The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is in the throes of the Wenatchee Valley’s largest-ever conservation campaign as they attempt to raise $8.1 million to purchase key properties in the Wenatchee foothills, build additional trails on those lands and provide more public access (now and forever) to the foothills.
Local outdoor junkies already know what a coup it will be to protect the undeveloped lands at the doorstep of the community that allow all of us to hike, mountain bike, dog walk, run, appreciate wildflowers, view wildlife and practice photography. Many local citizens, however, are not familiar with these lands, so the CDLT is throwing out all the stops on Saturday and has organized a full roster of events to help the community better explore, appreciate and celebrate the foothills. Here’s a sampling of the free events taking place:
Guided mountain bike rides: The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance will lead a ride for families and beginners through the Sage Hills — riders will meet at 9 a.m. at John Newbery Elementary and shuttle to the trailhead. Another ride for advanced cyclists will meet at 9 a.m. at the bottom of Horse Lake Road to ascend the road and ride the foothills.
Interpretive walks: Fire ecology: CDLT stewardship director Neal Hedges will lead three fire ecology hikes (8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.) to discuss how last fall’s wildfires affected the landscape. Geology: Geologist Kelsay Stanton will lead a hike to the top of Saddle Rock, discussing local geology along the way (8:30-11 a.m.).
Horse Lake trail runs: RunWenatchee is organizing the first-ever trail races on the Horse Lake Reserve. Both a 5-mile run ($35) and a 10-mile run ($45) start at 9 a.m. Proceeds of the run support the Foothills Campaign and make you a Land Trust member.
Family Activities: Spend time in the Performing Arts Center courtyard learning to identify native plants, making quail calls, relaxing with iLa Yoga and much more (11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Music sponsored by Caffe Mela: Enjoy some of the region’s best musicians at the PAC and on an outdoor stage (free) from noon to 4 p.m. Wrap up the day by listening to headliners Hey Marseilles and Radiation City ($34.50, 7:30 p.m.).
Skeptics pooh-poohed the Loop Trail before it was built; now few of us can imagine Wenatchee without this tremendous asset. Likewise, protecting the natural lands in the foothills and improving access to them will create a transformative community asset. If you haven’t started enjoying the foothills yet, use Saturday to familiarize yourself with these nearby places — they have the power not only to amaze but to improve life.
Andy Dappen is the content Editor of WenatcheeOutdoors.org, the foremost website about outdoor adventures within an hour’s drive of the Wenatchee Valley. For more details about these and other Foothills Day events visit cdlandtrust.org or WenatcheeOutdoors.org and click the ‘Calendar’ tab.