from East Wenatchee
and Wenatchee, it'll provide quick access from one city to another.
It'll really speed things up."

The project also has had its share of critics. Some residents and politicians have
complained city funds shouldn't be spent on the project because it isn't essential.
Others maintain the span will end up being a "white elephant."

But Steve Gear, Wenatchee Downtown Association president and
WestCoast Wenatchee Center Hotel general manager,
believes the bridge will attract more tourists to the 11-mile-long
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

"It'll be one more amenity to sell," he said.

Pedestrian bridge timeline

1919: Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Chicago studio develops plans
for a pedestrian overpass in Wenatchee.

1992: Link Transit announces plans to seek funding for a pedestrian bridge
from a lot at Mission and First streets to the Wenatchee Center, then to a
proposed Amtrak station behind the center and finally over railroad tracks to Riverfront Park.

1993: A new plan calls for a 1,000-foot-long overpass between
Riverfront Park and Hedeen Plaza at Wenatchee Avenue and First Street.

1994: Cost is pegged at $1.6 million.

1995: The City Commission decides the overpass will be built
between Riverfront Park and the Wenatchee Center Plaza.
Cost hits $2 million.

1996: The Wenatchee Downtown Association launches a letter-writing
campaign to convince Congress to pay for the project.

1997: A U.S. House-Senate appropriations committee approves
$1 million for the estimated $2.2 million overpass.

1998: Congress appropriates another $870,000 for the project.
The cost hits $2.6 million.

1999: City Council rejects Mayor Gary Schoessler's plan to delay or eliminate bridge
funding. Schoessler says the money should be spent on more traditional services.
He warns that the bridge could become a haven for transients and gangs.

2000: Seven bids are made to build the bridge.
The lowest is about $1 million above the project budget.

2001: In January, the City Council tells staff to pare down the project.
Boss Construction of Bellingham in May submits the winning bid for
$1.84 million to build a shorter and narrower bridge.

Study gives green light to Loop trail extension

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By Michelle Partridge, Wenatchee World
Building a public trail from East Wenatchee to Lincoln Rock State Park
would enhance recreation in the valley and have little impact on farming,
historical sites, wildlife or the quality of air or water, a government study concluded.

The trail would also provide a valuable rural experience that is not found
on the more urban Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, the report found.

The new trail section would extend along the Columbia River from the existing
loop trail on the east side of Odabashian Bridge to the state park.

The environmental study was a milestone in the nearly 10-year effort to
build the Rocky Reach Trail. Pending approval by the Federal Highway Administration
and a Douglas County hearings examiner, construction could begin as early as this fall.

"This is a critical step in having the trail," said Bill Fraser, regional planner for
Washington State Parks, the lead agency on the project.
The local Complete the Loop Coalition, which has been lobbying for the
trail extension since late 1991, applauded the report.

"We think the trail will be a huge enhancement to our local trail system,"
said coalition member Doug Pauly. But members of the Right to Farm Association
of Baker Flats, a group of about 20 orchardists who would be affected by the trail,
say the study doesn't adequately address their concerns.

The trail would run along the edge of orchards and, in two places,right through them.
The farms could be subjected to vandalism, theft and lawsuits if trail users are
dusted with pesticide sprays, said orchardist John Tontz.
"Many of the people using the trail will be from out of the area,
and they won't be familiar with farming and pesticides," he said.
"We don't think, with the risk of lawsuits, that we can handle this trail."

The findings of the study will be presented at a public hearing Wednesday
in East Wenatchee. Comments will be accepted until May 18. The Federal Highway
Administration must still review the study and decide whether the project will
have any significant impacts. If there are none, then State Parks will apply to
Douglas County for zone changes and for a shorelines permit, Fraser said.
"Our goal is to start construction this fall," he said.

The trail is expected to cost about $1.3 million,
with much of the funding coming from government agencies.
The Complete the Loop Coalition has raised about $100,000.
The trail would be built entirely on public land,
some owned by the state Department of Transportation and some by
Chelan County PUD. For the most part,
the environmental report found that the trail project would "bolster the appeal"
of rural Douglas County, and "improve the image and opportunities provided by the county."

The biggest impacts would be on orchards,
the report found. While most orchards will continue operation,
24 acres of fruit trees on land owned by the DOT will have to
be converted to recreation use.

In most cases, a buffer of 60 to 100 feet would separate the trail and orchards.
The trail would cut through two orchards, and it may be closed briefly while farm
equipment goes across it.

One group of beehives would have to be moved if the trail is built.
The report found that trail users may be exposed to orchard sprays in the spring.

But the exposure would not be any greater than in other farming areas,
it found. Officials from the Chelan-Douglas County Farm Bureau and the
Growers Clearing House in Wenatchee say more work needs to be done to
address farming concerns before the trail is built.

"We're not opposed to the trail," said Britt Dudek, president of the Farm Bureau.
"But we are opposed to the current proposal for the trail.
It doesn't take farmers' concerns into account adequately." Tontz,
who will lose about 10 acres of cherries that he leases from the state
if the trail is built, said he and other farmers plan to challenge the report.

"We are going to attempt to make a significant problem for the trail," he said.
put Pauly, of the Complete the Loop Coalition, said he believes opposition to
the trail is small. He said the benefits outweigh the problems.
"The trail would be coming at a time when, economically,
we need more things to attract new business to this valley," he said.

Wenatchee loop trail like going on a treasure hunt

Wenatchee,Washington -- By Michelle Partridge, Wenatchee World
On your left!
The familiar call is sounded time and time again as fast-moving bikers
and bladers cruise around walkers on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail,
which connects the waterfronts of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.

But if slowing down for other trail users is the only time you hit the brakes
on the 10-mile course, you might just be missing some of the really cool -- and
occasionally quirky -- things that set the area apart from other urban trail systems.

Among them: a big black pipe going over a bridge,
secluded resting spots for people and some gathering spots for elusive turtles.

This trail is chock-full of treasures that just
might be worth cooling your jets for a few minutes.

Besides, you can always use a good excuse to catch your breath.


Eagle Lookout

Built in 1994, this secluded lookout offers spectacular views
of Wenatchee and the Cascade Mountains.

The bench, which sits on a rocky outcropping about halfway
between Odabashian Bridge and Northeast 27th Street,
was built by Gavan Welty as an Eagle Scout project.


Shifting sands

What's up with those shifting sand dunes just south of the
Odabashian Bridge that spit flecks into your eyes on windy days?
The dunes actually sit at the base of the Blue Grade drainage,
which carries storm water down from the sandy fields of Badger Mountain.
The sand has collected over many years, and experts say the dunes shift
a few feet each year due to the wind.


Walt Horan Natural Area

Believe it or not, the natural wetland area of the loop trail is, well,
not natural. A gravel trail winds through wetlands that were once orchards
and cattle pastures, and past ponds that were carved out with bulldozers
and filled by storm water runoff and irrigation water overflow.
But most traces of human interference have been covered up by native grasses,
wild roses and Russian olive trees.

Walk along the tree-lined section of trail closest to the river and
thecrickets chirp loud enough to drown out all sounds of the city.
Stand still for a while and you may spot some beavers, otters or
muskrats in the ponds. And if you tiptoe into the turnout with the
"Carnivorous Insects" interpretive sign, you can usually catch
painted turtles sunning themselves on two logs jutting out of the water.
The wooden nesting boxes through the area are for wood ducks.

By the way, if you decide to skip the wildlife area and take
the bypass trail to the north, keep an eye out for the concrete
culvert under the railroad tracks. It was installed in 1912.


Mystery circle

Bird bath? Backyard pond? Trail developers say this rock circle
alongside the trail just north of the 19th Street entrance is on
the site of an old homestead. No one knows what it used to be.


Flood marker

See if you can spot the round marker at the northeast corner
of the Riverfront Center office building near the ice arena.
It shows the height of the river during the 1948 flood.
The historical marker was salvaged from the old Waterworks building,
which was torn down to make way for professional offices.


Linden Tree Park

This quiet, shady park used to be a waterfront homestead.
The only building left is the barn, which is used as a boathouse.
Stop and rest on the benches along the shore, or walk down to the
boat dock for a secluded breather. Water that pools above the trail
and flows under a small pedestrian bridge is storm-water runoff and irrigation overflow.



Storm water cascades over rocks and then collects in a pool at
this trail-side oasis just north of the pedestrian bridge in East Wenatchee.
Flowers and flat rocks for sitting make "Jude's Oasis" a popular resting spot.
It honors Judy Congdon, whose husband, Gordon Congdon, donated $100,000 toward
the completion of the loop trail.


