CONSERVATION -- The Naneum Ridge to Columbia River Recreation and Access Plan -- a guidebook for managing 230,000 acres of state lands -- has been released by the Washington state departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The recreation plan covers lands from the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range to the Columbia River.
The plan addresses recreation in the Naneum Ridge State Forest, managed by DNR, the Colockum Wildlife Area, and the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick units of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, managed by WDFW.
Following is a summary from a release posted by the two agencies:
The recreation plan culminates a 3-year planning process and collaborative effort between the agencies, local user and community groups, and a volunteer advisory committee, which included members from a wide range of interests. Committee members donated more than 1,200 hours of volunteer time in 20 public meetings.
“The public played an integral role,” said Brock Milliern, statewide recreation manager for the agencies. “By planning proactively we can ensure that recreation develops here in a way respects the local desire to maintain rural and agricultural activities, meets the agencies’ needs, and expands sustainable recreation and economic opportunities for the public and surrounding communities.”
The plan will guide DNR and WDFW in sustainable management of the recreation planning area for the next 10 to 15 years.
“This was a huge effort by the committee members, the public and the agencies to find balance among competing interests for fish, wildlife, land management and compatible recreation,” said Mike Livingston, regional director for WDFW. “This plan sets us up to achieve that balance.”
As the plan is implemented, DNR and WDFW will continue to consult with local groups to expand safe and sustainable recreation opportunities for the public and surrounding communities.
- Providing and maintaining the Green Dot road network, which offers a system for public vehicle and off-road vehicle use and access to recreation opportunities throughout the planning area. WDFW will offer more Green Dot roads on its lands in Kittitas County.
- Providing trail opportunities for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking in the forested portions of the Naneum Ridge State Forest and the Colockum Wildlife Area, including a north-south trail in the northern and western sections of the planning area that will offer greater access to recreation.
- Providing off-road trail opportunities for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and 4X4s, through discussion with user groups and the public.
- Developing a non-motorized winter trail system and a new non-motorized parking area in the Stemilt Basin area.
- Continuing to provide snowmobile access in the planning area.
- Improving road and trail linkages to public land west of the planning area, including the Wenatchee National Forest.
- WDFW plans to pursue partnership opportunities with local governments and non-profit organizations to design, develop, manage and maintain a shooting range facility.