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This $300,000 gift will boost Tri-Cities hiking trails

The Benton Franklin Chapter of PFLAG is organizing a Badger Mountain climb on April 22 to raise awareness for suicide prevention and anti-bullying.
The Benton Franklin Chapter of PFLAG is organizing a Badger Mountain climb on April 22 to raise awareness for suicide prevention and anti-bullying. Tri-City Herald

The Tri-Cities’ network of ridgeline trails will soon climb Little Badger Mountain, thanks to a recent donation to Friends of Badger Mountain.

Scott Sax, president of Washington Closure Hanford, presented a check for $300,761 to the nonprofit at its recent annual meeting.

The contribution honors employees of the former Hanford contractor for their significant achievements to clean up the nuclear reservation along the Columbia River over 11 years.

Friends of Badger will use the donation to acquire three parcels on the top of Little Badge for its proposed system of trails from neighboring Badger Mountain.

Friends of Badger Mountain has worked with the city of Richland and landowners to design the route. It is in the process of raising money to buy the needed land.

The trail will start at Sagebrush Trail, near the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve, and will meander near the edge of the ridge line between two new housing developments.

The project includes buying three lots in Westcliffe Heights, a hilltop subdivision now under construction.

Little Badger
The summit of Little Badger Mountain in south Richland boasts spectacular views, but plans for a 203-home subdivision are raising questions from residents who fear it will turn a sharp, winding residential street into a busy corridor. The Richland City Council will discuss the Westcliffe Heights project when it meets Tuesday. Tri-City Herald Wendy Culverwell

The new Little Badger trail is expected to open in fall 2020.

Badger Mountain is one of a series of basalt ridges in south central Washington’s shrub-steppe habit, where hikers can spot rabbits, snakes, lizards, coyotes, Western meadowlarks, chukars and a variety of wildflowers in the spring.

Nathan Robertson was returning from a business appointment when he caught a look at sun shining on snow drifting down Badger Mountain. The West Richland businessman knew what he had to do next.

About 200,000 people each year hike the Badger Mountain trail, which opened in 2005.

On top of Badger and neighboring Candy Mountain, hikers can see on a clear day Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, the Blue Mountains and the Columbia, Yakima and Snake river valleys.

Paul Krupin is an avid local outdoor enthusiast and a member of the Intermountain Alpine Club (IMAC). He can be reached at pjkrupin@gmail.com.
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