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Old Trail, New Name: Meet the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

Posted by Christina Hickman at Jun 05, 2018 03:41 PM |

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to change the name of the 285-mile Iron Horse State Park Trail, and the section of it known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail to the Palouse to Cascades Trail.

Never again will hikers traverse the Iron Horse State Park Trail, or the portion of it formerly known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announced on May 23 that they voted unanimously to change the name of the 285-mile trail to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail.

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Palouse to Cascades is the new name for the Iron Horse State Park/John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which runs 285 miles across the state. Photo by jaltice.

“I am extremely pleased with the name change,” said Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Ken Bounds. “Palouse to Cascades is unique to Washington State. There is no evidence that John Wayne was associated with the trail, and there are several other Iron Horse trails throughout the country. The new name connects eastern and western Washington and honors two beautiful regions of our state.”

The agency hopes the new name will promote tourism for small towns and communities along the trail.

The agency also hopes aims to make the name consistent with the department’s policies for naming trails, which gives preference to geographic locations, culturally significant events and places, or geologic features, or botanical or biological references. The new name is a geographic description of trail, which stretches from North Bend in the Cascades east to the town of Tekoa in the Palouse region on the Washington-Idaho border.

Other naming options included Cascalouse State Park Trail; Columbian State Park Trail; Cross-Washington State Park Trail; Iron Horse State Park Trail (no change); Milwaukee Road State Park Trail; Trail of the Olympian State Park Trail; and John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

The new change also addresses issues with the name of the John Wayne portion of the trail. While naming conventions often honor those from our past, the screen-actor's history of offensive remarks does not reflect the future of our public lands.

State parks reported that they heard from more than 500 hikers about the name change.

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