Pipeline Bridge

Big, black and rusty may not be endearing qualities,
but the pedestrian bridge that spans the Columbia River
at the south end of the loop trail is still an architectural
wonder in its own right. More than 90 years ago, the structure
was the first vehicle bridge across the Columbia River.
Long closed to vehicles, the bridge is now shared by pedestrians,
bikers and a giant pipe that carries irrigation water from the
Highline Canal to the East Wenatchee area.


The tracks

Yes, a pint-sized train really does chug around those teeny-weeny
tracks at Riverfront Park, but only on some weekends and holidays.
The tracks were moved to the park from Peshastin, where orchardist
Nile Saunders once gave children free rides through his fruit trees.
The train is named the Saunders' Special.


The mounds

OK, so it may be a little known fact that should remain hidden,
but all those nice, grassy knolls in Riverfront and Walla Walla
Point parks are actually giant heaps of concrete blocks,
building materials and other trash. Instead of spending lots of
money to haul it all away, park developers simply covered it up
with layers of clay, planted grass on it and, voil, irresistible
hills for kids to roll down.

Expanding the community's roots:
Take Pride pitches new Loop Trail arboretum

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By Dan Wheat, Wenatchee World
Back in 1989, newly elected Douglas County Commissioner Matt
Warner was the butt of jokes for wanting to reforest Douglas County.

After all, most of the county was never tree-covered,
at least in modern man's memory.

But Warner slowly got his revenge.

He formed what became North Central Washington Take Pride in America,
a local chapter of a nationwide community projects program started by
the Reagan administration in 1986. Through Take Pride,
Warner began an Arbor Day celebration by giving away seedlings for people to plant.

He worried it would flop, but he handed out 500 trees in 30 minutes
from the back of an old Jeep that first year. Now the WSU Cooperative
Extension Chelan-Douglas Master Gardener program has taken over the duties,
but Take Pride still helps buy the trees. More than 22,000 were given away
at several points in NCW last Arbor Day and Warner says more than 200,000
have been distributed since 1989.

"I was always proud that I was the butt of a few jokes,"
Warner said this week. "But this isn't unique to me.
There are a lot of people who understand trees do nothing but improve an area."

Now he's working on sweet Revenge No. 2.

Take Pride is seeking approval from Douglas County and the state Department
of Transportation to create a small arboretum or native-plant interpretive
area at Van Well Point, a rest stop it built on the east side of the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in 1997.

The arboretum will be about three times larger than Van Well Point
and will include about 12 to 15 trees indigenous to the area, Warner said.
Take Pride is working with Master Gardeners to determine the best species.
There are already a few trees there which Warner believes are from a former home site.

Take Pride has $1,500 to buy the trees, build a primitive path,
a shallow pond and make some natural flower mounds, Warner said.

He hopes to have it done before Arbor Day, which is April 11.
But the county and state aren't exactly enthusiastic.
The DOT owns the property. The county leases it for the trail.

"The whole intent of the trail was that it was supposed to remain natural,
so when we start putting stuff in and having it dry up, it can be a problem,"
said Stan Delzer, DOT engineer.

"It's a lovely idea and I think it would be well received by the community,"
said Mary Hunt, county commissioner. "I just have to look past that to the maintenance."

While Warner has promised Take Pride will maintain it,
Hunt says she's concerned about who takes care of it if Warner moves on.

Loop trail supporter questions timing of meeting on complaints about users

East Wenatchee Washington -- By Stephen Maher Wenatchee World
Douglas County officials will hold a private meeting Thursday
with other local agency heads to discuss what they say have
been increasing complaints about loose dogs, bicyclists and
in-line skaters creating havoc on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

Most of the problems, they say, have been confined to the
Eastside portion of the paved 11-mile loop trail.
The Douglas County side is characterized by wildlife
areas and undeveloped stretches. On the Chelan County side,
the trail runs along parks, a wildlife area and an old industrial district.

But a member of the Complete the Loop Coalition, which raised money
to construct the trail earlier this decade, said the meeting's timing
is suspicious, coming just before hearings on a proposed trail extension
from the Odabashian Bridge area to Lincoln Rock State Park.

The trail extension is supported by recreationalists
but opposed by some orchardists.

Thursday's 8 a.m. meeting at the Douglas County Fire District 2 station
is closed to the public.

County officials say a community forum on trail
use will be held later this month or in July.

Roger Boyer, Douglas County parks director,
said his office has received about a half-dozen complaints
about vicious dogs coming out of orchards and confronting trail users,
and bikers and in-line skaters traveling way above the posted
10 mph speed limit.

He said he didn't keep a list of those who've complained
but recalls that one was Douglas County Prosecutor Steve Clem.

Boyer said there also have been several fires along
the trail and problems with vandalism and litter.

The violations increase the liability risk for Douglas County,
which manages the Eastside portion of the trail, he said.

Boyer said he invited other agencies
-- including law enforcement from both sides of the river,
the state Department of Transportation, the Chelan County PUD and Wenatchee parks
-- because they were part of the original Loop Trail Advisory Committee.
The group last met a year and a half ago.

He believes trail conflicts are growing with increased use.

"The Wenatchee side has so many more people," he said.
"They get over on this side and they really open up.
These commissioners are really concerned about getting it down ...
I see it as an enforcement issue."

Complete the Loop Coalition member Skip Johnson said
he wants to see legitimate problems addressed.
But Johnson said he's concerned the complaints
are being used to try to derail the proposed trail extension
to Lincoln Rock State Park. With land-use hearings on the
extension to be held this summer, problems said to be occurring
on the existing trail could sidetrack the issue, he said.

"Someone is trying to make them (county parks) make a big deal out of this,"
Johnson said. "They're trying to find some red flags they can use as smoke screens."

But Boyer said he sees no connection between the two.
He said complaints to his office have seemed legitimate.

"The meeting is how to handle what we do have now," Boyer said.

He's back on his feet

Four years after bike accident, Glen Frese takes steps in public

Wenatchee, Washington By Stephen Maher, Wenatchee World
For nearly four years now, it's been a resounding echo bouncing
from Squilchuck Canyon to Badger Mountain and from Gold's Gym to
the Ridge to River finish line: "You can do it, Glen."

On Tuesday afternoon, Glen Frese did.

Rising from a wheelchair at the back of City Commission chambers
and proceeding to the front of the room, Frese took his first
public steps since being paralyzed in a June 1995 bicycle accident
on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

Joining Frese to accept certificates of appreciation from
city commissioners were Mike Utley, the former Detroit Lions
guard and quadriplegic who accomplished a similar feat in Phoenix, Ariz.,
on Feb. 15, and their trainer, Blair McHaney, and physical therapist,
Michael Hansen. Utley, who will speak at this evening's
Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce banquet and lives part of the year near Orondo,
remained in his wheelchair during the ceremony.

Members of the Wenatchee High School wrestling team,
which finished second in state last weekend,
were in attendance to receive their own certificates from commissioners.
Some stared in awe as Frese and Utley made their way to the front.

Frese's walk wasn't without difficulty. He was assisted by McHaney
on one side and Hansen on the other. According to City Commissioner
Pat Notter, Frese took his first steps unaided a week ago.
The Wenatchee psychologist and athlete was paralyzed from the
mid-chest down when he collided head-on with another bicyclist
on the trail's Eastside portion.

"Thanks for the demonstration, Glen. Wow!," said Mayor Earl Tilly.

Notter told Frese: "Glen, you are amazing. You are wonderful."

Frese made sure McHaney, co-owner of Gold's Gym in Wenatchee,
and Hansen, a physical therapist who owns Biosports next door,
were recognized. The two work almost daily with Utley and Frese
for free and have used both orthodox and unorthodox rehabilitation
regimens with the pair. Like Utley, Frese has a spinal cord that
wasn't severed completely.

"To me, the most important thing about this is you can only do
something like this with a team around you," said Frese.
"You can't do this alone. Blair and Mike (Hansen)
are the ones who keep you going."

Wenatchee resident Ray Wyles, a friend of Frese's,
spoke briefly at the ceremony. He described McHaney
and Hansen as outstanding citizens.

He applauded Utley, injured in 1991, for creating the
Mike Utley Foundation, which financially supports
spinal-cord injury research, rehabilitations and educational programs.

And with the high school wrestlers listening keenly,
he pointed out Frese was a state champion wrestler at Eastmont High School.
"He is," said Wyles, "an inspiration to everybody."

Take Pride group offers reward in graffiti case

East Wenatchee -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
Douglas County Parks personnel were busy Tuesday removing graffiti
from an Eastside portion of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.
And North Central Washington Take Pride in America is offering a
$200 reward for information leading to the conviction of those who did it.

