Touchet Valley Trail

A trail connecting the rural communities of Dayton and Waitsburg has long been a dream.  The idea was first identified as a priority at Columbia County’s 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy meeting, and the Port began participating in the Blue Mountain Region Trails planning shortly thereafter. A trail between Dayton and Waitsburg was chosen as the top priority in the regional planning effort. Public workshops continued to show strong interest in the idea, so the project was added to the Cooperative Parks Master Plan and the Port’s Comprehensive Plan

The Port received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service for concept planning (see below), and a WSDOT grant for design and engineering. A steering committee made up of regional stakeholders meets monthly to support design of the project and make recommendations to the Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners.

Read more background info here:  Background Information, Benefits, and FAQs for the Touchet Valley Trail

Please contact Jennie at 509-382-2577 or at with questions.


A technical assistance grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservations Assistance Program enabled the Port of Columbia, in tandem with national Park Service Staff and the local stakeholder steering committee, to conduct public outreach in 2019. Outreach events included an adjacent landowner meeting and two public information meetings. In October of 2019, a Design Charette was held with assistance from the Washington Chapter of the Association of Landscape Architects and a Washington State University Landscape Architecture class. After two intensive days of research and design, drawings and ideas were shared with the public meeting to gather feedback. The resulting document is called a Concept Plan, which is being used by the design and engineering consultants to inform the more extensive trail design.

View the Touchet Valley Trail Concept Plan here.

Touchet Valley Trail Steering Committee

  • Meagan Hays, City of Dayton
  • Trina Cole, City of Dayton
  • Dena Martin, Columbia County Planning
  • Charles Eaton, Columbia County Public Works
  • Paul Gonseth, Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Clara Dickinson-McQuary, Washington State Parks
  • Randy Hinchliffe, City of Waitsburg
  • Joy Smith, Waitsburg Commercial Club/Blue Mt. RC&D
  • Glen Mendel, community member (Dayton)
  • Terry Lawhead, community member (Waitsburg)
  • Genie Crowe, community member (Dayton)
  • Paul Didelius, Columbia Rail
  • Adam Schmidtgall, Anderson Perry
  • Brian Hansen, Anderson Perry
  • Ken Van Voorhies, SPVV Landscape Architects
  • Shaun Darveshi, Palouse Regional Transportation Planning Organization
  • Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer, Walla Walla Valley MPO
  • Jennie Dickinson, Port of Columbia