Bob Bugert thanking the multitudes who made access to and trails around Castle Rock possible.

by WenOut Staff
Celebrating Castle Rock

Despite the rain clouds trying to dampen the mood, the atmosphere was celebratory as 56 people congregated in late afternoon on Wednesday  (May 13) to officially dedicate the new Castle Rock trailhead and trail.

Bob Bugert, the Executive Director of the CDLT, kicked off the ceremony by thanking those involved in the effort. To scratch this particular path into the dirt of this green hillside was a long time coming. Access to Castle Rock had been shut down for a decade and getting a legal trail built here involved nearly as many people as feet of trail. First foremost there was Frank Peryea and Betsy Beers to thank, the owners of Castle Rock who, with community-minded spirit, were willing to let the public use some of the trails on their property if legal access to those trails could be secured. Eventually the Land Trust was able to use grants and gifts to acquire 35.7 acres at the top of Castlerock Avenue (valued at $540,000) and this afforded the connection needed to access the Peryea/Beers property.

With access secured, the board and staff of the Land Trust, city employees and city council members, Alcoa employees, trailhead designers with Project Groundworks, trail designers with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, 100-plus trail-bulding volunteers, nearby neighbors, Boy Scout volunteers, and more all partnered to build the trailhead and trail – efforts costing around $270,000 and using hundreds of volunteer hours. Next the property held by the Land Trust was partially donated to and partially purchased by the City of Wenatchee as a city natural area (the city holds the deed to the property but the Land Trust has legal authority to protect the property’s natural resources and ensure public access).

Whew! What a lot of rigmarole for the 1.2-mile trail leading to the top of Castle Rock and for the 0.8 mile of additional spur trails allowing for a few short loops around these properties. And yet when you walk to the top of Castle Rock, you realize how worthwhile all these efforts have been. The pick-me-up from the long views out over the city, the personal stress release derived from hiking the area after a stressful day, the community benefit of keeping sprawl from consuming our nearby open spaces…. these are all assets that we will all value year after year. Furthermore, now that access and trailhead infrastructure are in place, additional miles of trail will be built in the years ahead. In a few years, hikers will be able to walk to the top of Chopper, the much bigger hill (also on Peryea/Beers property) directly behind Castle Rock.

Following the formal presentation, the plan was for anyone wanting to hike the trails to join a guided opportunity. But the weather was snarky. “As much as we’d like get you all up there, the trails are very muddy and we’ll damage them if we hike them now,” Bugert apologized. “As a conservation organization, we need to set the example we want followed.”

It was a quick way to educate many people that, regardless of the time of year, heavy rains can leave the trail surface too soft for responsible use. The rule of thumb: If you’re shoes are skidding on the surface or leaving tracks more than ¼-inch deep, you should stay off.

Following Bugert’s presentation, Mayor Frank Kuntz quickly took the stage and mentioned how this project was one of many completed by the Land Trust that was making Wenatchee such a desirable place to live.

The view point from the trailhead took in the city below and the green undeveloped hills above. “Even on a rainy day look at how amazing this place is. Projects like this involving private/public partnerships are making the community so much better. Here’s to 25 years of such partnerships.”

Hiking Castle Rock – What You Should Know

Hiking up Castle Rock starts on city property. After 0.8 miles, the trail crosses onto private property. Signage along the way marks this crossing.
Mountain bikes and horses are not allowed on any of these trails.

Dogs (on leash) are allowed on city property but not on the private property containing Castle Rock proper. Signage marks the boundary between city and private property and people with dogs need to turn around here.

If you encounter people with dogs beyond the boundary, politely inform them this is against the landowner’s wishes and jeopardizes everyone’s access to Castle Rock.

If you regularly use the trails in the foothills (Saddle Rock, Castle Rock, Sage Hills, or Horse Lake Reserve),

join the Land Trust (family memberships cost $35/year). Most of the protected lands in the Wenatchee foothills would not have been preserved without the Land Trust.

The original message was posted on 05/14/2015.

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