The graffiti, some apparently gang-related and obscenities,
was painted with blue spray paint on several sections of the
trail and three bridges between 19th and 27th Streets during
the weekend, said Joel Bender, maintenance supervisor of
Douglas County Parks and Recreation.

"Normally what we would do is cover it with an asphalt sealer,
but we can't use it until it's over 50 degrees for several days,"
Bender said.

The writing was temporarily covered with black spray
paint until temperatures are warm enough to use sealant.

He said industrial graffiti removers were used on the bridges,
to no avail, so boards were turned over to hide it. He said the
bridge just north of 27th Street received the most damage.
He said about 100 feet of the trail was defaced in 3- to 6-foot sections.

Trail backer calls on DOT chief to help with rezoning

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
It's been a rocky path for five years, but Bob Parlette is hopeful
the 4.7-mile extension of the riverfront loop trail to Rocky Reach Dam
north of East Wenatchee will be built this year, thanks partly to the
influence of state Transportation Commission Chairman Tom Green of Wenatchee.

Parlette, a Wenatchee attorney and co-founder of the Complete the Loop Coalition,
believes he's come up with a way to resolve an impasse involving the
state Department of Transportation, which hasn't wanted to put the trail
on a DOT right of way and hasn't wanted to concede county zoning authority
over the right of way. A decision on Parlette's idea may come sometime in February.
The main issue is the DOT's refusal to allow the state Parks and Recreation Commission,
which is spearheading the trail project, to apply for a Douglas County rezone
on a strip of the DOT right of way. The area is zoned as agricultural land of
long-term significance, but the strip rezone would designate the trail portion
as recreational. Stan Delzer, a local engineer with DOT, said DOT doesn't want
recreational use to interfere with its ability to build a highway on the right
of way in the future and doesn't think the county has the authority to zone highway right of way.

The county says it does. But Parlette is getting DOT to let State Parks apply
for the rezone on a narrow strip of land on the western edge of the right of
way while not giving up authority to the county in the future. The idea is that
since the right of way for the highway is 200 to 250 feet wide, taking perhaps
10 feet for a trail won't hamper the highway if it ever is built.
Parlette said Green, who also is a former Chelan County commissioner,
was helpful in getting DOT to rethink its position. Green said the trail provides
transportation and recreation, so DOT needs to work with State Parks to make it happen.

Delzer said the effects of the rezone, even if on a narrow strip, remain a concern.
But he said DOT is working toward finalizing an agreement for State Parks to lease
the strip for the trail. Two weeks ago, Parlette, Parks, DOT and Douglas County
planners discussed the idea. Parlette said he's hopeful it will get the rezone started.

He said a shoreline substantial development permit also will be needed and may be
handled jointly with the rezone. The Complete the Loop Coalition proposed the
Rocky Reach extension in 1994 after the Eastside portion of the loop trail was built.

It lined up grants and got State Parks to be project manager.
The cost is estimated at $1.3 million, but Parlette said
it may end up closer to $1.5 million. Neighboring orchardists have
opposed it over land use rights and concerns about spray drift liability.

The coalition and State Parks now plan to use the right of way for all but 10 to 20
percent of the trail. The trail will meander between a shoreline route and the right
of way, about 10 to 75 feet apart, at the southern end of the trail where rights are
in dispute or where property owners don't want the trail to go.

"There still are issues out there regarding use rights,
but we're not fighting those," said Bill Fraser,
State Parks project coordinator.
"The roadblock has been our ability to do the zone change.
With some agreement with the DOT, we can see that that can move ahead."
Congdon makes $50,000 challenge EAST WENATCHEE --
The Complete the Loop Coalition has $1.1 million in various state and
federal grants to build the Rocky Reach Trailway, but $200,000 to $320,000
more in private funding is still needed. To encourage donations,
Gordon Congdon Sr., co-founder of the coalition, is pledging to give
$50,000 as matching money if health professionals in town also give $50,000.
Congdon gave $100,000 several years ago for completion of the loop trail on the Eastside.

Donations may be made payable to:
Complete the Loop Coalition,
P.O. Box 1192, Wenatchee, WA., 98807.
New brochures on trail extension plans are available
at sporting good stores and on the trail.

Loop trail dedicated in salute to cooperation

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By MARC MARTINEZ, Wenatchee World
The Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail was hailed Saturday as a
testament of cooperation among volunteers, two cities, two counties
and other government agencies involved in the construction of the
trail along the banks of the Columbia River.

Residents and leaders from both sides of the river gathered about
10 a.m. at the 19th Street trail entrance for the dedication of the
Complete the Loop Recognition Plaza. The highlight of the short
ceremony was the unveiling of a wall bearing the names of individuals
and groups that have donated more than $100 toward the completion of
the 10.5 mile trail.

About 600 names are inscribed in bricks and granite at the
75-foot circular plaza, which includes a low-level water
fountain in the center.

Bob Parlette, co-chairman of the Complete the Loop Coalition
with Dr. Gordon Congdon, said those who contributed smaller
sums or donated time also deserve credit for their efforts.

"They are as equally important as the people who contributed more,"
Parlette said.

About $300,000 of the $1.3 million used to complete the east side
of the trail came from individuals, businesses and organizations.
The rest came from government and private grants.

Douglas County Commissioner Leslie Emerick, Wenatchee Mayor Earl Tilly
and East Wenatchee Mayor Dawn Collings each spoke briefly about the
spirit of cooperation the trail has brought to the Wenatchee Valley.

"This type of project proves there are no boundary lines
-- just people who can work together to make life better in this valley,"
said Collings.
Congdon, who donated $100,000 toward the completion of the loop trail,
said construction of the recognition plaza marks the realization of
his 10-year dream. The eastside portion of the loop is named the
Russell T. Congdon Memorial Segment in memory of his late father.

Congdon and his step-daughter, Lynn Evans, also helped dedicate
Jude's Oasis following the recognition plaza ceremony. Jude's Oasis
is a small waterfall area on the east side of the trail, close to the walking bridge.

The waterfall area was the favorite resting spot of the late Judy Congdon
-- Lynn Evans' mother and Gordon Congdon's wife.
The four local Rotary clubs contributed labor
and capital to complete the resting area.

"There are some people in our lives who continue to
enrich us long after our exposure to them has ceased,
and in that sense Judy Ruby will never be gone," said Evans,
reading a note from her brother during a champagne toast
celebration following the plaza dedication.
Her brother lives in Hawaii and could not make it to the
dedication of Jude's Oasis.

Jude's Oasis is the first phase of the Columbia Junction Overlook.
The Rotary clubs will also construct a kiosk, benches and
landscaping near the walking bridge.

The Complete the Loop Coalition and the state Parks and Recreation
Commission are now working on the Rocky Reach Trailway, an extension
of the trail planned to go from the Odabashian Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park.

The 4.7-mile extension is estimated to cost $1.3 million.
The coalition must raise $175,000 in local matching funds
to access state grants for the trail extension.

"We have lots of room on the wall to add more people's names,"
Parlette said, encouraging those who haven't contributed to
become involved in construction of the trail extension.

Plaza on 'Trail of Two Cities' will be dedicated Saturday

East Wenatchee,Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
Bob Parlette likes to call it a "Trail of Two Cities,"
and he talks about how completion of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
four years ago brought East Wenatchee and Wenatchee together.

That will be his theme at 10 a.m. Saturday at the public dedication
of the Complete the Loop Recognition Plaza at the 19th Street trail entrance.
It will be a celebration of the trail and a tribute to all the people,
businesses and organizations which gave about $300,000 toward building
the trail along the east side, completing the 10.5-mile loop along the
Wenatchee and East Wenatchee shorelines. Another $1 million in government
and private grants also were used.

Some of the $300,000 people gave was used to build the $110,000 plaza.

Jude's Oasis, a newly enhanced rest spot on the trail near the pipeline bridge,
also will be dedicated at 10:45 a.m.

East Wenatchee Mayor Dawn Collings,
Wenatchee Mayor Earl Tilly and former Chelan-Douglas Superior Court Judge
Charles Cone have been invited to reflect, at the plaza dedication,
on what the trail means to the valley.

A school musical group or two may perform and four students from Wenatchee's Foothills
Middle School will tell how they are raising money for the trail through a recycling project.

Wenatchee city commissioners, East Wenatchee City Council members,
Douglas and Chelan County commissioners and 12th District legislators
have been invited to attend both ceremonies.

In the recognition area, about 600 names are inscribed in bricks
and granite at the 75-foot circular plaza which was completed this spring.
There's a low-level water fountain in the center and 12 honey locust trees.

