A popular U.S. Bureau of Land Management recreation area about 20 miles south of Sprague, Wash., has been closed as the agency repairs about $5,000 in damage caused by vandals.
The Rock Creek-Escure Ranch Recreation Area suffered damage to fences and other facilities in a crime spree that occurred around March 15, BLM recreation planner Steve Smith said.
A vault toilet was damaged, bridge signs were ruined and two kiosks were destroyed, including one built by an Eagle Scout.
The BLM has been investigating the incident, and Smith said the area likely will be reopened by the weekend.
The Escure Ranch, which straddles the Adams-Whitman county line, includes about 13,000 acres of grassland, basalt cliffs and glacial potholes. It was managed as a sheep and cattle ranch before being acquired by the BLM in 1999.
Hikers and mountain bikers start trickling into the area in February and March, followed by anglers and then hunters in the fall. A network of roads and trails lace the rangeland, leading to Wall Lake, Perch Lake and Turtle Lake, as well Towell Falls, a scenic destination on Rock Creek.
The road that leads three miles to Towell Falls is ideal for hiking and biking at this time of year, before the road is open to motorized vehicle traffic in mid-April. The road remains open until a summer fire-season closure, usually in early June.
Rock Creek opens to fishing on June 2. The lakes are open year-round.