Since 1966, WTA has focused on preserving trail opportunities and funding. In the past ten years, dozens of trails have become inaccessible because roads that led to them washed out or were otherwise damaged.
The recommendations and target areas below are the focus of our 2015 State of Access Report. Check back in late fall 2019 for our newest report and recommendations.
The Westside Road at Mount Rainier and the White Chuck River Road on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS) are two examples of roads that will likely never be reopened. The Suiattle River Road on the MBS is a recent success story of a road reopened after being washed out for over a decade.
Given trends in climate change and declining agency budgets, more roads will be damaged and careful consideration will need to be given when deciding the fate of our forest roads.
State of Access: The Future of Roads on Public Lands
Roads to Fix, Roads to Let Go
Looking at hiker use, cost of repair and environmental impact, WTA recommends the following for each of the eight roads (as of 2015). To learn the story of each road and the details of our position on repair, download the report.
- Suiattle River Road: Critical access to the heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness that has been thoroughly studied and is ready for repair.
- Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road: A successful collaboration of land management agencies and the public to rehabilitate an important recreation area. A paving project should be completed by 2015.
- Carbon River Road: A dynamic landscape rendered road realignment unfeasible, making this road an ideal conversion to a hiker/biker trail to a wilderness campground.
- Dosewallips River Road: An important access road that should be reopened as new repair standards can offer access to the west side of the Olympics.
- Stehekin Road: A little-used mountain road that should not be repaired. Relocation would require realignment of the wilderness boundary, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Illabot River Road: A well-built road threatened by a lack of funding for maintenance that nevertheless should remain open.
- Mountain Loop Highway: A critical recreation access road requiring major repairs on a regular basis necessitates continued investment.
- Mitchell Peak Road: DNR should seek take all reasonable steps to secure an easement for recreational travel.