Washougal landowner's battle to operate aerial rope slides on his property in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area will go to trial, said Skamania County Prosecutor Peter Banks.

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VANCOUVER, Wash. — Washougal landowner’s battle to operate aerial rope slides on his property in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area will go to trial, said Skamania County Prosecutor Peter Banks.

At issue is whether six zip lines Derek Hoyte wants to operate on his 83-acre ranch, about six miles east of Washougal in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, violate a U.S. Forest Service conservation easement. The easement, which had been negotiated with a previous landowner, restricts the use of land to agriculture.

Hoyte filed a response in Skamania County Superior Court this month claiming that he wasn’t given due process in trying to get his zip lines approved. Hoyte had planned to open the zip lines to the public in April but has since removed the lines.

Hoyte says that the zip lines were planned as part of a larger U-pick farm.

In his response, Hoyte maintains that he was not given official notices indicating that the zip lines could not be built.

“They’re not making me follow the same standard that anyone else would have to follow,” Hoyte said.

Skamania County sent Hoyte a letter in late March ordering him to remove the zip lines and landings on his property.

Banks expects the trial will be held in late 2009 or early 2010.

Hoyte says that he has rented out the 83-acre ranch and has opened a separate five-acre farm in Washougal for tours, which include rides on zip lines.