State Parks Commission will consider re-naming Iron Horse cross-state trail

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will consider renaming the long-distance recreation trail known as Iron Horse State Park and John Wayne Pioneer Trail, at its regular meeting next week in Spokane.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 17, at Hotel R.L. Spokane at the Park, 303 W. North River Drive, Spokane. (Driving directions.) The Commission has public meetings six times a year in pre-determined locations around the state. Time for public comment is provided at all regular meetings. A full agenda, including information about opportunities for public comment is available at

In 2016, the Commission reaffirmed support for an east-west cross-state trail and directed staff to work with trail stakeholders to recommend a new name that would be broadly recognizable and provide a marketable identity.

The former railway corridor known as the Iron Horse Trail is a 285-mile linear property that extends from North Bend, east to the town of Tekoa on the Washington-Idaho border. State Parks owns 110 continuous miles of the trail from North Bend to the Columbia River near Vantage and has 105 miles of continuous ownership from Lind to the Idaho border. Since the state attained the corridor in 1981, State Parks has developed and managed these continuous sections, including surfacing rail beds and developing trestles and tunnels for non-motorized recreational use. Some trail sections remain in Department of Natural Resources ownership, and there are small privately owned sections between Lind and Idaho.

Following the Commission’s direction, State Parks staff led outreach efforts to stakeholders and trail users to get ideas and feedback on name options that meet the Commission’s policy on naming criteria — geographic location, geology, archaeology or history. With the help of the public and stakeholder groups, State Parks staff identified several name options and will recommend a staff preference for consideration by the Commission. Options include:

  • Cascalouse State Park Trail (contraction of Cascade and Palouse geographic areas)
  • Columbian State Park Trail (for a passenger train that operated on the trail)
  • Cross Washington State Park Trail (descriptive, geographic )
  • Iron Horse State Park Trail (current name acknowledging the former railway)
  • Milwaukee Road State Park Trail (name of the railroad that operated on the trail)
  • Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (staff preference; descriptive, geographic)
  • Trail of the Olympian State Park Trail (name describes historic Chicago-to-Puget Sound route)
  • John Wayne Pioneer Trail (current name of the trail within Iron Horse State Park)

In other business, the Commission will:

  • Provide direction to the agency on the 2019-21 budget request amount and authorize staff to move forward and develop a budget proposal. Agency budget proposals for 2019-21 are due to the Office of Financial Management in September.
  • Approve the State Parks director’s updated 2018 position description for submittal to the Washington State Human Resources Office.
  • Hear reports on a classification and management planning project at Riverside State Park; a preliminary 2019-21 capital budget and 10-year capital plan; an agency financial update; and a proposed 2019 regular commission meeting schedule.

Commission work session

A work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Hotel R.L. Spokane at the Park, 303 W. North River Drive, Spokane. Commission work sessions are open to the public; however, there is no opportunity for public comment, and the Commission will take no formal action.


The work session agenda includes updates from agency staff on: operating budget development; possible request legislation; the agency strategic plan; the agency peer support program; employee satisfaction survey; Fort Worden Public Development Authority lease amendments; staff reports; and a 2017-19 capital program report.


Park site tours

Commission members will tour various park sites during the week:

  • Monday, May 14, Renslow Trestle, Steptoe Butte and Steptoe Battlefield

Tuesday, May 15, Crawford Caves and Crystal Falls state parks

  • Friday, May 18, Nine Mile Falls and the Troutman property at Riverside State Park