"It's been a long time coming," said Jennifer Olsen,
president of Silverline Projects Inc., which coordinated plaza construction.
"It took about three or four years of persistence to satisfy all the requirements
of the public agencies, satisfy the needs of the project and the wishes of the coalition.

"It's been a major undertaking to get that many names spelled out in stone."

Donors are listed by category according to how much they donated:
walkers, power walkers, joggers and marathoners and runners.
There's a silhouette of a child and adult jogging with a circular
inscription around them: "In recognition of those who gave to build the trail."

Parlette and Dr. Gordon Congdon are co-chairmen of the Complete the Loop Coalition.

Congdon donated $100,000.
The eastside portion of the loop is named the Russell T. Congdon Memorial
Segment in memory of his father. Congdon's nephew, Richard Congdon,
did most of the design work for the recognition plaza.
Smith Tractor and Equipment donated use of equipment.

The plaza dedication will take about a half-hour.
Then people will bicycle or walk south on the trail for the 10:45 a.m.
dedication of Jude's Oasis, a small pond along the trail about 100 feet north of the
pipeline bridge. Congdon will speak there.

It was a favorite resting spot of his late wife, Judy,
when they biked the loop. In recent weeks, the East Wenatchee Rotary,
Downtown Rotary, North Rotary and Sunrise Rotary clubs have spent
about $50,000 landscaping the area.

Jude's Oasis is the first phase of Columbia Junction Overlook.
The second phase, at the east end of the bridge, will involve
landscaping, information about the trail,
a history of the bridge and recognition of
those who gave to the bridge lighting project.

The Complete the Loop Coalition and the state Parks and Recreation
Commission now are working on the Rocky Reach Trailway,
a 4.7-mile extension of the trail planned to go from Odabashian Bridge
to Lincoln Rock State Park.

Construction may begin this fall.

The extension is estimated to cost $1.3 million.
The coalition is trying to raise $175,000 for it and has raised $10,000 so far.
Olsen said people may donate and get their names engraved
on bricks and wall space still available at recognition plaza.
About 400 bricks are available at $200 each.
Fewer wall spaces are available in several categories of more than $200.

Bicycles limited only by imagination

North Central Washington is a pedaling paradise for bike riders,
no matter whether it's road riding or mountain biking.

The weather is typically sunny and dry for three-quarters of the year.
The scenery is nearly always magnificent and the roads and trails are often little traveled.

Link even provides a free bus system covering a large area of
Chelan and Douglas counties that will pick up a cyclist and his bike,
take him to a cycling area and then bring him back again.

Bicycling here is limited only by your imagination.
Find a map and devise your own itinerary.

To get you started, here's a few suggestions:


Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
-- The 10-mile paved trail encircling the Columbia River shoreline
in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee is fun for recreational riders.
It offers not only good exercise, but also great scenery and a
chance to socialize with others along the trail. But be
careful: The trail is shared by walkers, in-line skaters and others,
including children, who may not be watching for cyclists.

Rock Island Loop
-- From the Riverfront Park ride south on the Loop Trail,
cross the Pedestrian Bridge, turn right, continue to the TOP Foods intersection.
Continue south on Highway 28. Turn left onto Third Street S.E. in East Wenatchee.
Ride past Costco. The road turns into Fourth Street.
Continue riding up the gradual hill, through pleasant orchard country,
until you reach the junction with Union Street. Turn left.
In a block, turn right on Grant Road. Ride past the airport,
through farm country, and down the hill to the town of Rock Island.
At Rock Island, return to East Wenatchee via the Old Rock Island Road and Highway 28.

Malaga Loop
-- Ride south on Wenatchee Avenue past the Appleyard.
Continue riding on this pleasantly flat road through the
town of Malaga. Turn right on West Malaga Road and ride
up the hill past the fire station.

From here there are three options:
You may continue riding on West Malaga Road and return to the Malaga-Alcoa Highway,
and go back to Wenatchee. If you want a workout, turn left on Joe Miller Road.
Climb the hill, up and up. About three miles up Joe Miller you can turn right
on Hamlin Road and go down the hill back to West Malaga Road,
or you can keep going up Joe Miller and emerge at the Stemilt Hill church.
This is a steep, grueling climb but the rewards are great. Super scenery.

-- Ride south on Highway 28, past Rock Island Dam, up the hill.
Turn left onto the Palisades Road. Ride up the
Moses Coulee and stop for a rest at the Palisades Country Store,
or rest on the lawn at the Palisades School. Then return the same way.

-- As you leave Olds Station and pedal toward Chelan on Highway 97A
(on the west side of the Columbia River), you'll pass Rocky Reach Dam.
Look west into Swakane Canyon for a glimpse of Lincoln Rock.
The rock's profile resembles President Abraham Lincoln.

The road leads through Entiat and along the Columbia River.
A historical turnout at Earthquake Point marks the spot where an
earthquake dumped tons of rock into the river years ago,
temporarily blocking it.

Take the Navarre Coulee turnoff to Chelan and enjoy a ride through a gap
in the basalt cliffs cut thousands of years ago by glaciers.
From Navarre Coulee, the road follows the lake to Chelan.

On your way out of Chelan, take Highway 97A south and
get ready for a breathtaking view of the Columbia as
you come through the Knapp Hill Tunnel.
An alternative route home is via Chelan Falls, taking Highway 97
on the east side of the Columbia River back to East Wenatchee and home.

Sheep Canyon
-- From Ephrata, follow Alder Street northeast until you've left the city.
Cross Highway 28 and follow Road 8-NW 2 1/2 miles north, across the main irrigation
canal. The road up Sheep Canyon branches off to the left.

A four-mile ride brings you to Road E-NW (Whitehall Road).
Follow Whitehall north and you'll eventually reach Highway 2
above Moses Coulee. Or head back south to Ephrata through Davis Canyon,
to Sagebrush Flats Road.

If you continue west on Sheep Canyon Road,
you'll pass Road F-NW, which goes back Ephrata through Johnson Canyon.
Farther west is Sagebrush Flats Road,
which connects with Baird Springs Road just west of Ephrata.
Baird Springs runs west to Trinidad on Highway 2 below Quincy.

Methow Valley
-- The Methow Valley Community Trail,
an extensive 200-kilometer trail that extends from Sun Mountain to
Winthrop and Mazama, is open to bike riding.
Used by cross country skiers in the winter, it is well known for its scenery.
Donations are appreciated.

To catch a bus
-- Link is a free bus system that connects the following communities
in Chelan and Douglas counties: Ardenvoir, Cashmere, Chelan, Chelan Falls
(the route goes up the east side of the Columbia River), Dryden, Entiat,
East Wenatchee, Lake Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Malaga, Manson, Monitor,
Peshastin, Plain, Rock Island, Valley Hi, Waterville and Wenatchee.
There are six routes within Wenatchee alone.

Between early March and late November (depending on snow),
Link provides bike racks on all routes, but bicycles only can
be loaded and unloaded at designated stops.
All Wenatchee and East Wenatchee routes have from one to three BikeLink
stops in addition to Columbia Station. On longer routes,
there are stops every few miles to load and unload bikes in a safe
boarding place. Most of these stops are at the farthest point of the route.

A BikeLink sign is attached to the regular Link bus stop sign
in most places where bikes can be loaded and unloaded, except
on some rural routes that do not yet have signs.

Each bus can carry four bicycles on a first-come, first-served basis. Riders are
responsible for loading and unloading bikes. If necessary,
a bus driver can assist. Bikes are not allowed inside the bus.

A brochure available is on buses and the schedule book
lists all BikeLink stops and provides specific loading and unloading rules.

For information, call Link's guest service center at
(509) 662-1155 or (800) 851-5465 (TDD (509) 664-7287).


There are both road and trail riding to be found in abundance
in the national forests of North Central Washington. For more information,
check the Okanogan or Wenatchee National Forest headquarters and their
various ranger districts.

Devils Gulch
-- Considered one of the most classic,
challenging mountain bike rides in the Northwest,
the trail takes riders from the Mission Ridge area to Mission Creek south of Cashmere.

Some riders start at the Mission Ridge parking lot,
climbing the road behind the main lodge.
The ride runs parallel to Chair No. 1 until it takes a right onto the
Pipeline Road (really more of a trail), a good warmup ride to
Forest Service Road 9712, the road to Liberty.

Other riders drive their rigs via Squilchuck Road,
Beehive Lake and Road 9712 to the trail head and parking lot,
located just across the road from the end of the Pipeline Road.

