Local ownership of Saddle Rock has been a community priority for more than 100 years. For the past ten years, every fifth grader in Wenatchee Public Schools has hiked to the top of Saddle Rock through the school district’s “Shrub-Steppe’n up Saddle Rock” program. Thanks to generous community support, Saddle Rock became a city park in 2011 with a conservation easement held by the Land Trust and stewardship funding for its care. This campaign will fund much needed trail restoration at Saddle Rock.
Lower Castle Rock provides the best access to Castle Rock, a cinder cone that kids love to climb. When secured, a connector trail can be built along the steep ridgeline called the 1-2 Divide leading up to Horse Lake Mountain, offering views of Mount Rainier, Mount Stuart, Glacier Peak, and the Enchantment Basin.
These two properties, each at a high risk of development, will provide a “missing link” by connecting the urban growth boundary adjacent to Broadview to the Horse Lake Reserve.
This 1,700-acre reserve, purchased by the Land Trust in 2006 and 2008, has become a community treasure. People can hike for miles on trails that connect the city’s back door to the mountains, and mule deer will always have a winter haven. Originally, we planned to sell to a conservation buyer and restrict development with a conservation easement that would still allow public access on the perimeter of the property. We now have an incredible opportunity to retain full ownership and to secure funding for its ongoing management as a natural park, ensuring that the entire property will be accessible to the public.
Through generous donations and grants, the Land Trust has already secured these Foothills properties for public benefit. Each spring we see an increased level of use by a diverse cross section of our community. This campaign will provide funding to maintain these properties that are in danger of being “loved to death” and to restore habitat.