Now that the issue of recreational use of the Hanford Site is in the public sphere, it is time to remedy the injustice of no convenient public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain.
Estimating from a topographical map, there are more than 750 acres above the 3,300-foot level. Surely the various interest groups and agencies can spare less than 5 acres (0.7 percent) for an overlook and small parking lot.
I envision signage and a few tables surrounded by a double chain link fence to catch any blowing litter. Automobile access would be by a double-fenced gravel road from the southwest side (a gravel road sufficed for Pike's Peak to 14,000 feet for decades). There are already public roads that reach within two miles of the summit. A toll per vehicle could be charged to cover construction and maintenance costs.
I believe that such an overlook would be a huge tourist draw, as well as a great amenity for Tri-Citians. Surveillance and tolling would be done by automated video equipment to minimize costs. I have lived in the Tri-Cities for years, and I have never been to the summit of Rattlesnake, but I hear wondrous things about it.
GARY SPANNER, Richland