Just over a year ago the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) began an exciting endeavor to jointly manage the state’s first community forest. Since then, we believe we’ve made good progress toward preserving the more than 50,200 acres located in the Teanaway Valley near Cle Elum.
In February, our agencies selected a diverse and committed group of advisory committee members to provide input on a management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest. The 20-member group includes representatives from the Yakama Nation, local community, conservation organizations, and several recreation groups.
The Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee met 10 times in 2014, devising objectives and strategies for watershed protection, fish and wildlife habitat, forestry and grazing. Committee members also have discussed recreation and community involvement in the forest.
The public continues to engage around this beautiful landscape. DNR and WDFW, with help from the committee, held well-attended public open houses in June and December regarding future management of the forest. In addition, we have reviewed the more than 1,400 public comments provided online.
In the meantime, the agencies and volunteers have completed several efforts on behalf of the Teanaway Community Forest, including:
- Volunteers helped prepare the forest’s campgrounds for summer recreation by removing damaged picnic tables, cleaning out fire rings and picking up litter. In the fall, volunteers returned to remove litter and perform maintenance to prepare the campgrounds for winter. Overall, volunteers logged 268 hours of time in the community forest in 2014.
- Crews repaired 11 miles of road in the forest, including a nearly 5-mile stretch of dirt road at the end of the Middle Teanaway Road, improving driving access to Indian Creek campground and three U.S. Forest Service trails. Work crews also replaced a culvert that was restricting the movement of fish in a tributary of Jungle Creek.
- New informational kiosks were installed at three locations and hazardous trees were removed at campgrounds.
The DNR and WDFW would like to thank the members of the advisory committee and volunteers for their hard work and continued commitment to the Teanaway Community Forest throughout 2014. And, as we move into 2015 and management plan completion, we encourage you to become, or stay, involved via our e-newsletter or online resources!