Little Badger Mountain could be key to skyline —

Little Badger Mountain could be key to skyline

Tri City Herald, Editorial, May 13, 2008

Let's all get high -- again.

The Friends of Badger Mountain successfully preserved that ridge from development the old-fashioned way, by buying it from a willing seller.

It's five years later, and the group and its supporters are going after Little Badger Mountain. We hope they use the same tactic.
With Badger Mountain, the relationship between willing buyer and seller was clear cut. With Little Badger, who knows?

The major property owner, Milo Bauder, hasn't had too much to say about it so far. Maybe that's because the grassroots group of preservationists doesn't have the money in hand. Maybe it's for some other reason.

We like the idea of preserving our ridgelines. We prefer to look up from just about anywhere in the Tri-Cities and see our "mountains" instead of buildings.

An estimated 2,500 people hike Badger Mountain in a typical week to enjoy the view and the workout. Most of the Herald's editorial board has made the trek.

When the Friends saved Badger Mountain, they did a nice thing for the community, and it was more than just preserving the mountaintop. They've also improved the trails, making the ridge accessible to much of the community.

The Canyon Trail starts off Keene Road near Bethel Church and is a 1.1-mile trail for hikers only. The 2.2-mile Skyline Trail, open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, starts from Dallas Road.

If the group's long-term plans come to fruition, there will be a contiguous ridge trail from Red Mountain, over Candy and Badger mountains, to Little Badger. These high trails would connect to lower trails along the river through Amon Basin.

If the effort is successful, the Tri-Cities would enjoy a unique natural asset, providing a welcome addition to our quality of life.

The hitch, of course, is money. And it will take a lot of it.

If the Friends come up with $1 million by the end of June, the group can apply for a matching $1 million State Recreation and Conservation Office grant.

The Friends of Badger Mountain already have drummed up some community support from local businesses and a few generous individuals, but Sharon Grant, president of Friends, doesn't discount the smaller donors. Hundreds of individuals donated in the push to buy Badger Mountain.

Grant points out that if 10,000 families donated $100 each, they would have their first million.
There still are a lot of "ifs" in the deal.

If the Friends of Badger Mountain can raise the $1 million by the end of June. If the group is awarded the matching grant from the state. If the sellers and buyers can come to a mutual agreement.

But it seems doable. We would like to see this project succeed, "if" it can.

Editorials are the consensus of the Tri-City Herald editorial board.

Editorial board members are Rufus Friday, publisher; Chris Sivula, editorial page editor; Ken Robertson, executive editor; Matt Taylor, contributing editor; Lori Lancaster, editorial writer; Shelly Norman, editorial writer and Jack Briggs, retired publisher

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