The trail itself is a sometimes technical ride that starts
out in rolling forests and then drops down steep switchbacks
into the bottom of the gulch, which it follows to the Mission Creek Road.
Riders will encounter creeks to cross as well as have to cope with a trail
that meanders along steep hillsides, with lots of vertical drop.
The trail can be wet or it can be very dusty, depending on the weather
and time of year. Set aside a morning or afternoon if you want to
take in the scenery, too.

Although some riders finish the ride at the Mission Creek Road,
others cool down by cycling all the way to Cashmere, finishing
on three miles of dirt road and five miles of pavement.

Time for Douglas County to nail down a decision:
What will the county build on 19th Street property near the river?

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
Douglas County commissioners are nearing a big decision on whether
to build a new county office building that would consolidate most
county offices on the 19th Street property the county bought seven years ago.

"I think it's a good idea," Commissioner Dane Keane said.
"We're too scattered out. We need to bring all of our entities together.
To have it at one stop will be nice for our constituents."

Last September, commissioners proposed a scaled-down plan
for some offices at the site, but the plan would have left
the Sheriff's Office, District Court and the road maintenance
shop at the present Third Street Annex.

Now they think they might have a way to build a larger office
building that could house the Sheriff's Office, District Court
and most East Wenatchee-area county offices.
The road maintenance shop would be moved from the Third Street Annex, which
would be sold, and the Parks Department would remain at Eastmont County Park.

A decision likely will be made within four to eight weeks, said Jim Barker,
administrator of county Transportation and Land Services.
Construction could occur in the next year.

Last week, commissioners met for the second time in recent months with
Langly Associates Inc. of Bellevue, which is suggesting the county ask
for proposals from firms to design and build a 55,000- to 60,000-square-foot
building and then sell it to the county.

The cheaper method could be used instead of a more traditional
approach of the county hiring an architect and a separate construction contractor.

"We hope to save in the 25-percent range," Barker said,
"which would be enough to build the larger structure and stay within financial constraints."

He would not disclose preliminary cost estimates, saying that could tip
the county's position in negotiations with a firm on a final price.

Langly likely would be among firms submitting a proposal. Last week,
it presented commissioners with preliminary conceptual designs including
floor plans and several options for exterior looks.
Barker said Wenatchee developer Jon Eberle once worked
for Langly and first approached him about the idea.

Keane said the county prosecutor and treasurer are reviewing Langly's figures,
and that the likelihood of moving forward is very good.

A new building would consolidate county offices and provide needed space,
Barker said. He said the present Third Street Annex doesn't meet standards
of the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be needing repairs.

He said commissioners would issue bonds to pay for the project
but are not willing to raise taxes to pay it off. Money for the
project would come from these sources:

revenue soon to be freed from paying off other bonds;

a 1/4-of-1-percent real estate excise tax which will be freed up
from paying off the 19th Street property in 2001;

proceeds from selling the Third Street Annex and
the Transportation and Land Services office;

income from renting space in the new building to the
Area Agency on Aging and the Chelan-Douglas Health District;

about $80,000 per year now spent on renting about 7,000 square
feet for county offices at several locations in East Wenatchee.

The county bought the 23-acre site off 19th Street between Sunset Highway
and the Columbia River in 1991 for $703,000.
A small part has been used for a parking lot and as access to the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The land buy was controversial from the start.
Area residents weren't eager to have county offices
next door and got the county to agree that it wouldn't
move the road maintenance shop there.

The property became a key issue in the 1992 campaigns for commissioner
in which incumbents Matt Warner and Joan Patterson lost.
Brian Maydole and Paul Blanchard, who took their places,
quickly stopped the building plans.

Last fall, commissioners Leslie Emerick,
Dane Keane and Jay Weber renewed plans.

Barker said Emerick and Keane are committed to the
project and that Steve Still, who succeeded Weber
as commissioner, is thoroughly investigating all
aspects and other potential building sites the county has considered.

Barker said staff has analyzed several possibilities:
two east of East Wenatchee, one south, two central and one to the north.

"We compared them apples to apples on cost and development,
and 19th Street was by far the cheapest to develop," he said.
"It's head and shoulders above any piece we've looked at.
What was an unpopular decision ended up being a wise purchase."

Take Pride begins work on loop trail rest area

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By STEPHEN MAHER, Wenatchee World
By the end of May, users of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
will have another spot to take a break.

The local Take Pride in America organization has started constructing
a rest area along the trail near 34th Street on the Eastside.
The property is owned by the state Department of Transportation.
Once the project is completed, Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department will maintain it.

The roughly 90-by-20-foot area will feature benches and a litter container.
It will be landscaped with pavers, gravel and five to seven Australian
pine trees serving as a backdrop. The trees will eventually grow to a height of 20 feet.

With the exception of the 19th Street Recognition Plaza area,
there are no other rest spots on the Eastside portion of the loop trail.

"It's an area that gets used so heavily," said Matt Warner,
Take Pride in America's secretary. "It'd be a nice place for
a rest stop, and it's kind of a contemplative place.
It's right across from the confluence.
You have an opportunity to see some beautiful
scenery. And it's a strategic spot on the trail."

Take Pride in America vice chairman Scott Ballard and Warner came
up with the idea while brainstorming for an Arbor Day beautification project.
The same group will hand out 8,000 trees, representing 11 varieties,
from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 8 at Walla Walla Point Park.

Warner said Take Pride has applied for a $1,600 grant from the
state Department of Natural Resources to help pay for the estimated $3,000 project.
But even if the grant is denied, Take Pride has enough funds to complete it.
DOT already has approved use of the land. The site was chosen by Roger Boyer,
county parks director, and Jim Barker, administrator of county transportation
and land services.

"The project is a go," said Warner, who voted for the Eastside trail's
construction while serving as a Douglas County commissioner from 1989-93.

Most of the work will be done in April.
A group of Eastmont Junior High School students will help.
The area has been cleared of weeds.

"We look this as a project that will encourage others
to develop other rest areas," he said. "Other groups in town could do
something like this. It's not so expensive that it puts it out of range."

Rocky Reach trail is on the way:
State releases grant, but $75,000 more must still be raised locally

East Wenatchee,Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
With a misunderstanding over state funding resolved,
the Complete the Loop Coalition plans to proceed with
final fund-raising and getting permits for the Rocky
Reach Trailway extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

The coalition hopes construction of the 4.7-mile,
$1.3 million extension can begin this fall.

Coalition members were concerned they might not receive either
of two state grants earmarked for the project. But now they have
been assured they can get the smaller one ($150,000), even though
restrictions still block a $225,000 grant.

Coalition co-founder Bob Parlette says the coalition will take the
$150,000 and make up the $75,000 difference by adding the amount to
$100,000 it already was planning to raise in its final fund-raising drive.

At a March 4 fund-raising rally, Parlette told trail supporters that
a large cloud loomed over the project -- the fact that House Speaker
Clyde Ballard, R-East Wenatchee, inserted language into the 1996 state
budget requiring agreement between the coalition and affected property
owners before the state Interagency Committee could release the $225,000
grant. The affected property owners are neighboring orchardists, some of
whom oppose the project.

On March 5, Ballard's office got the first of some 30 phone calls
and letters lobbying for the trail and urging him to remove the
restriction before the legislative session ended last week.

Ballard said he was surprised. He said the other $150,000
grant was unrestricted and that Parlette told him in December
that it would be enough.

"When I left that meeting, there was no question in my mind that
there was adequate funding available and that the project would
be going forward this year," Ballard said. "To say I had my foot
on it and if I didn't remove it the project would be dead just
isn't factual." In a Feb. 10 letter to Ballard, Parlette said he
could live with the $150,000, but that the Interagency Committee
director indicated she would be very circumspect in authorizing
even that grant without Ballard's approval.

"Neither the IAC nor State Parks want to get crosswise with you on this issue,"
Parlette wrote.

Ballard said the director, Laura Eckert Johnson,
never told him she needed his approval to use the $150,000.

"It's kind of strange that no one from either one of these agencies
have called me up and asked if I wanted this project killed,"
Ballard said. "The IAC prioritizes projects.
It would be inappropriate for me to call up and say what projects I want."

Ballard responded to Parlette by letter and enclosed a memo from Johnson
stating she had withheld action on both grants while encouraging the
parties to resolve issues locally. However, she said she could proceed
with the $150,000 and that the main delay with it was verification that
the trail is on public land.

"To the extent Speaker Ballard assisted in getting this IAC interpretation,
we very much appreciate his efforts," Parlette said.

He said the coalition will proceed with the permit process this spring
to get trail construction started this fall. He said he looks forward
to working with orchardists in the permit process to get spray drift
liability issues resolved. He said a 50-foot buffer is planned between
the trail and orchards, and that trees for windbreaks might be planted.

