The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Iris Robbins

Lyle trails must stop

Letter from the community


To the Editor:

Dan Miller of the National Park Service (NPS) recently conducted a survey to determine how many Lyle area residents wanted more hiking trails. Friends of the Gorge (FOG) and DNR are the organizations promoting these new trails, so why is the NPS involved?

Not all Lyle school district residents were aware of or notified about this survey. It was not advertised in any local newspapers or “What’s Happening in Lyle” weekly newsletter. The bogus survey results were revealed on Jan. 22 at the Lyle Activity Center, saying Lyle is supposedly in favor of more trails.

When Mr. Miller was questioned further about how the survey was conducted, he admitted there was no way he could verify where the survey responders actually lived but trusted that people were honest. He said it was not a scientific survey because they could not afford to do a scientific survey. (Note: FOG‘s Statement of Financial Position dated June 30, 2013 was over $11 million.)

This “Lyle Survey” was among other things posted on Facebook by the “Hood River Area Trail Stewards,” thereby sending it out to hundreds if not thousands of out-of-area people with a request for responses. It read in part, “Help us help the Lyle community decide what to do about new trails.” This is an insult to the Lyle community and a total manipulation of the survey process and the results. This one factor alone totally negates the results of this survey, and yet FOG has the audacity to already be using these contaminated survey results to say Lyle wants more hiking trails, and FOG is moving full steam ahead to pursue this.

The Lyle School Board and the Lyle Community Council have withdrawn their support for GT2T, but FOG continues to fail to acknowledge that! FOG said no trails have actually been planned, then was quoted in an article in The Vancouver Columbian on Jan. 27 that “the trail will begin at Lyle High School,” even after they had been told to cease and desist using the school district in promoting GT2T! They continue to use their misleading tactics to bulldoze their way through our community and county with deceit, manipulation and dishonesty.

We who live here are very concerned about the impacts of yet more trails! We already have 11 trails within 10 miles of Lyle. Isn’t that enough? The FS and CRGC acknowledge serious concerns with erosion, overuse, and maintenance of current trails. Millions are needed to bring the existing trails up to standard! There are serious economic and environmental long-range negative impacts to our local economy and to the whole of Klickitat County—increased property taxes, added costs for EMS, fire, and Sheriff/Public Works/Planning departments to name a few. So much for the cover sheet of the Lyle Survey stating there would be no costs to Klickitat County!


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