Badger Mountain Fundraising Effort Complete (WA)

TRI-CITIES, WA, 6/23/05 – This afternoon the Tri-Cities’ community will celebrate the successful effort to raise the funds needed to purchase 574 acres on the crest and slopes of Badger Mountain. Governor Gregoire and local dignitaries will participate in the public celebration at 4 pm at the Bookwalter Winery.

The land purchase effort is a joint project of the Friends of Badger Mountain (FOBM) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL). FOBM, a local organization sponsored by the Inter-Mountain Alpine Club and the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society and dedicated to preserving the Tri-Cities’ scenic ridgelines, initiated the effort to purchase land and spearheaded the local grassroots fundraising effort. TPL is a national nonprofit dedicated to conserving land for people in 45 states.

The project received such an outcry of support from the Tri-Cities’ community that FOBM raised more than enough money to contribute $75,000 to the purchase of the Badger Mountain land. The rest of the $685,000 needed to acquire the land came from the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, the City of Richland, and Benton County.

“The community’s support for this project demonstrates that people want open spaces in the Tri-Cities,” said FOBM Co-Chair Sharon Grant. “We are hopeful that the purchase of Badger Mountain will help build momentum to preserve more of our scenic ridgeline.”

“One of the most extraordinary things about the Badger Mountain project is the tremendous community support it received,” said TPL Project Manager Peter Dykstra. “It is the best testament to TPL’s efforts to conserve land for people.”

Once the purchase is completed Benton County will own and manage the property as the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve. The land will be forever preserved and provides the first publicly owned trail access to the mountain.

“The partnerships that made the purchase of Badger Mountain possible provide a textbook example of how collaborative relationships can get things done,” said Leo Bowman, Benton County Commissioner. “Government, nonprofit groups and private citizens worked together to save this iconic natural landmark.” “The acquisition of these lands will complement the City’s recent purchase of 40 acres along the slopes of Badger Mountain and will conserve an invaluable community resource,” said Richland mayor Rob Welch.