Ballard said he uses the loop trail and supports construction of the
4.7-mile extension. He said he put the restriction on the $225,000
grant because he's concerned about the liability to orchardists if
a trail-user gets sprayed with pesticide or hit with a chunk of wood
from a pruning chipper.

He said he remains concerned because timing is often critical
for crop spraying and that lawsuits could jeopardize orchard operations.

Trail backers still need funds; ask state to remove strings on grants:
Extension would go from Olds Station Bridge to Lincoln Rock State Park

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
The Complete the Loop Coalition launched a big push Wednesday
night to build the Rocky Reach Trailway, urging people to give
a final $100,000 toward its construction and asking them to ask
House Speaker Clyde Ballard to take some strings off a state grant.

Without the grant, funding for the $1.3 million project could unravel,
and the trailway, a 4.7-mile extension of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail,
wouldn't be built, said Bob Parlette, Wenatchee attorney and coalition co-founder.

The extension would be along the Douglas County side of the
Columbia River between the Odabashian Bridge and Lincoln Rock State Park.

Parlette, his coalition founding partner Gordon Congdon
and other trail backers spoke at a trailway rally attended
by about 75 supporters at the Douglas County PUD Auditorium Wednesday night.

"We are asking for $100,000, but we have a big cloud on it," Parlette said.
"Language was put in the last $225,000 IAC (state Interagency Committee)
grant that it can't be spent until agreement is reached with the affected property owners."

He said Ballard inserted the language into the 1996 state budget
at the request of orchardists who oppose the project even though
Ballard supported the original east side trail completion of the loop.

"In my heart, I think Clyde is very supportive of our project,
but he's told me to my face that he won't pull that language
and I don't know why," Parlette said. "If the trail doesn't get built,
the grants will go back and we'd lose the trail. What a tragedy."

Parlette said the coalition could try to raise the $225,000 in addition
to the $100,000, but that it would be a tough sell when the arts center
is seeking $1 million and Wenatchee Valley College and other groups have
big fund-raisers planned.

"What I'm saying is we have to fight for this trail," he said.
"Let the legislators and (Douglas) county commissioners know how we feel."

Ballard has called the trail a major intrusion on orchardists and
has said he's concerned about them getting sued.
But Parlette said the coalition has done everything it can including
moving the trail route to the west away from most orchards to decrease
potential incompatibility.

He noted the Legislature only meets for another week and a half,
but that if enough people call, the language might come out.
He said the project has had support from virtually everyone
in the valley dating back several years and that the purpose
of the meeting was to remind legislators, of which his wife,
Linda Evans Parlette, is one, that it's a popular project.

The meeting included testimonials about the value of the existing
loop trail from half a dozen people and a slide show from
Steve Wright, a landscape architect who designed the extension.

A breakthrough in planning came last summer when it was determined
that the trail route is entirely on Chelan County PUD and state Department
of Transportation land, Parlette said. The PUD has said it will lease right
of way for the trail, and the DOT has indicated support if the coalition
gets all the permits it needs.

Wright said the coalition plans to begin the county permit
process soon and needs public support to apply to the Douglas County
Planning Commission for a recreational overlay zone for the area on
top of the agricultural zoning provided by the county's comprehensive land use plan.
Parlette said he hopes construction of at least part of the extension can begin this fall.

Construction to begin on special plaza for Apple Capital Recreation Trail

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By MICHAEL McCLUSKEY Wenatchee World
Three years after the east side of the Apple Capital Recreation Trail opened,
a formal recognition plaza is about to be built.

It will be adjacent to the 19th Street trail head,
between the parking lot and the trail. It will include a 75-foot
circular pedestrian plaza of concrete and bricks, with a bench seat around it,
a water fountain at the center and 12 trees planted inside the bench perimeter,
said Jennifer Olsen, a longtime trail supporter whose company,
Silverline Projects, Inc., will build the plaza.

Construction may begin this week, and it is estimated to cost $110,000,
much of it left from original donations.

"The design is more expansive than the initial concept
(of just a list of supporters)," said Olsen.

The Complete the Loop Coalition raised $300,000 for the trail,
which opened in 1994. The rest of the $1 million project cost
came from grants received by Douglas County.
Retired East Wenatchee physician Gordon Congdon donated $100,000
toward the trail, which was officially dedicated in the name of his father,
Russell T. Congdon. His nephew, Richard Congdon,
did most of the design work for the recognition plaza, Olsen said.

Behind the bench will be a 35-foot long, 5-foot tall granite wall.
Names of contributors will be carved into the granite,
Olsen said. Some bricks will also bear names of contributors.

Olsen said there's still time for people to make contributions to the
Complete the Loop Coalition and get their names added to the plaza.
Those funds will be used for general trail improvements and the coalition's
latest project, a trail extension north to Lincoln Rock State Park.

Across the path from the recognition plaza will be a drinking fountain,
a bicycle rack and trash cans.

Olsen expects construction to take three months.
She said there may be temporary closures of the
spur trail during installation of utilities.

Loop Trail needs repairs

Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT Wenatchee World
It probably will be late fall before repairs are finished along the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail after June's Columbia River flooding.

Costs are likely to total about $50,000,
but officials say damage could have been
a lot worse given the volume of water and
the month-long flooding.

"We had a lot of water and minimal damage," said Jim Pope,
Chelan County PUD parks director.

"We were very lucky on the high water on the trail as a whole,"
said Jim Barker, Douglas County administrator of transportation
and land services. "There wasn't nearly the undermining we thought we would have."

Douglas County spent about $2,000 on labor and gravel to rebuild trail shoulders,
but there were no holes to fill or asphalt to replace on the trail on either side of the river.

State Parks and local agencies are still fixing lawn and
wood duck nesting boxes in Wenatchee Confluence State Park,
nature interpretive sites along the Eastside portion of the trail,
the loop trail bridge over the Wenatchee River and the gravel bar
protecting the swimming lagoon at Walla Walla Point Park.

The big item on the Eastside is the northernmost of four nature
interpretive sites along the trail. Only one of its three platforms remain,
and the site will have to be rebuilt. Barker said it probably will be
relocated to ground safer from future floods at a cost of about $8,000.

At another interpretive site, a platform floated off its pilings and
settled at an angle. It has to be leveled and secured.
Barker said repairs to that one probably will be made this fall.
Two other interpretive sites farther south were not damaged but
had to be cleaned up.

The big items on the Wenatchee side are an estimated $25,000 worth
of gravel needed to fix erosion on the gravel bar protecting the swimming
lagoon at Walla Walla Point Park and about $10,000 worth of work to the
trail bridge over the Wenatchee River.

It looks like about 200 cubic yards of gravel and soil were washed away,
said Bill Christman, senior civil engineer of Chelan County PUD.

Christman said the swollen Columbia backed up the Wenatchee River,
saturating fill dirt underneath the approach at the north end of
the Wenatchee River trail bridge. Concrete decking cracked and
settled around an abutment pier, leaving the pier protruding.

The spot was covered with metal plating in early July so the bridge
could be reopened. But for permanent repair, the pier will have to
be shaved down and new decking poured, Christman said.
The work will take about three days and will be done in late
September or early October.

The flooding destroyed about one-fourth of the wood duck nests from
the gravel bar north of Odabashian Bridge to the Pipeline Bridge,
said Paul Fielder, PUD wildlife biologist. The PUD has placed 52
wood duck nesting boxes in that area in the last 15 years.
He said ground nesting birds, mice and muskrats were also lost.

"It was a real natural disaster for that area
(the wildlife portion of Wenatchee Confluence State Park)," he said.
"It set it back about a year."

Christman said a combination of plantings,
sloped bank and geotech fabric worked well to
prevent major bank erosion in the wildlife area.

Dave Jaquish said warm, stagnant water that sat in the center of
Confluence State Park for about a month killed 12 to 14 acres of
turf in the group camping area and soccer field.
It will be overseeded this fall. Some trees killed by water may be replaced.
About $2,000 was spent in July drying out motors of sewer pumps at the park.

In the spring and early summer, Wenatchee experienced its highest
river flows in 25 years. Today, the river remains about 60,000
cubic feet per second above normal because of a Lake Roosevelt
spill to help fish migration below McNary Dam.

Waterworks Cafe opens on riverfront

Wenatchee, Washington -- By STEPHEN MAHER, Wenatchee World
It's been a long time coming,
but Wenatchee now has its first riverfront restaurant.

The Waterworks Cafe,
located on the ground floor of Riverfront Center at 1 Fifth St., opened this week.

