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MOTORIZED PLAN FOR REITER FOREST READY FOR PUBLIC REVIEW
December 21, 2010
(OLYMPIA, WA) – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites the public to comment on a proposal for a motorized recreation trail system at the Reiter Foothills Forest in the upper Sky Valley in the Gold Bar/Index areas.
The public may comment on the plan as part of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review process which began Monday, December 20 and ends at 5 p.m., January 31, 2011.
For the past nine months DNR staffers, volunteers, and interested citizens have been developing the proposed motorized trail system in the soon to be renovated and revitalized Reiter Foothills Forest.
You can view maps of the proposed motorized and non-motorized areas HERE
The proposal provides recreation opportunities for a variety of off-road vehicle (ORV) use, including single-track/motorcycles, quads/all-terrain vehicles, and four-wheel-drive (4x4) vehicles.
“The SEPA review process represents a significant milestone on the road to developing an exciting, fun, and sustainable recreation area,” said Ben Cleveland, Acting Regional Manager for DNR’s Northwest Region.
“I thank the many volunteers who served on the planning committee and worked out in the field to help make this all possible.”
The proposal includes:
Phase 1: Development of a motorized trail system (design and construction) which includes 10.5 miles of trail, 3 temporary parking areas, and one trial riding area.
Phase 2: Construction to include 15.3 additional miles of trail, a new trailhead, four 4x4 challenge areas, and one trial riding area.
Recreation Planning at Reiter Foothills Forest
In 2007, the Washington State Legislature recognized the challenges of managing recreational use at Reiter Foothills Forest and funded DNR’s development of a sustainable recreation plan.
For the past three years, DNR has worked with a diverse group of stakeholders—including citizens, user groups, representatives from conservation groups, and local officials—to create a recreation plan that identifies long-term recreation uses and addresses environmental and public safety problems in the area.
The overall Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan, which was finalized earlier this year, divides the area into non-motorized and motorized uses.
Future motorized phases not included in this initial proposal may include a campground, additional motorized trail miles, and more challenge courses.
DNR is working with volunteers to develop non-motorized recreation opportunities that were identified in the plan, including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Planning for the motorized system included research and analysis to identify areas in the forest that would not be suitable to the impacts from recreation and to direct activities to more appropriate locations.
A citizen-based planning committee and DNR staff looked at biological, geological, and management criteria as they developed the trail plan.
As stewards of state trust lands, such as Reiter Foothills Forest, DNR must manage the lands in a manner that is compatible with its obligations to the trust.
This includes protecting natural resources, water quality, and habitats, and providing revenue for the trust beneficiaries