A 15-Year Vision For Trails: Meet The Teanaway Community Forest
After one and a half years, the final draft of the Teanaway Community Forest is finally here!
After a year and a half of collaborative planning, the recreation plan for the 50,000-acre Teanaway Community Forest is almost complete. One thing it now needs? Final input from hikers like you!
The recreation plan will guide recreation management and public access in the Community Forest for the next 15 years. The plan will proceed through a state environmental review process beginning on October 24, and will remain open for public comment for two weeks until November 7. Washington's departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife estimate they'll adopt a plan in early December.
Thank you for Submit your comments in SUPPORT OF THE PLAN!
Writing a public comment can be intimidating, but we've tried to make it easy for you. WTA strongly supports the plan, and we hope you'll join us by commenting! Here are some points to include in your comment. The plan includes:
- A good mix of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding experiences, ranging from family-friendly nature interpretive trails to more primitive backpacking trails.
- Trail connections to local communities (such as Cle Elum, Roslyn, Ronald).
- Trail connections to existing trails on adjacent national forest lands.
- An area in the West Fork Teanaway for non-motorized winter recreation, including proposed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.
- Trailhead parking and restroom facilities at a level that meets user demand.
- Camping area improvements for 29 Pines, Teanaway and Indian Camp.
REFRESHER: WHAT'S THE TEANAWAY COMMUNITY FOREST?
The state purchased the 50,241-acre Teanaway Community Forest (TCF) with funding from the Legislature in 2013, making it Washington’s first community forest. Community forests can be managed for benefits other than revenue, including watershed protection, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, grazing, and timber production.
The forest has long been a popular place for recreation with three campgrounds, river access spots and a medley of user-built trails. Together with insight and expertise provided by local communities and the recreating public, the Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee spent the last 18 months creating a plan that ensures recreational activities and facilities are consistent with restoration goals while also providing a sustainable network of recreational trails for motorized and non-motorized use. WTA’s Advocacy Director Andrea Imler sits on this committee.
What Hikers Want in the Teanaway Community Forest
To best serve the hiking community, WTA conducted our own survey of hikers in summer 2017. We shared this information with the Teanaway Community Forest full stakeholder advisory committee, which helped demonstrate the importance of trails and foot-based recreation in the forest.
Feedback from hikers helped bolster support for opportunities for solitude, developing a network of trails, connecting trails to local communities, providing parking and bathroom facilities and minimizing environmental impacts.
WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON LATELY
An October 1 meeting provided the opportunity to meet new staff, get updates on the recreation plan and environmental review process, review community partnerships efforts, and discuss advisory committee logistics for 2019.
The community is invited to a meeting on October 24, with the Advisory Committee and agency staff at the Putnam Community Center in Cle Elum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to learn about the recreation plan. At this meeting, agency staff and committee members will be available to discuss the concepts, priorities, strategies, and tools from the two-year planning effort. You will also learn how to comment during the two-week environmental review. The plan can be found here.
STAY IN THE LOOP
Project information, meeting documents and other details are available at the Teanaway Community Forest planning web page.