Advocating for Saddle Rock in Olympia...

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January 30, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I know that many of us share a love of Saddle Rock, officially acquired in 2011 by the City of Wenatchee. It is not only an iconic Wenatchee landmark but also a popular outdoor recreation site for our area. I really appreciated everyone who joined us for our community hike up Saddle Rock, which concluded my first annual 12th District listening tour last fall.

During the listening tour, I met with representatives from the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, a local organization that brings together businesses, organizations, and individuals to preserve and protect nature and recreational opportunities in our region. The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust started in 1985 with a small number of volunteers and has grown into an organization with talented staff and over 2,500 local members. I applaud the organization for its vision for future generations and its effectiveness in bringing diverse stakeholders together to create positive outcomes.

CDLT listening tour

Board members from of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust joined my staff and me last fall at the Confluence Technology Center in Wenatchee. We discussed many things, including funding for the Saddle Rock project.

Board members shared with me last fall that the organization is fully prepared to improve trails to Saddle Rock, including the creation of an emergency access path. They have even raised the necessary funds to make the trail enhancements, but the City of Wenatchee cannot conduct or authorize any ground-disturbing activity as long as there are certain levels of hazardous substances in the soil. These substances are the results from rock waste and arsenic concentrations associated with past mining activity in the area. Wenatchee obtained Saddle Rock from the state, which was a big win for the City of Wenatchee, but now I’d like the state to fund any cleanup work so that the city and its partners can make further enhancements to Saddle Rock.

Since learning about this whole issue during my listening tour, I have been working to help secure necessary cleanup funds. Through the state’s environmental cleanup law, grant money from a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances may be available to assist with this sort of project. If the Legislature considers any adjustments to the recently-approved 2017-19 Capital Budget, a prime opportunity may present itself to secure such funding for work at the Saddle Rock site (officially known as the Gold Knobs Prospects Project).

My office hosted Curt Soper, the organization’s Executive Director, for part of his visit to Olympia last Thursday. I asked my colleague, Senator David Frockt (46th District, Seattle), who is now Senate leader on the capital budget, if he would meet with Curt and me to discuss the project. He graciously agreed, and we had a very productive discussion about outdoor recreation, Saddle Rock, and cleanup funding. Curt was a great advocate, and we are hoping for a positive outcome should any budget adjustments be possible.

Land Trust with Sen. Frockt

Curt Soper, Executive Director of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, and I met recently with Senator David Frockt, who is the Senate’s capital budget leader. I am showing him photos of the new Saddle Rock Gateway Trailhead as the three of us discuss project funding.

Last Saturday, just a couple days after our meeting in Olympia, my family and I participated in a guided snowshoe hike at Saddle Rock Park, hosted by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust. It was a fun and educational day for many families, and the weather cooperated with both weekend snow and sunshine. Saddle Rock is a beautiful asset – in spring, summer, fall, and winter! I’m thankful for the amazing recreational opportunities it provides and am grateful to the state, City of Wenatchee, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, and many others who have supported recent improvements, like the Gateway Trailhead. We need to continue to enhance Saddle Rock for current and future generations. I’m hopeful we can take another big step forward this year.

snowshoe tour

Hillary Clark, Membership and Education Coordinator for the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust (center), guided a snowshoe tour for families up Saddle Rock last Saturday along with Executive Director Curt Soper (left).

For more about my work in Olympia and at home:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve this amazing district!



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District


107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000