The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is working to develop the Valley Trail, a non-motorized community path between Leavenworth and Wenatchee. Extending over 20 miles, the trail will meander along the valley floor connecting the communities along the way. The citizens of the Wenatchee River Valley and visitors alike will enjoy this accessible trail for recreation, exercise, and commuting. The Valley Trail aims to highlight our area’s rich agricultural heritage and recreation potential.
Residents and communities have been very enthusiastic about the Valley Trail. Leavenworth, Cashmere and Chelan County have formally included the Valley Trail in their Parks and Recreation Plans. There is also serious concern from some Wenatchee Valley orchardists about spray drift. The Valley Trail will require a carefully planned, collaborative effort among local landowners, communities, and citizens, including orchardists. We are working to create it piece by piece as opportunities and funding allow. It will be a slow process that will take patience and persistence.
In the fall of 2005, more than 100 people attended a public meeting in Cashmere, WA to discuss the possibility of developing a community trail system connecting all of the communities between Leavenworth and Wenatchee. Concerns over the interaction between orchard operations and trail users were voiced, but enthusiasm prevailed. Some of the participants, including the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, carried the idea of the Valley Trail forward.
The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust decided to take on the Valley Trail project full time. We secured grant funding in summer of 2007 and hired Patrick Walker as Trails Coordinator to lead this community project.A diverse group of 30 individuals came together to create a vision for the Valley Trail in February 2008. The focus group developed goals and objectives for the trail, creating a direction and momentum for the project. From this meeting the Friends of Our Community Trail (F.O.O.T.) was established as a subcommittee of the Land Trust. F.O.O.T. continued the planning and organization of the Valley Trail project. The Land Trust and over 60 enthusiastic volunteers broke ground in 2008 to build the first 500 feet of the Valley Trail in Leavenworth. We are working with the city of Leavenworth and the Chelan PUD to extend the trail through PUD property to eventually connect the Amtrak station to the beginning of the trail at Barn Beach/Lorene Young. Our hope is this community asset will one day be fully realized and people will travel from Leavenworth to Wenatchee on a non-motorized trail, while enjoying the agricultural heritage and natural beauty of our area.
- Fall 2007 – Inclusion of the Valley Trail in the Chelan County Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan
- Winter 2008 – A diverse focus group of more than 30 individuals representing many interests in the County came together to form the Vision for the Valley Trail.
- Spring 2008 – The Friends Of Our community Trail (F.O.O.T.) was formed as a committee of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.
- Spring 2008 – F.O.O.T. was asked to participate in the development of a Pedestrian/Bicycle Recreation plan for the City of Leavenworth.
- Summer 2008 – 500 feet of trail in Leavenworth was cleared and opened to the public on land bequeathed to the Land Trust by Lorene Young.
- Winter 2009—The Valley Trail was included in the adopted City of Cashmere Parks and Recreation Plan as well as being included as a priority non-motorized transportation element in the Chelan County Transportation Plan.
- Spring 2009 – The Valley Trail included in the Upper Valley Regional Trails Plan