Last Chance to Comment on Motorized Use of State Parks Long-Distance Trails
State Parks needs to hear from hikers, trail runners and bicyclists regarding the future of motorized use on our long-distance trails, like the John Wayne Trail to the Klickitat Trail to the Centennial Trail.
Washington State Parks has begun a process to define motorized use on their long-distance trails, such as the popular John Wayne trail that travels from the town of North Bend east 250 miles to the Idaho border.
The agency has received multiple requests from adjacent land owners for motorized use of long-distance trails for “crossings and linear use of the trail for agricultural and other intermittent uses.”
To respond to those requests, State Parks is seeking public input as they determine a policy and procedures to determine when approval for motorized use on traditionally non-motorized trails should be granted.
Other long-distance trails that would be affected include: the Centennial Trail near Spokane; Willapa Hill Trails from Chehalis to Raymond; Columbia Hills Plateau Trail from East Pasco to Spokane; and the Klickitat Trail in the Columbia Gorge.
State Parks needs to hear from hikers, trail runners and bicyclists regarding the future of motorized use on our long-distance trails. Submit your comments today!
The agency is looking for feedback on the following questions.
When and where is motorized use of the trail surface reasonable and appropriate?
- WTA's response: Long-distance trails are heavily used by hikers, cyclists, skiers, equestrians and rock climbers accessing climbing areas. Non-motorized uses should continue to be the primary focus of long distance trails. Recreational and concessionaire motorized use should not be permitted for long- distance trail use.
- WTA's response: Motorized use of long-distance trails should be restricted to some agricultural use for adjacent land owners to reach their properties. Motorized use ( via crossings and/or linear travel) should be permitted only in circumstances where there are absolutely no viable alternatives, such as an adjacent/alternate road or the permitted user cannot construct an access road to their property.
When motorized use is allowed, what limitations should be enforced?
- WTA's response: The size and type of vehicles that may be authorized should not prevent safe passing of/by hikers, skiers, bicyclists or equestrians.
What kind of monitoring is needed to ensure state property and facilities are protected?
- WTA's response: A consistent permitting process should be used for evaluating applications for motorized agricultural use. This process should include a public comment period on each permit application.
What fees are appropriate? (How much should a permit cost? How should trail damage be addressed?)
- WTA's response: A permit fee should be charged that is sufficient to cover the costs to State Parks for both the evaluation process and ongoing inspection to ensure compliance with permit requirements. In addition, as part of the permitting process, permittees should be held fully responsible for all costs associated with repair to any damage that is done to the trail.
Comment today, time is running out!
Submit your comments via a form on Washington State Parks’ website by Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.