Success is within reach on a project that has been the dream of local residents for over a century. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust has a narrow window of opportunity to preserve one of the most iconic, well-loved, and well-used properties within the Wenatchee Foothills, Saddle Rock. The City of Wenatchee first started working to acquire Saddle Rock for a city park or natural area in May of 1909. For over one hundred years, the City and private citizens’ groups have sought to protect this 325-acre area with its nearly four miles of trails, extensive community use, and sweeping views of the Columbia River below.
Today, the Land Trust and the City of Wenatchee are working in partnership to purchase Saddle Rock from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The City will own the land, and it will be permanently protected by a Conservation Easement held by the Land Trust.
Saddle Rock Campaign- Help make this opportunity of a century a reality!
Campaign Update 5/31/2011: The community has strongly demonstrated how much it cares about Saddle Rock, with 223 people contributing $863,343 as of May 31st for the purchase and ongoing stewardship of the property! This is enough to meet the amount required by the May 31 purchase agreement deadline. Payment was sent to the State on May 31. The required paperwork is now underway with multiple state agencies, and the actual transfer of ownership will happen once the paperwork is completed. Meanwhile we are continuing to work on raising the final $48,657 required to fully fund the ongoing stewardship of Saddle Rock. The full stewardship amount of $382,000 will be held in a dedicated fund at the Community Foundation of North Central Washington to provide for the permanent care and stewardship of the property. The Saddle Rock project budget has additional details.
Please consider making a special contribution to the Saddle Rock Campaign by May 31st deadline extended!
With your help, the 100-year community goal of acquiring and protecting this community treasure will become a reality. Saddle Rock’s permanent protection means open space, education, and recreation for the entire community. Because of its accessibility, thousands of community members and visitors explore Saddle Rock each year, and its viewscape represents the beloved character of our region.
It has become the City’s outdoor education classroom for school children and adults alike, providing lessons in science and stewardship. Indeed, for the past ten years, every Wenatchee fifth grader has hiked to the top of Saddle Rock through the Wenatchee School District’s award-winning “Shrub-Steppe’n up Saddle Rock” Program.
Restoration and Stewardship
Over the years, Saddle Rock has been over-loved and under-maintained; it needs significant restoration and care. Through this partnership between the Land Trust and the City, restoration and stewardship dollars will ensure better maintenance of the area without the City incurring additional expenses. While the development of a trailhead is not part of initial plans, CDLT and the City will explore grant opportunities and partnerships for a public trailhead and maintenance.
Purchasing Saddle Rock is critical, as troubled state agencies look to surplus properties to be sold to the highest bidder. As we stand before a once-in-a-century opportunity, we are confident that the public’s love of this land, and our supporters’ interest in protecting it for public use for perpetuity, will allow us to succeed in saving Saddle Rock.
This purchase is the first step in a multi-year effort to implement the Wenatchee Foothills Community Strategy, a proactive approach to conserve and steward those properties in the foothills which have the greatest conservation qualities and are most appropriate for public trails. You can expect to see more exciting opportunities for the Foothills in the near future!
Shrub Steppe'n up Saddle Rock!
Check out these great photos from the Wenatchee School District's Shrub Steppe'n up Saddle Rock outdoor education program. Amazing volunteers help make this program a success.
See the recent article and photos on Shrub Steppe'n Up Saddle Rock on the Wenatchee World website.