John Wayne Trail now sports lights

The lighted “Bike Bike” will be moving to a new site along the John Wayne Trail next Christmas near Othello.

Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association
The lighted “Bike Bike” will be moving to a new site along the John Wayne Trail next Christmas near Othello.


The John Wayne Trail runs from the Idaho border west to the North Bend area.

— The Tekoa Trail and Trestle Association along with the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce have begun what they hope will be a new , uniquely Washington tradition called “Lights Across Washington.”

The goal is to have a large holiday light display in every community along the entire John Wayne Trail, organizer Ted Blaszak said.

The trail traverses Washington state following the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad beds. The 100-mile stretch from Vantage to the North Bend area is also designated as Iron Horse State Park.

Created in 2002, the 285-mile trail is popular with hikers and cyclists.

This Christmas season the Tekoa Trestle was decorated with colorful lights and the town of Rosalia erected a giant lighted bike.

“We wish to thank Washington Parks for helping us to obtain the permits for both the Big Bike and the Tekoa Trestle holiday light displays and look forward to working with them in the future as the tradition expands to other towns along the trail,” Blaszak said.

The 27-foot-long “Big Bike” was constructed out of thin rebar metal by Walla Walla-based artist Charles Stanger. The Rosalia structure has 9,000 lights.

A cycling enthusiast, Stanger shared the bike to promote the trail, Blaszak said, noting he’s already making another sculpture for the trail.

Blaszak didn’t say anything else about the coming sculpture or where it would be placed.

The small town of Malden has, however, announced plans to put up a display along the trail for next Christmas.

Rosalia officials, too, said they have plans for a bigger display next year. Blaszak said the cities of Lind and Ellensburg are also working on plans.

The “Big Bike” will mote to the trail near Othello next year, he said.

Blaszak said the trail provides an economic boost to small Eastern Washington towns declining with the demise of the railroad.

“Our hope is that by encouraging the trail’s repair and use by tourist we may be able to turn things around for our small farm towns,” he said.


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