Lyle Community Trails Plan Moves Forward
A draft plan for a system of non-motorized trails adjacent to the town of Lyle will be presented at a public meeting from 6-8 pm on May 7th. WTA looks forward to engaging volunteers in helping to build and maintain this new trail system, but we need your support to help make it the best trail plan it can be.
A draft plan for a system of non-motorized trails adjacent to the town of Lyle will be presented at a public meeting from 6-8 pm on May 7th.
At this stage the plan is conceptual. Key elements, such as areas for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding will be laid out, but members of the planning committee are seeking input from the community before working out the details of specific trail alignments.
Dan Miller, a community planner with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program is coordinating the project and providing technical assistance through a grant obtained by Friends of the Columbia River Gorge.
Gorge Towns to Trails Campaign
The effort to engage the local community in a trails planning process is part of the Gorge Towns to Trails campaign spearheaded by the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. If successful, hikers may look forward to new trails that could link to the popular Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail creating multiple loop opportunities on adjacent DNR lands. Other anticipated features include a link to the town itself, an opportunity for an ADA section and interpretive elements highlighting the Ice Age Floods and early 1900s effort by Sam Hill to build a Columbia River Highway on the Washington side.
Last year Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched the campaign to develop new hiking opportunities on both sides of the river. The first year focused on building community support for the concept of a system of trails linking Gorge communities to scenic vistas, waterfalls and other points of interest. In addition, the system could ultimately form a Gorge-wide loop trail that would encircle the region –- an idea originally championed by the Chinook Trail Association.
Small but vocal opposition threatens best trailhead location
Unfortunately, a small but very vocal group of individuals has come out in opposition to any new trail development in the area, citing concerns over property rights issues. Their protests played out in the local papers and at previous meetings, and are likely a factor in the School Board's decision to reverse their initial support for the trails plan.
However, since the trails envisioned in the plan would be built on DNR lands and Land Trust land owned by the Friends of the Gorge, the project can proceed without their support. But the school property that is adjacent to the Friends of the Gorge property is in an ideal location to provide ample weekend trailhead parking. Furthermore, the steep, rocky terrain limits options for building an ADA segment of trail that could be connected to town and the best location for such a trailhead appears to be the school property.
Attend the public meeting May 7th
Come show your support for this trail project by attending the upcoming meeting in Lyle on Wednesday May 7th. WTA's Southwest Regional Manager Ryan Ojerio has been working with the committee and will be there. WTA looks forward to engaging volunteers in helping to build and maintain this new trail system, but we need your support to help make it the best trail plan it can be.
Lyle Trails Plan Public Meeting
Wednesday, May 7
6:00 -8:00 PM
Lyle Activity Center
3rd and Klickitat Streets