It's too bad the railroad between Goldendale and Lyle was abandoned. That sharply reduces the chances of bringing back industry to communities such as Klickitat and Goldendale.
Yet despite that loss, the county at least has the opportunity to recoup an asset from the former rail line: The Klickitat Trail is an exceptionally attractive recreational corridor that would be open to horses, bikes, and hikers. Dozens of area residents have volunteered their time and efforts to improving the trail. Work parties regularly prune, move rocks, smooth grades, fix fences, and more. Additional work is planned, but what has been done to date is impressive. The trail is truly a gem, as well as a potential economic boost to merchants in Lyle and Klickitat.
Washington State Parks has worked patiently with the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners to complete the trail from Lyle to Klickitat. But since late 2006, the commissioners have blocked issuance of the permits needed to re-deck the Fisher Hill railroad bridge and construct trailheads at Lyle and Klickitat. Why? The county wants State Parks to survey the route to determine where the right of way is. The county's demand is expensive (paid by your taxes), time-devouring, and, we believe, unnecessary: It's pretty obvious where the tracks used to be.
This beneficial project has been delayed too long. We urge the County Commissioners to issue the needed permits and allow the final work on this beautiful corridor to begin.