October 14, 2016
by Ted Blazak
The Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association is excited, thrilled and in every possible way applauds the recent announcements by the WA Parks Commission and the Recreation and Conservation Office(RCO) to make funds available of approximately six million dollars to restore the John Wayne Trail !!!
Further, WA Parks has directly informed the legislators responsible for attempting to covertly close the trail in 2015 of their plans to repair and better manage the trail. These legislators currently hold key budget committee positions and may still pose a threat to Washington's longest trail.
We cannot help but see this news as an enormously successful conclusion to the Tekoa Trail and Trestle Associations' yearlong public education and lobbying campaign to save the John Wayne Trail.
The RCO recently announced rankings of its grant allocations for the 2017 biennium, in a category of 16 projects, three major repairs to the trail ranked very highly: The Tekoa Trestle (#2), The Renslow Trestle (#4), and Malden to Rosalia Trail development (#5). The general feeling is that if the grant is ranked toward the top, it will get funded. In this category, at least 50% of the money goes to development projects.
So if WWRP is funded at $110 million (the anticipated amount) this category would get $14.2M and all 3 projects would be funded. The WA Legislature may remove projects from the ranked categories, but not rearrange the lists. (see full list attached)
For more information contact: Karl Jacobs, Outdoor Grants Manager Recreation and Conservation (360) 902-3084
Also in a letter sent to 9th district legislative team; State Senator Mark Schoesler, and State Representatives Joe Schmick and Mary Dye; Greg Herzog, Assistant Director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission outlined their impending capital budget request of $2,254,000.00 for the 2017 biennium (independent of the RCO grants mentioned above) and the details of its new John Wayne Trail Management Plan. (full letter attached) The trail management plan was developed by WA Parks after six months of advisory committee meetings held with trail users, adjacent landowners and the general public.
For more information contact: Daniel Farber, (360)902-8504 cell (360) 701-5326 firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a year ago this small town (pop 843) discovered at a 4H fair that its own legislative team had recently attempted to close 135 miles of Washington's only cross state trail, which ends in Tekoa. The trail would be closed to the public then but a typo had prevented the budget proviso from being implemented.