EAST WENATCHEE — Own it, preserve it and improve it.
Those are the long-term recommendations offered this week by a 12-member citizens group to keep the eastside stretch of the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in its natural, open and relatively undeveloped state.
The group — called “Our Shoreline’s Future: An Opportunity to Do It Right” — presented its eight-page report to Douglas County Commissioners on Monday and the East Wenatchee City Council on Tuesday. The group, sponsored by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, has met weekly since January — often with city, county and state officials or local recreation and environmental advocates — to draft the recommendations.
“We’ve reached what we call the ‘nub of it,’” Mike Scott, the group’s co-chairman, wrote in the report’s cover letter. “We ask that the information in this report be seriously considered … with the interests of the entire community in mind.”
Recommendations include public ownership of the Loop Trail’s 50-foot-wide eastside corridor, possible formation of a regional district to oversee area trails and establishing a foundation to fund trail maintenance and buy adjacent parcels.
The report also supports possible commercial and residential development of up to 40 acres near the Odabashian Bridge as a new “front door” for East Wenatchee.
The report follows more than four years of community efforts to ensure the Loop Trail’s eastside corridor, now owned by the state Department of Transportation, remains a permanent public right of way open for trail use.
Currently, Douglas County and East Wenatchee lease trail right of ways from the state, but those leases are set to expire in 2018. In addition, state law requires the DOT to rid itself of surplus land no longer required for transportation purposes, either by selling it or designating it to fill community needs.
The shoreline vision group report also advises:
• Preserving lands west of the trail as native habitat or urban conservancy, as outlined by state and county shoreline regulations.
• Supporting future development on the DOT’s surplus acreage near the Odabashian Bridge and on land east of the corridor at the foot of 19th Street.
• Limiting vehicle access across the trail, and instead build bridges or underpasses.
• Improve public access and amenities at 15th Street and 19th Street trailheads and provide an additional access site between 32nd and 35th streets. Study the possibility for a boat launch in the area, most likely just north of the Odabashian Bridge.
Mike Irwin: 665-1179