Two public hearings for future of John Wayne Pioneer Trail

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The issue of preserving and upgrading the 253-mile-long John Wayne Pioneer Trail must be rising on the radar screen of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

John Wayne Pioneer (E-W) and Columbia Plateau (NE-SW) trails

John Wayne Pioneer (E-W) and Columbia Plateau (NE-SW) trails

After years of neglect, the abandoned railroad corridor in eastern Washington will be the subject of two public hearings in March. Here are the details as released by State Parks:

— 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at the Cheney City Hall Auditorium, 609 2nd Street, Cheney. (Directions)

— 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in Room 137A of the Student Union and Recreation Center at Central Washington University, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg. (Directions)

A press release issued today explains the state parks staff will be looking for ideas from the public for a long-term plan for section of trail east of the Columbia River.

The meetings will open with a presentation by the state, followed by public discussions on noxious weed and vegetation management, opportunities for camping, fencing and trail-use permits.

The meetings are just another stage in the public planning process for the eastern section of the trail. The state parks director convened the advisory committee late last year after the big brou-ha-ha last fall when it was revealed that a state legislator tried to sneak in a measure that would turn over must of the eastern John Wayne Pioneer Trail to private landowners.

The Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association, based in far eastern Washington, has taken on the lion’s share of the work to ensure the land giveaway won’t happen again, and the eastern half of the trail will be upgraded to match the western 110-mile section from Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend to the Columbia River.

You can learn more about the long-term planning process at John Wayne Pioneer Trail planning.

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