The cafe features Italian sandwiches, seasonal salads and soups,
espresso coffee drinks, homemade granola and mixed-fruit drinks.

The cafe will be open from early morning until early evening.
During the summer months, the business plans to buy fresh
produce from the Farmers' Market in Riverfront Park for its
soups and salads.

The business is waiting on a liquor license to sell beer and wine.

There are some outside seats on a patio next to the Columbia River
and the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail.

Owners (and mother-daughter) Shannon Cline and Kelly Ahern are
leasing the 700-square-foot space from McQuaig and Associates.
The cafe is named after the old Water Works building that was
torn down last year to make way for the new office building.

Ahern also owns J.B. Steamers, an espresso business in East Wenatchee.
Cline is a Wenatchee certified kitchen designer.

Cline said the Waterworks Cafe's interior will have a coffeehouse feel to it,
with secondhand furniture, antiques and oriental rugs.

"The whole design is not about maximizing people; it's not about volume,"
she said. "It's about doing what's best for people."

Cline anticipates most sales coming from people using the parks
and trail and from those who work in Riverfront Center.
There will be a bike rack outside and a place for people to tie up their dogs.

"I don't think of it so much as the first on the river as I do as the
first place you can walk out and not have cars whizzing by you," she said.
"Here we're right on the trail, and this is a very popular part of the park.
That's significant."

It's the first time the two have had a stake in the same business.
Cline believes she and her daughter will complement each other.

Ahern, she said, works well with people and is good at hiring,
training and inspiring employees. Cline said she brings design
talents to the cafe and its menu.

"I think you nourish people through food and a smile.
So it's more about having fun with my daughter and expressing that," Cline said.

Pedestrian bridge to be closed for construction

Wenatchee, Washington --
A natural gas construction project will effectively shut down
the old Columbia River Pipeline Bridge to bicyclists,
walkers and joggers all next week.

Cascade Natural Gas will be laying lines Monday through Friday
from where the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail comes off the
Pipeline Bridge to Chehalis Street, closing the trail to all traffic in that area.

The only alternative routes for bikers and pedestrians will be
over the Odabashian Bridge trail section to the north or the
Columbia River Bridge to the south.

However, the south-end bridge is having a new deck
installed and only one sidewalk is open.

Since early July, when the bridge work began and
traffic has been stacked up, there has been a marked i
ncrease in the number of people using the trail to commute
to work back and forth across the river.

Chic Worthing, city transportation and construction manager,
said Snelson Companies Inc., the contractor for Cascade Natural
Gas, will be using heavy equipment on the west end of the pipeline bridge,
and there isn't enough room for trail users to squeeze by.

Worthing said Snelson Companies attempted to negotiate an easement
with adjacent property owner Jack Hale so the company would have more room,
but the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.

"There's a possibility it won't be all week," Worthing said.

"But they don't know what material they're going to run into
(when the contractor starts digging)."

Another -- less safe -- alternative for bikers is to use existing
traffic lanes over the Columbia River Bridge, Worthing said.

With traffic through the bridge's work zone traveling at a reduced speed,
bikers may fit in, he said.

Riverfront trail now open on Douglas County side

East Wenatchee,Washington --
The Douglas County portion of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail
is now clear of water and debris and was reopened Tuesday.

Several portions of the trail that loops through Chelan and Douglas counties
had been closed after the Columbia River rose from heavy spring runoff and
covered the paved path.

Crews have removed all the mud and debris from the Douglas County portion
of the trail, said Joel Bender, maintenance supervisor for the Douglas
County Parks and Recreation Department. The sides of the trail were also
repaired in places where they were washed away.

"There are no hazards now," he said. "It is totally safe and ready to be used."

However, four observation areas along the trail remain closed
because of high water and water damage. Bender said the ground
is still too wet to bring in equipment needed to repair the viewing decks.

Rotary clubs envision Eastside riverfront park

East Wenatchee, Washington -- By MICHAEL McCLUSKEY, Wenatchee World
Take the area near the foot of Ninth Street at the east end of the
Pipeline Bridge and let your mind wander. Imagine grassy areas to lounge on.
Picnic tables and water fountains. An attractive brick-lined entrance.
A kiosk to honor civic leaders.

Only after four Wenatchee-area Rotary Clubs unveiled their plans did
East Wenatchee Mayor Dawn Collings realize how jumbled the area looks
now and how nice it could look.

"I drive down that way almost every day and see the view," Collings said.
"It didn't really hit me what it looked like until I saw the (Rotary Club's) photo,
showing all the signs and lights. I thought wow. Then when they talked about
how it could look, I thought that was great."

The four Rotary clubs are turning their vision into action. By late fall,
the East Wenatchee, Wenatchee North, Sunrise and Wenatchee Downtown Rotary clubs
hope to open Columbia Junction Memorial Park.

"This is a real positive development for the entire valley," said Bob Welsh,
president of the East Wenatchee Rotary Club.
"We look at this as linking two cities together."

The park site is a crossroads on a narrow shelf between the state highway
and the Columbia River. The Pipeline (pedestrian) Bridge is a foot and
bicycle link between East Wenatchee and Wenatchee. Sunset Highway and Ninth Street,
bordering the park to the east, are heavily used roads.
The Apple Capital Recreation Loop trail and the East Wenatchee River Walk trail
meet at the foot of the bridge.

The area has mostly been left to nature.
A few trees dot the landscape, but dirt and small bushes dominate.
It's been used more by transients and groundhogs than families.

The park would spruce up the area while leaving it mostly natural.
It would be a place for picnickers, walkers who want to enjoy the view,
and trail users who need a resting place.
It also would create an attractive entrance to East Wenatchee.

Welsh hopes the park could become a hub for downtown revitalization.
It also would be the city's first real park.
The only other city park is the Grant Road Viewpoint located next to TOP Foods.

Welsh said the project will cost about $70,000.
The four Rotary clubs are trying to raise $20,000.
He said Gordon Congdon Sr. has committed $20,000,
the group will ask the city for $20,000 and the remaining $10,000
will be sought from the public in a fund-raising campaign.

Welsh said the project came together in pieces. First,
the East Wenatchee club proposed a picnic area near the bridge.
Then Gene Sharratt suggested building a kiosk to recognize people
who contributed to a campaign to light the footbridge.
The third element came from Congdon, who wanted to create a memorial
to his deceased wife, Judy. The Congdons often stopped in a shaded
area along the trail just north of the bridge, where a small stream
flows under a bridge, Welsh said. That spot would be called Judy's Oasis.

Designer Jennifer Olsen of Silverline Projects drafted the park plan.
Her concept emphasizes the natural areas, adding new plants and a plaza
near the foot of the bridge. People driving down Ninth Street or along
Sunset Highway would see a raised, brick-lined platform topped with
flowers and a waterfall. A kiosk listing the bridge lighting contributors
and a history of the bridge would be built nearby.
Welsh said the area may include a recognition of Betsy Tontini and Margie Kerr,
organizers of many community projects.

Small grassy areas would be added both north and south of the bridge.
Viewpoints, rock gardens, picnic tables and rock benches would snake
along the curving trail.

"It's more reclaiming the area than changing it," Welsh said.

Later, the city could improve the northeast corner of
Ninth Street and Sunset Highway by adding grass, a spur trail
and parking, Welsh said. Another idea is a fishing pier and
dock at the old pump house just north of the bridge.

Where there's a wheel there's a way on the loop:
Flooding doesn't deter dedicated cyclists from riding their favorite route

Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
Sure, there's water, water, water, but the ardent ones are still biking the loop.
With a wet whoosh they fly through the shallower flooded spots,
sometimes with tennis shoes in arm to keep them dry.
It's slower going in deeper areas and downright foolhardy
to try it in closed areas.

The 10-mile Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail is closed from
the south end of the Wenatchee River pedestrian bridge to Odabashian Bridge
on the Chelan County side and from just north of 19th Street to 15th Street
on the Douglas County side. With huge spring runoff, the Columbia River is
flowing at its highest and swiftest through Wenatchee in 25 years.

Porter's Pond is submerged and the trail, also under water there,
is undermined in places and is dangerous,
said Joel Bender of Douglas County Parks and Recreation.

Yet, people are finding creative ways to get around the closed portions.
Some of the more creative end up pulling goatheads from flattened bike tires,
but most people are sticking to pavement.

Marci Wicheta is one of those ardent ones.
She lives on Skiview Drive north of East Wenatchee and still bikes
the loop two to three times per week.

"We just hit the high land when we have to,"
she said on an outing amid Tuesday's drizzle with her children, William, 7, and Sarah, 5.

