The future of the 131,000-acre Naneum Ridge State Forest was discussed publicly for the first time during last week’s Recreation Planning Kick-Off meetings in Ellensburg and Wenatchee.
Over 150 people attended the public meetings and had an opportunity to write down their vision and concerns in a listening station format. This format allowed attendees to answer specific questions about the recreation area in smaller groups.
The Naneum Ridge State Forest, located in Kittitas and Chelan counties, is within a 30 minute drive of Wenatchee and Ellensburg. The meeting attracted people from a variety of recreational user groups, conservation groups, and even local government. Some of the themes that emerged from the meetings included:
• There is a variety of recreational interest for the area including trails for off-road vehicles (ORV), mountain biking, hiking, and equestrian use. Folks also expressed interest in hunting access.
• Winter recreational access was brought up, specifically, developing different access areas for motorized (snowmobiling) and non-motorized (such as snow shoeing and cross country skiing).
• Concern over balancing recreation development with resource/wildlife conservation.
• Need for improved education and enforcement in the forest.
Many in attendance appreciated the format of the meeting, including Wanda Holloway from the Grant County Horse Association who said, “I like the neutral stance of DNR staff. This format allows everyone a chance to be heard.”
What are the next steps?
DNR is encouraging people to apply to be a part of the Naneum Ridge Planning Committee. This 12-member committee will meet approximately 7 times over the next year to develop the recreation management plan. This plan will be developed to meet state trust management obligations, while also ensuring public safety, environmental protection, and access to outdoor recreation opportunities. The committee will be selected to include a broad range of backgrounds, recreational interests, and knowledge of the area.
Committee Application– Deadline: May 9, 2012
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