This was the last section of Wenatchee River waterfront left for public access. Now, thanks to the success of this regional fund raising effort, 14 acres (more than 3/4 mile) of pristine Wenatchee River shoreline at the former Peshastin Mill site, just west of the town of Peshastin, can be enjoyed by the public. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will manage the acreage as a primitively developed, non-motorized access site for public fishing, hiking, and other low impact recreational use.
Tony Hol, at left, and his son Aiden, 13, work to build a bridge on the 3/4 mile long trail being built along the Wenatchee River on the old Peshastin Mill property, just west of Peshastin. The Central Washington chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance put together the work party to honor the work of Bob Parlette for his years working to create non-motorized recreational opportunities through the Complete the Loop Coalition.
PESHASTIN — Volunteers came by the dozens on Saturday to build a riverfront trail on the old Peshastin Mill property, just west of Peshastin. Many were members or friends of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, and the Complete the Loop Coalition.They came to be part of the first physical improvements on the 14-acre site, which the Coalition purchased last summer after raising $453,255 in donations. And, they came to honor Bob Parlette, for spearheading the fundraising effort, and for his decades of work to promote recreation and preserve public access across the Wenatchee Valley.“It’s time to honor him,” said Mike Sorensen, a board member of Complete the Loop Coalition. “There are about 20 of us who have worked closely with him, and we unanimously felt that if it hadn’t been for Bob Parlette, we wouldn’t have the things we have today.”Things like the Coalition’s original mission, creating the Apple Capital Loop Trail, a recreational trail connecting Wenatchee and its parks with East Wenatchee and Douglas County’s Columbia River shoreline. Or the Rocky Reach Trail, which extends north to Lincoln Rock State Park. Now, after a three-year effort, the Coalition partnered with the Mountain Bike Alliance to finish work on a ¾-mile trail that meanders along the Wenatchee River throught one of the last wild stretches of riverfront property between Leavenworth and Wenatchee.“Our entire goal was to save this piece, which has had very little disturbance. To keep it as it is, with beautiful big pine trees, but also to open it up to allow public access,” Sorensen said.More than 50 volunteers spent Saturday morning hauling and spreading gravel on the new path that winds along the Wenatchee River shoreline.“At this point, it’s the preservation of almost a mile of riverfront for public access. And when you look at it, there’s not much of that anymore,” Sorensen said. “Almost all of it is privately-owned, and restricted.”Previously owned by the Port of Chelan County, the former 65-acre lumber mill site in Peshastin was declared surplus more than 10 years ago. Developers eyed the site as a potential campus for high-tech research and development, and later for a housing development. In 2015, Leavenworth residents Bill and Jenny Goebel purchased the 50-acre adjacent site, and worked with the Port to sell the 14 acres of riverfront property to the Coalition, and Trout Unlimited. The Goebels own the remaining property, and have said they envision putting in a complementary mix of vineyards, recreational trails, artisan studios and wineries.Sorensen noted that raising the money was no easy task, and required a two-month extension. But it happened last summer, with the financial support of more than 350 donors, including major gifts from Drs. Tina and Eliot Scull, the Goebels and a last-minute donation from Peter Bevis, a Chelan Falls resident and grandson of the man who built the mill in 1928.“What’s telling to me is, we had no federal money, and no grant money. Every single dollar was a donation from a private person,” Sorensen said. “We’ve had support from Plain, from Wenatchee; people from all over the valley have stepped up.”He said after Parlette, Rollie Schmitten and Bob Stroup successfully raised money for the purchase, ownership of the property was turned over to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in February, with an obligation to survey and install the riverfront path.That’s when the Central Washington Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance stepped up to offer its expertise in trail building experience, and in soliciting the help to get the work done. Along with Alliance members, about a dozen students with the Eastmont Mountain Bike Club showed up for Saturday’s work party.“Travis Hornby, Al Murphy and Charity Duffy are real high on the list of making this happen,” Sorensen said. Hornby, the Alliance’s chapter president, said his group was happy to help, and to come together to honor Parlette. “It’s a gorgeous piece of property, right on the river,” he said. “We’re just excited to bring another trail to our community.”Sorensen added that even before the trail was built on Saturday, the property was already open to the public. Once people discover it, he said, they’ll understand the effort these groups put in to purchase it.“We anticipate a lot of local use — dog walkers, people going out to walk, fishermen, bird watchers and the like,” he said.Reach K.C. Mehaffey at 509-997-2512 or email@example.com. Read her blog An Apple a Day. follow her on Twitter at @KCMehaffeyWW.
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PESHASTIN MILL SITE UPDATE
By: Bill and Jenny Goebel, the Complete the Loop Coalition,
and the Icicle Chapter of Trout Unlimited
February 2, 2016
Bill and Jenny Goebel, Leavenworth residents, have announced the acceptance of their offer to purchase the seller's interests in that certain Real Estate contract between the Port of Chelan County and the Complete the Loop Coalition whereby the 14 acres of waterfront on the old peshastin Mill Site was sold to the Coalition for $453,255. The balance of the Contract is due on June 30, 2016. Last year the Goebels entered into a separate earnest money agreement to purchase the upland 50 acres of the Mill site for $1.6 million dollars. That agreement to sell the upland will close in April of 2016.
At the same time, the Goebels have disclosed their plans to develop the upland property in a way that would be compatible with the Coalition's intent to gift the 14 acres of waterfront to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, so that it would remain open to the public for fishing, picnicking, and non motorized use . The Goebel's plans include a section of the property to be dedicated to wine growing and production; a portion dedicated to community interest and history with the intent to enhance tourism opportunities; and a portion devoted to recreation and the environment. The Goebels intend to further amplify and disclose more details of their plans and ask for feedback from the Peshastin Community Council at the regularly scheduled meeting of the council on February 11th.
The Goebels also announced their intent to pass on to the Coalition the discount in the purchase price that they negotiated with the Port. The Goebels stated they are very pleased to support and reinforce the Coalition's goal to have the waterfront remain in public ownership and open to the public in perpetuity. The Complete the Loop Coalition has partnered with the Leavenworth Chapter of Trout Unlimited in an effort to raise the $453,255 purchase price of the Real Estate purchase Agreement. The Coalition and Trout Unlimited still have about $195,000 remaining before they reach their the goal to raise the full purchase price prior to June 30, 2016. Leaders of the fund drive (Bob Parlette, Rollie Schmitten and Bob Stroup) stated when they heard of the Goebel's purchase of the Port's position: "We can't think of a more desirable outcome. To have the Goebels as owners of the upland, with compatible goals of achieving open space that could become a great tourist attraction is a dream come true. Now we just need to wrap up the fund drive and hope that this puts to rest any uncertainty as to the future of the Mill Site."