Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Community collaborates on new Chelan River Trail

Lake Chelan Trails Alliance to raise funds and organize volunteers to build trail on PUD land


WENATCHEE – PUD staff Monday (June 25) outlined for commissioners plans to issue a permit for the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance to build 2.3 miles of new trail above the Chelan River on District land. The proposal reflects an extended effort by the community and the PUD to expand recreation opportunities in the Chelan Valley. 

Members and volunteers of the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance will raise funds and provide volunteer labor to build and maintain the trail, which will extend southeast from the PUD’s existing Reach 1 Trail. The City of Chelan has agreed to monitor trail maintenance and provide liability coverage for trail use. Trail Alliance volunteers will install signs and maintain the trail at the city’s direction. 

 The conditional use permit will be similar to the recreation agreement with the City of Wenatchee for trails on PUD land in the western foothills, explained Jeff Smith, District Services managing director. 

“This unique private-public partnership between the Trails Alliance, City of Chelan and PUD illustrates the value of multi-agency collaborative efforts for the benefit of our mutual constituencies,” Smith said. 

Planned are two loops with options for multiple routes and distances that are expected to be popular with hikers and trail runners, said Guy Evans with the Trail Alliance. Mountain bikes will be allowed. “It’s been a joy to work with the PUD in such a collaborative fashion,” Evans said. 

Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney said trails are important enhancements for Lake Chelan residents and the resort area’s many visitors.

It will be built in two phases, the first starting in 2019, Smith said. Plans are to build the second loop in 2020. The trail will be a safe distance from the Chelan River to protect users and guard against erosion.

The Trails Alliance may be interested in expanding the existing Reach 1 trailhead depending on increased use, he added.

Smith said Trails Alliance members must complete environmental and shoreline review before the PUD will issue its permit.

In other business, commissioners:

· Received an update on what’s been done since the accident that took technician Eddie Bromiley’s life on June 13 and what to expect in the coming weeks. Brian Odell, Safety and Labor director, said immediately after the accident crews modified all the spillway rail structures at Rock Island Dam by replacing pins with nuts and bolts to reduce the probability of a similar event. The spillway gate where the accident happened was taken out of service as well as  a second one of the same design. Two investigations are underway. Internally, the PUD has hired an outside, independent third party for a thorough review and the state Dept. of Labor and Industries will return to Rock Island the first part of July to begin the formal part of its investigation. There is no timeline for the internal investigation as the PUD wants to ensure it is meticulous and that the PUD has a deep and full understanding about the circumstances of this tragedy. State officials must finish their investigation within six months.

· Heard, that ALCOA Corp. paid the $62.4 million due on June 19 as expected. The payment under the power sales contract does not prevent the possibility of restarting the Wenatchee Works, and Alcoa’s contract with the PUD remains in place until 2028. Annual  impacts on PUD finances will be modest, reported Chief Financial/Risk Officer Kelly Boyd, as the revenue will be spread over the remaining 10 years of the contract.

· Approved up to $2.24 million for premiums on the District’s 2018-2019 insurance coverage starting July 1. The amount is consistent with the budget and is 5.4 percent more than current coverage. Negotiations on the final amount continue, said Ron Gibbs, insurance and claims manager.

· Allocated $4 million for Public Power Benefit project funding in 2019 and assigned $2.3 million of that to continue the broadband network build-out, $100,000 to renew the important story of the Columbia River told at Rocky Reach Discovery Center and $50,000 for the day use pass for PUD parks operated by the state. Board members also assigned $900,000 from unallocated 2018 funds for other Discovery Center improvements. 

· Received thanks for PUD support of the YSplash! water safety program from Dorry Foster, YMCA chief executive officer. Chelan PUD is a sponsor of the program that teaches safety around water. With the PUD’s help, 451 Wenatchee Valley youngsters, plus 18 teens and adults, took part this spring. Chelan PUD also supported Icicle Broadcasting’s spring water safety campaign, reported Suzanne Hartman, Communications manager. The efforts help customer-owners and the community safely enjoy PUD parks.

· Honored bilingual employee Griselda Gonzalez, in Energy Resources and Conservation, for her interpreting help for a student at a recent “Careers After School” session at the PUD. She offered to help with no notice and at the end of her workday. “With a big smile and without any hesitation, she immediately and fully engaged with the student and stayed for the entire, two-hour class,” according to her May 2018 Cycle of Personal Ownership nomination. 

Upcoming events:

· July 4 – Independence Day holiday

· July 9 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. boardroom (rescheduled)

· July 23 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom (rescheduled)


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