Colville Mountain Recreation Area receives grant and seeks match funding for public access expansion

By: 
Taylor Newquist
Sports Editor

Walking distance from downtown and tucked away behind ‘closed road’ and ‘private property’ signs is a beautiful, well-kept four-mile trail system on Colville Mountain.

While beknown to residents and frequented for years as the way up to the ‘C’ and cross that guise the city, the trail system is relatively new, following a land purchase that made it city property in 2016. Now an effort from the City of Colville, its parks and recreation department and the Colville Mountain Advisory Group is working to expand that property for greater public access. Some, such as retiree Bill Pifer who is working on the project, believe it could become a focal point for the city—bringing in visitors and improving community well-being.

As things stand there are four access points to the recreation area: May Rd., the corner of Tenth Ave. and Cedar St., Madison St. and on Aladdin Rd. Those access points are all on private property with landowner agreements to allow the public through their land into the trail system. Pifer and those involved with expanding public access have been looking to develop an area to enter the trail system owned by the city. He said that under current circumstances newcomers to the trail may be warded off by private property signs and that if any of those properties change ownership, the new owners may decide to revoke public access.

The City of Colville has found a solution to this problem, by purchasing a 37-acre area from Madison St. to Hoffstetter St. that will provide immediate access to the recreation area trails. The CMAG sees the purchasing of the property as an “amazing opportunity” in reaching its goals of enhancing the quality of life for residents and the local economic development opportunities linked to recreation and tourism.

The group made a presentation and applied for a statewide Recreation and Conservation Office grant to make the land acquisition. The city ranked third of 29 applicants. Pifer said he is confident the city should receive that grant, baring any COVID-19 related state budget setbacks.

“We were surprised,” Pifer said about the placing 3rd. “We placed higher than a lot of areas on the west side in King and Snohomish Counties. It would be really great for the city.”

The city is now looking to raise a 20% funding match of the over $170,000 grant, a total of $34,098 by February 2021. That funding would go toward purchasing the property, improving signage, parking areas and trail maintenance, among others. To donate visit the Go Fund Me page via the Recreation Colville Facebook page or scanning code with your phone on the bottom of this article. Donations can also be sent or taken at the park and recreation or city hall treasurer’s offices.

Pifer said he is optimistic about meeting the fundraising goal and have already raised over $22,000. Pam and Scott Price, who frequent the trail and were taking a hike last Wednesday said they had donated the night before.

“It’s been a great pandemic diversion,” S.Price said.

Contact the rec office at 509-684-4651 for more info.

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