PULLMAN, Wash. — The Bill Chipman Palouse Trail will be dedicated officially on Saturday, April 4, during a public ceremony at a picturesque point on the trail approximately two miles west of Moscow and five miles east of Pullman.
The noon “The Rail Is Your Trail” ceremony will take place where the trail runs parallel to County Road 270, a gravel road adjacent to the Moscow-Pullman Highway. Signs will be posted on the highway with directions and parking instructions.
The first phase of the seven-mile pedestrian “rail to trail” conversion will be completed in the next six-weeks — the result of a 15-year community effort. Donors have contributed more than $525,000 toward the trail’s construction in the past 18 months, matching a federal grant of $900,000 and a cooperative venture with Palouse River Railroad to consolidate all rail transportation on the Palouse on one set of tracks. Phase two of the effort will include planting trees and other vegetation, building amenities, such as benches, and posting interpretive signage.
“Already, this trail has brought our communities together in so many ways. It really symbolizes what we can accomplish when we all work together,” said Mike Werner, director of Whitman Country Parks and Recreation and one of the coordinators of the trail project. “The dedication will really be a chance for all of the Palouse to celebrate what we have accomplished.”
Organizers are encouraging dedication participants to use the trail to get to the event. The University of Idaho and Washington State University marching bands will lead the way, with each band marching to the ceremony from each trailhead. Emcee Glenn Johnson, Cougar public address announcer, will begin the ceremony at noon, culminating with an official ribbon cutting by community leaders, trail activist Nancy Mack and the Carol Chipman family. Refreshments will be served.
“We are encouraging all community groups and organizations to make this a day for their group to come out, show their affiliation and be part of this historic occasion,” said Sonia Hussa, event organizer. Official starting times for the community marches from trailheads in Moscow and Pullman will be announced within the next few weeks.
The trail is for pedestrian traffic only, including bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. For more information regarding the trail, call Werner at 509/397-6238. For dedication information, call Hussa at 509/335-1990.