PASCO, Wash.- Members of the Federal Highway Administration toured the Juniper Dunes wilderness area today. Franklin County commissioners met with the group to discuss the possible construction of a new access road to the dunes.
For years people have been going up to Juniper Dunes in Franklin County. But the roads that lead to the dunes are all on private property. Today County commissioners along with representatives from the Federal Highway Administration visited the dunes for an on-site review of a proposed project.
The plan is to request 1.05 million dollars in funding from the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP). That money would go toward a county owned and maintained access road to get to the dunes. The idea is that tourists visiting the dunes might also help boost the local economy.
"Whenever people come they will stop in the Tri-Cities, they will stop in Mesa, Connell and they will get refreshments, they will get dinner, they will buy supplies," explained Rick Miller, Franklin County Commissioner. "That is where the money will come in. But, the purpose of this is to have access to a natural resource area that we don't have much of anymore."
The construction would include 4.2 miles of new road. The path of the roadway will be planned in cooperation with the farms that currently land block the dunes from public access. Currently about 30,000 people a year get to the dunes illegally on the privately owned roads.