"If I can see the end of the water I'll go through it,
but I won't go through anything deep," she said. "
That's careless and dangerous because you don't know
what's in there or what the conditions are."

They normally use the 19th Street trailhead but
it's closed now so she parks at Riverfront Park.

She doesn't take her children all the way around the loop,
but bikes it with friends.

Heading south from Riverfront Park, they go over the Pipeline Bridge
and head north on the trail to the 15th Street trailhead.
There, they go up to Sunset Highway, north to 19th Street,
west on 19th, north on Cascade and back onto the trail at the
River Drive access. After crossing Odabashian Bridge on the pedestrian lane,
they lift their bikes over the concrete barrier to get on Highway 2 and go
on to North Wenatchee Avenue to tie back into the trail at Hawley Street.

"It's a neat experience because it hasn't been like this in years," she said.

Jennene Ring, regional traffic engineer with the state Department of Transportation,
said it's legal to bicycle along shoulders of state highways but that she's very
concerned about people lifting their bikes over the concrete barrier to and from
the pedestrian lane of Odabashian Bridge.

"I would ask people to use extreme caution in riding that stretch,"
Ring said. "I wouldn't recommend it for a family ride."

Aaron Houston, 12, Wenatchee, enjoyed riding through water in a
low spot on the trail Tuesday in Walla Walla Point Park.

"It's pretty fun," he said. "I like doing it.
I like the scenery and the ducks and stuff."

Part of the fun, he admitted, is the challenge of keeping
his old 10-speed going through the water.

Sigmund Larson, Wenatchee, who walks the Wenatchee side of the trail almost daily,
said he walked right through about 8 inches of water over the Linden Tree Bridge
one day last week because he didn't want to walk the long way around.

"I got my feet all wet," he said. "I took off my shoes on the other side
and sat in the sun and dried my socks out.
It took a couple of days for my shoes to dry out."

Larson, 69, remembers signs went up jokingly renaming Worthen Street
"Boat Street" when it was flooded in the big one in '48. And, he noted,
a 1948 high water mark still can be seen on the Thurston Street underpass.
There's a black line on the concrete and the partially rubbed off words, "1948 high water mark."

John Keebler, Wenatchee, took his 3-year-old son, Ian,
and Ian's friend, Christian Baker, 3, on a walk in Walla Walla Point
Park Tuesday with the family dog, Shamrock.
The boys enjoyed playing in the water and weren't fazed when they fell
off a park bench and got totally immersed.

"I'm a regular walker, biker and dog-stick-thrower," Keebler said.
"I haven't done the loop yet this year. I understand it's quite
interesting. I've been biking in town."

Gordon Congdon, instrumental in developing what's become the
Russell T. Congdon Memorial Trail portion of the loop trail
(basically the Eastside), said he and his friends lately have
been starting out from the Four Seasons Inn in East Wenatchee,
crossing over the Pipeline Bridge, biking north to where the
trail is closed at the trail bridge over the Wenatchee River
and retracing their route to Four Seasons.

"It's one hour and 10 minutes out and back and almost as long as the entire loop,"
he said.
He doesn't recommend using streets and highways to detour closed sections.

Get together and build the trail

By TRACY WARNER, Wenatchee World
The Rocky Reach Trailway project has overwhelming community support,
would be a huge asset for transportation, tourism and recreation,
and the money is available to build it now. Yet the project is threatened.

The new trail would connect the existing loop trail with Lincoln Rock State Park,
4.7 miles away. It would parallel the Columbia River, mostly following the right
of way owned by the state Department of Transportation,
purchased for the riverfront highway it never built.

The trail would cost $1.3 million. The money is available now,
through a combination of state and federal grants and local
contributions. Construction could begin this summer.

But significant obstacles remain, mainly the 18 or so families
who own land adjacent to the trail right of way.
None of those families own land where the trail might go,
but many lease it from the DOT and have grown fruit there for years.

Some of these landowners have fought the trail at every turn,
and their concerns have been well voiced.
They worry about running orchards next to a busy recreational facility.
They worry about liability for spray drift, about vandalism and theft.
Some have said they would like the DOT to sell them the property,
which won't happen if there's a trail there.

The latest trail-stopping tactic reached the state capital budget.
Language was inserted that tied up a $225,000 grant for the
project unless "an agreement with affected landowners is reached."

Depending on interpretations, this language could give any landowner
within eyeshot of the trail virtual veto power.
The project can't proceed without an agreement, and the
"affected landowners" may wait until some time in the next
millennium to give the nod, if ever.

There are several factors to remember in this controversy. One,
the fears of orchardists working in close proximity to cyclists,
joggers and Rollerbladers are often legitimate. They have to spray,
they have to move equipment. It's their livelihood, and naturally
they want to protect it.

These fears must be alleviated, to the extent possible, and they can be.
The boosters of the trail project, to their credit,
have made a great effort to do just that.

Second, remember this is not a property rights issue.
The aggrieved landowners do not own the right of way.
The state Department of Transportation does. By state law,
the land can be used for transportation purposes,
and that is the property right.

The trail would be a transportation artery, despite what opponents say.
Anyone who doesn't believe it can stand on the Riverfront Trail and
watch the bicycles go by. It is possible to move without internal combustion.

And last, remember that the trails already built in East Wenatchee and Wenatchee
have been a tremendous success, exceeding all expectations in every way.
They have heavy use, and there is no reason to believe the same won't be
true for the extension to Rocky Reach.

Public support for the trail was proved when 1,700 people signed petitions
supporting it, collected on just two weekends by people talking with
passers-by on other trails.

With this level of enthusiasm, this amount of available cash,
and a right of way, it would be shameful if this project were
scuttled because a handful of nearby landowners could not be appeased.

An agreement must be worked out, soon.

Riverbank roust:
Homeless people lose their shelters as the Chelan County PUD
does its spring cleanup along the Columbia River

Wenatchee, Washington -- By DAN WHEAT, Wenatchee World
It was spring cleanup for the Chelan County PUD along the Wenatchee
riverfront Tuesday. But a few homeless people were left even more
homeless as a result.

Most riverbank dwellers were gone when a PUD crew tore down makeshift
shelters and picked up old mattresses and lots of garbage along the
shoreline of the Columbia River as it makes its way past downtown Wenatchee.

But one fellow was still asleep when the crew arrived
near the west end of the Pipeline Bridge.

"A Mexican kid in his early 20s was sound asleep when we got there,"
said Jerry Dixon, PUD crew foreman. "He spoke little English. I felt sorry for him.
I gave him a garbage sack and told him to take anything he wanted.
He took some things and then helped us clean some of it up.
Then up the trail he went. It must be a rough life."

A 16-year-old Anglo boy was sleeping in a bed roll directly under
the main Columbia River Bridge. He told a police officer accompanying
the PUD crew that he was on his way from Everett to Colorado.

This was the third major cleanup the PUD has done in recent years along the
Apple Capital Recreation Loop trail. Last year, numerous dump truck loads
of junk were hauled away from the east side just north of the main bridge.
More material was cleaned off near TOP Foods.

Tim Larsen, PUD realty agent overseeing the project,
said the PUD's intent is to clean up the riverbank
and enhance the community. He said "no camping" signs
will be posted this year.

The PUD doesn't want squatters getting injured,
doesn't want them accosting people using the trail
and doesn't want garbage floating down the river to Rock Island Dam.
Larson said people using the trail complain to the PUD about transients,
safety and garbage.

The PUD owns and manages the riverbanks as part of the Rock Island Dam reservoir.
The water level rises with spring runoff, sometimes flooding lower campsites.

Tuesday's work was done from the "Wraz," Rock Island Dam's work boat.
It was the easiest way to get to the campsites,
most of which were below Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks.

On the first trip along the shoreline, the crew tore down two or three
campsites and cleaned up garbage just south of Pipeline Bridge.
Duffel bags, shoes and cooking utensils were among the items found.

Dixon said so much was piled on the front of the boat that crew members
had to help the pilot steer. From the boat launch, the garbage was taken
by PUD trucks to Waste Management's South Wenatchee transfer station.
Dixon said PUD dumping fees at the station would exceed $400 for the day.

On its second trip, the boat landed at a campsite on a steep,
rocky bank below the railroad tracks near The Salvation Army
and Far West Services Inc. (steel fabricators). Tarps and metal
framing used to make shelters were removed, along with old
mattresses and garbage. More cleanup followed on the bank under
the Columbia River Bridge. Dixon said the work would be finished Tuesday or Wednesday.

***** Gene`s BMX *****
All Things Northwest in BMX!