John Wayne Pioneer Trail – New Opportunities to Make Your Voice Heard

Whether you support the John Wayne Pioneer Trail for its recreation opportunities, economic impact to neighboring communities, or because it is the longest rail trail in the nation, now’s the time to begin to weigh in on its future.

In September trail advocates in Tekoa learned of a legislative effort to close down a roughly 120-mile portion of Washington state’s largest rail trail, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Following the initial news, many surrounding residents and jurisdictions — including Tekoa, Spokane and others — voiced concern over the potential for permanent closure of this long-distance trail. The stated reasons for closure have included concerns over a lack of use of the trail, worries about trespassing, and liability.

Restoring the Tekoa Trestle will help make the John Wayne Pioneer Trail a world-class long-distance trail. Photo courtesy of Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association.

Restoring the Tekoa Trestle will help make the John Wayne Pioneer Trail a world-class long-distance trail. Photo courtesy of Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association.

Now, future discussions – and opportunities for trail supporters to provide meaningful input — about the future of the trail are beginning to take shape.

The most immediate opportunity to lend your voice to the discussion is via a set of three listening sessions occurring in Eastern Washington in November. One of the architects of the trail closure, Representative Schmick (R-Colfax), is partnering with the Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association to host three public meetings to hear from you about the Trail.

The three public listening sessions to provide input directly to Representative Schmick and others begin next week:

  • Tuesday November 10th at 12pm: Rosalia, Community Center (7th St. and Whitman Ave.)
  • Monday November 16th at 12pm: Lind, Union Elevator Conference room (201 S Street)
  • Monday November 23rd at 6pm: Ellensburg, Hal Holmes Center (209 N Ruby St.)

Representative Schmick has indicated he may consider introducing legislation based on the input he receives from these three events.

In addition to the public sessions hosted by Representative Schmick, Washington State Parks has proposed a plan to convene a planning process slated to begin before the end of 2015. It will allow the public to actively participate in crafting plans for the Iron Horse and Columbia Plateau State Park Trails.

As soon as plans are formally released by State Parks, Washington Bikes will provide an additional update.

Learn More

Shawn Pederson recently completed a trip across the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. His blog posts (4 so far) and excellent photos are here:

Also, the Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association’s Facebook Page provides a number of articles and community discussion as the process moves forward.


This article was posted in Advocacy, Alert, Economic Impact, Funding/Policy, Infrastructure, Issues & Advocacy, Trails. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.


  1. Barb Chamberlain
    Posted November 12, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Coverage of the meeting in Rosalia:

    26InchSlicks blog:

    Spokesman Review Nov. 11, 2015:

    Video segments 15-20 minutes each; battery of the person shooting this died so this isn’t the entire meeting:

    Otherwise these are in order:

  2. Barb Chamberlain
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Bike CdA is organizing a “Ride to Rosalia” to participate in the upcoming community meeting in support of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Interested cyclists should meet at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10 at the Harvester Restaurant (410 W. 1st Ave.). The ride will take Old 195 to Rosalia to attend the meeting at the Rosalia Community Center (Seventh St. and Whitman Ave.), which starts at noon.