It’s time to hear from the community about Saddle Rock trails

Saddle Rock, our well-known and well-loved icon along the western skyline of Wenatchee, has been important for generations of Indigenous Peoples. Saddle Rock and the lands surrounding it have been a destination for quick access to open space and recreation opportunities for over 100 years. There is a unique sense of ownership of the area by many in our local communities. Many current visitors were introduced to the area through a field education program hosted by the Wenatchee School District for every 5th grade student, which has been going on for over 15 years.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is excited to announce an effort to gather input from past, present, and future visitors to Saddle Rock through a survey, open March 24 – May 15. There will be a drawing for several $100 gift cards to local businesses for respondents to the survey. This survey and other opportunities for people to provide input on trails and recreation at Saddle Rock will help guide land managers to develop and implement a trails plan for the area.

Survey in English:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VFMFNLR

Survey in Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QKNC59V

With the help of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and many generous donors, the City of Wenatchee purchased Saddle Rock and the surrounding 325 acres in 2011, creating—at long last—a public park, known as Saddle Rock Natural Area. In 2021, the City received state funding to acquire additional adjacent property that will expand and greatly enhance both the recreation and conservation values of the Natural Area.

In 2017, the city built a large new trailhead with full amenities to access Saddle Rock Natural Area, and the adjacent, privately-owned Dry Gulch Preserve that has a more limited scope of public access to the south.

The State Department of Ecology required the City to remove waste rock related to mid-20th century mining exploration on parts of the property. The extensive remediation process began in 2019 and will be completed during the period of August – November 2022, during which time the park will be closed to public access. Once this work is complete, soil-disturbing work related to improving and maintaining a trail system at Saddle Rock can take place.

The upcoming completion of the remediation work and expansion of the Saddle Rock Natural Area provide a unique opportunity to prepare for significant trail improvements. The Land Trust has secured funding for this work, but it is imperative that this is truly a community-supported trail system. The land managers are sensitive to the importance of Saddle Rock to our local communities. Now is the time to hear from the public. The Land Trust seeks public input in determining how the trail system at Saddle Rock can help provide the experiences people seek while visiting this local icon.

In addition to the survey, there will be other opportunities to provide input: you may encounter volunteers collecting information from visitors at Saddle Rock Natural Area and you can visit www.cdlandtrust.org/saddle-rock for more information about upcoming community events related to this project.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is a local non-profit working to conserve our land, our water, and our way of life. The Land Trust has a 36-year record of working collaboratively with property owners and communities to identify and protect the region’s most important natural landscapes forever. For more information: www.cdlandtrust.org

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