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  1. #21
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    Thanks for posting this Ray. The meeting with the County Commissioners was cordial and the commissioners seemed genuinely interested in the idea and understanding of how this would improve bike safety, could improve bike tourism, and could (at a later time) help qualify us for funding to improve the most troublesome parts of the bike route. We left a draft resolution of support with the commissioners which we hope they'll sign and which states they support the idea of a bike route and would allow county planners and engineers to work with us in signing the route. The commissioners said they would notify us of their position by the coming Tuesday.

  2. #22
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
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    Interesting story in the today's WW and a pretty lame move by the orchardists who claim that having a mapped out and signed bike route would hurt their business because of increased bicycle traffic.


    WENATCHEE — Chelan County commissioners this week postponed a decision on a proposed back-road bike route between Wenatchee and Leavenworth until organizers work to address orchardists’ and neighbors’ concerns that cyclists on roads make it harder to farm.

    “We’re going to ask them to work more closely with the orchardists and the homeowners in that area… to resolve the issues the private landowners have,” Commissioner Doug England said Monday.

    “If we can find a route that can be worked out, we’re supportive of it,” he said. “But we want to make sure it doesn’t inhibit the homeowners and uses that are now there.”

    Wenatchee attorney and trail advocate Bob Parlette proposed the alternative road route to commissioners last week and asked commissioners to pledge the support of the county’s Community Development and Public Works departments to make it happen.

    “We look with interest to meet with a growers’ group, because the cyclists have the absolute right to use those roads,” Parlette said Monday.

    Officials from the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Wenatchee Outdoors recreation website all back Parlette’s bike-route proposal.

    Parlette’s Complete the Loop Coalition” would raise money to pay for signing that would be placed along the approximately 48-mile “Fruit Loop” that meanders over public, county roads that skirt thousands of acres of prime Wenatchee Valley orchards. Only small portions of the route cross or parallel busy Highway 2/97.

    Commissioners Monday said they’d each received calls and emails from concerned orchardists and neighbors worried that a designated-and-signed bike route would increase the volume of cyclists, slowing traffic and increasing danger on the narrow country roads they depend on to transport fruit and heavy machinery from orchard to orchard. They also worry about spray drift the days they apply ag chemicals.

    “It affects me greatly,” Peshastin pear orchardist Diane Yonaka told commissioners Monday. “As it is we have three weekends of no production due to all the traffic of bicycles.”

    Yonaka said her Saunders Road orchard is on the route of popular annual community bike rides that send hundreds of cyclists past her farm.

    “In a farming community, you’ve gotta be able to farm,” Commissioner Keith Goehner said. “It’s important that the trail people have the opportunity to talk with growers.”

    All three county commissioners are orchardists. England also manages a fruit cooperative.

    Parlette and his group pointed to a resolution approved by county commissioners in 2005 that pledges to support the concept of a non-motorized trail system between Wenatchee and Leavenworth.


    But Goehner said that, at the time, the route was thought to be a separate trail, not one that depends on public county roads.


    Much of the proposed route is already part of the Greater Wenatchee Bicycle Master Plan, officials say, and is already well-cycled and identified on maps.


    Commissioners said they want Parlette’s group to meet with orchardists and try to resolve conflicts before the commission agrees to provide support from county planners and public works staffers.


    They encouraged Yonaka to get other growers involved in the discussion.


    Friction among trail advocates and orchardists is nothing new in the Wenatchee Valley.


    A group of orchardists lost a 7-year legal battle in 2011 over a proposed 5-mile, paved pedestrian trail that would cut through lands they leased for farming from the state Department of Transportation. The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the orchardists. Part of that trail is under construction now.

  3. #23
    I don't think having a discussion with all users of the public road system is a bad thing. The orchards were here long before the increase in recreational road cycling.

  4. #24
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
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    I agree that discussions are fine but it just stinks of the same delays that stopped the trail extension to Rock Island.

  5. #25
    I think this is a bit different than the Loop extension to RockY REACH. No one is saying you can't use the roads, the orchardists seem to have concerns that if promoted for tourism that increased traffic may interfere with their operations due to overspray issues and bicycle/machinery interaction during harvest. I can see their point, it may be unfounded, but it's worth talking about.

  6. #26
    How terribly important is it to have signs along the entire route? In this day and age with GPSs and smart phones you could just have a website with some search engine optimization to catch people googling for bike routes between the two places. You could have a GPX file that people can load onto their garmins, a printable PDF, and an easily phone-viewable map with detailed directions. You could do the entire thing probably for the cost of a single sign. Maybe you put a sign in each town with a 2d barcode / web url / etc.

    In fact after looking the JustgetOut site is the top result for 'cashmere to wenatchee bike route' so maybe you don't even mess with another domain name.

  7. #27
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    Check out this article by Northwest Public Radio about the issue between the cyclists and orchardists. It discusses both sides, touching on the reasons for and against the trail. It also provides a statement from the Chelan County Commissioners and the affects it could have on tourism.

  8. #28

    Leavenworth to Wenatchee Bikeway

    Hmm. I feel like part of that fruit loop trail should go up Blewett pass a little ways. It has orchards too..

  9. #29
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    Due to the absence of interconnected frontage roads in the Y-Junction area, I'm not aware of logical or safe options that would take you a little ways up the Highway 97 corridor and then loop back to the Wenatchee River corridor without being just an out-and-back. Even as an out-and-back, you need to come and go from Highway 97 to connect with more peaceful (and safer) portions of the Old Highway. Part of the thought of making a map of the L2W Bikeway, however, would be to illustrate a main trunk line and then to show some recommended alternate routes as well. A fun alternate route (though you'd want to do it on a cross bike) would be to ride Mountain Home Road out of Leavenworth to Highway 97, with a return to the Y junction staying on the Old Blewett Pass Highway as much as possible.

  10. #30
    Based upon my driving up to Cashmere often to go kayaking I can tell you that a lot of riders are already using the side roads to ride between Wenatchee and Cashmere. I am always seeing cyclists just east of Cashmere when I'm coming into town.

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