Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trail Fail

A couple of years ago I learned that the city of Richland had created a 3.25 mile Urban Greenbelt Trail ("UGT") in a loop that wound around downtown buildings, a hospital campus, and the riverfront.

I didn't have time to check it out until this visit.  There was little information on the web other than a map and a 2-year-old description.  I decided to start near the hospital campus section.

It had some nice landscaping.

I thought it was odd, however, that on a pleasant Saturday morning, no one else was using the trail.

And then I ran into a pedestrian overpass with particle board blocking the way and "no trespassing" signs.  There were no detour signs or any indication of how to get around it, and there was a steep bank with a stream below.  I spent a good fifteen minutes finding a way around a large office building next to it, and eventually picked up the trail again.

We followed it to the river front.

We stopped for a snack here.  Truman seemed less than impressed by this statue.

He preferred the river view.

I did a quick sketch here of an abandoned building and part of the trail.

Then we started back.  I noticed a concrete slab on top of the river bank, and looked to see if it had steps to the water, and was startled to see this at the bottom:

A Black-crowned Night Heron!  Goodness.  This is a gorgeous bird, and one I've only ever had poor views of in the past.  I've seen them in the river bank brush, half covered by branches, and never have I been able to get a good photo of one.  This bird was right out in the open, fishing.

I happily spent a good ten minutes watching it and snapping away and taking videos until the camera battery ran out and so did the spare.

Right after my last battery died, the bird flew off a few feet into the brush, where it was covered by branches.  It occurred to me that if I had not run into the trail blockage, and spent that extra 15 minutes or so getting around it, I would have been at that river front spot earlier than I was, and maybe the bird would have been there fishing, but maybe it would have been under the brush instead.  They prefer that.  We'll never know.

I still sent an email to the Richland Parks Department about their lack of proper trail information.

I haven't heard back.
UPDATE:  Just got an email from the parks supervisor apologizing for the problem--they thought there were detour signs up.  They will look into it.


  1. I just had one of the heron photos up as a screensaver. (I change my screensaver many times per day.) They really are some terrific shots. You were lucky to run into bad trail management!

  2. Great news on the update. Hopefully that will be taken care of by the time you come back in August (yes?) although you will need to walk at 4 or 5 in the morning to avoid the heat LOL.