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New flat Badger Mountain trail will be finished this weekend

Phil Pinard said he is pretty sure a new one-mile loop trail at Trailhead Park will be welcomed by Tri-Citians once it is finished this weekend.

"Judging by the number of footprints, once we get signs up, it will get some use," said Pinard, Richland's interim parks and recreation director.

Thirty to 50 members of the Tri-Cities' six Rotary clubs will make the finishing touches Saturday morning to the trail, which has been under construction since late last year at the base of Badger Mountain.

City officials and park advocates said the trail will provide a good alternative for people wanting to spend time in the park who don't want to or aren't able to hike Badger Mountain. And building the trail has given others the opportunity to give something back to the area.

"We just want to do service in the community," said Lorraine Cooper, with the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary.

The trail will have a gravel surface and be completely level, remaining in the flat portion of the 40-acre park, Pinard said. The surrounding terrain includes sagebrush and grasses, and there are wildflowers in the spring.

Sharon Grant, a co-founder and board member of Friends of Badger Mountain, said the park and Badger Mountain already receive a lot of visitors. More than 160,000 reportedly hiked in the area last year, and Grant said she expects that to grow this year.

However, the steep mountain climb up almost 1,600 feet couldn't be enjoyed by all, and Grant started talking to Richland about developing an easier hiking path.

"I would have people who would come up to me and say, 'I would love to hike Badger, but I can't do that anymore,' " she said.

Pinard said the new trail incorporates part of an old road that existed in the park. Boy Scouts from the Blue Mountain Council, including four Eagle Scouts who used the work as part of their final projects, started working on the trail months ago by digging out the trail, removing protruding roots and preparing it for a layer of gravel.

Rotarians will finish up the path by clearing any remaining debris and spreading gravel under supervision from members of Friends of Badger Mountain.

Cooper said the project made sense to Rotarians. She said the clubs often are thought of for their financial contributions to their communities but they are committed to service, and that includes physical work.

"This is just what Rotary does," she said.

Grant added that while Rotarians are helping to finish off the project, it has been a team effort from the start.

-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com

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