the Times 

Grant funds keep Touchet Valley Trail moving along

DOT grant will initiate engineering design


COLUMBIA COUNTY—A grant of $637,000 will take the Touchet Valley Trail, to be developed between Dayton and Waitsburg, from the planning to engineering stages.

The grant, awarded by the Washington Department of Transportation’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program will be used for environment analysis, surveying and engineering design to develop the trail and river crossings to 90-percent design completion, according to a Port of Columbia press release.

Once constructed, the 9.7-mile “rails with trails” multiuse path will run adjacent to the active rail line on land owned by the Port of Columbia and will connect the communities of Dayton and Waitsburg.

The trail is a priority project in the award-winning Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan which was approved in February of 2018. In June, Gov. Jay Inslee awarded the plan, which was developed through the efforts and cooperation of more than 30 local, regional, state and federal stakeholder entities, with a 2019 Smart Communities Partnership Award.

Through its Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the National Park Service has been aiding in trail planning since March. NPS Planner Alexandra Stone and a Port-led steering committee have been meeting to develop a concept plan for the trail.

Public input has also been an important part of the planning process. One public meeting has been held with the general public and another with adjacent landowners. The Port is currently encouraging the public to participate in a public survey to provide feedback and input.

The Port and NPS have also coordinated with a Washington State University landscape architecture class and the Washington Association of Landscape Architects to host a week-long workshop to design and sketch an initial plan.

The workshop, which will take place in Dayton and Waitsburg in late October, will culminate with a public meeting to share the initial plan concept.

To learn more and/or complete the public input survey visit the Port website at or the Touchet Valley Trail Facebook page.


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