The Times 

Asking port to support tourism, small business, and the trail


March 31, 2022

To the editor,

Countless hours have been spent by numerous Touchet Valley Trail supporters and the Stakeholder Committee in work on the planning process of the Touchet Valley Trail. That planning process included much time spent evaluating any community concerns and wishes and incorporating as many ideas as possible into the Trail plan.

The investment of hours, time and money was made because of the proven economic and health benefits of a trail.

Small, rural downtowns survive on the largesse and support of their community and residents spending money in local businesses. Community support must extend to having tourism infrastructure that brings visitor dollars to town. Trail and outdoor activities have been proven to bring increased economic vitality to their adjacent communities and businesses.

Waitsburg businesses already experience bicycle and pedestrian tourism; there is a need for more infrastructure to ensure economic success.

Personally, having managed a Waitsburg overnight rental for 7 years- it was amazing how many brought bicycles or rode in from Walla Walla on their bikes. Almost 70% of renters were bicyclists and wanted routes and destinations; Dayton was a planned part of the visit.

It is important to have transportation plans that are not just highways for cars and trucks. Since 1960, when our own Senator Magnuson was involved in supporting funding for alternate transportation, State and Federal Governments have included trails in transportation planning. It is not a new concept and trails are connecting states and communities across the U.S.

Let’s bring state and federal tax dollars back to our communities for local use on the Touchet Valley Trail project. Let’s provide our communities with the health, safety and economic benefits of a Trail that connects our two downtowns. The Trail is most impactful with interesting, desirable and needed destinations.

The Port of Columbia has a successful history of providing economic development opportunities to the City of Dayton and Columbia County. It’s efforts have, in the past, been much appreciated by many entities, businesses, and community members. Continuing that work is vital to economic success in Dayton and Columbia County.

I, and many others, are asking the Port of Columbia Commissioners for continued support of the Touchet Valley Trail Project.

Joy Smith

Waitsburg, Wash.


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