In late 2007, citizens, groups, and public officials in theMid-Columbia region of Southeastern Washington state identified theneed for a regional open space and trails plan that takes a morecomprehensive view than the isolated city and county plans we now use.These entities came together to form a working group now known as theRidges to Rivers Open Space Network Steering Committee to start apublic discussion, create a local vision, and plan for our future. Theybegan a process to look on a regional level to see how best to use ournatural assets to benefit our economy; provide access for recreation,education, and health; and preserve natural and aesthetic values.
There is no line on a map that defines where the Mid-Columbiais, just as open spaces are not defined or limited by jurisdictionalboundaries. The area contains parts of Benton, Franklin, and WallaWalla Counties primarily in the vicinity of the metropolitan areas ofKennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland, Finley, and Benton City. Itgenerally extends from the Saddle Mountains and the Hanford ReachNational Monument to the north to the Columbia River to the south andfrom the Palouse and Snake Rivers to the east to the Rattlesnake Ridgesand Horse Heaven Hills to the west.
The concept of open space is not uniformly defined from onejurisdiction to another. Some jurisdictions do not have a definition atall. One goal of the Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network steeringcommittee and board of directors is that a definition be adopted acrossall jurisdictions as a key step toward facilitatingcross-jurisdictional planning and dialog.
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with ourunderstandings and our hearts.- William Hazlitt