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Jarhead
November 18th, 2009, 03:10 PM
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has released its Draft Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan. While we support making Reiter an official ORV area, we have serious concerns about the current plan.

Historically about 4000 acres of the 10,000 acre area being studied has been used by ORV. The DNR plan proposes limiting motorized use to about only 1100 acres.

Even though the DNR research shows that off-road motorcycling is the most popular use, the plan contains no specific mention of facilitating it.

The way things currently stand there is no guarantee that there will be any single track trails open to motorized use.

More information on the plan can be found by following this link:

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/Topics/RecreationPlanning/Pages/amp_rec_reiter_foothills.aspx


YOU can help correct this injustice by providing written comments to the DNR before December 4th.

Comments should be submitted to the SEPA Center at, sepacenter@dnr.wa.gov or P.O. Box 47015, Olympia, Washington 98504-7015

Reference SEPA File No. 09-111001 at the start of your comments.

Here are some sample comments to consider:


The area the plan allocates for motorized recreation is significantly inadequate to facilitate the current recreational usage. The DNR staff involved with developing the plan concur with this finding. This shortcoming is addressable as noted below.

According to the map shown in figure 8 additional land suitable for motorized trail use is available in the central and western portions of the study area.

Excluding motorized recreation in areas identified as potential aquifer recharge areas is not consistent with restrictions as listed in Appendix A which contains no such noted exclusion.

Appendix E shows the motorcyclists are the largest user group, but the study does not specifically address their recreational needs.

It is important that the DNR recognizes that different types of ORV use have different impacts on the landscape. Just because the largest ORV may not be appropriate in a specific area that should not preclude allowing lightweight two wheeled ORV access.

We strongly recommend that lightweight two wheeled ORV access be included in the central and western portion of the planning area.

This recommendation is consistent with the DNR goals as stated on page 3:

"Goal 1: Ensure the safety of the public, department employees and volunteers.
Goal 2: Ensure recreation is consistent with trust obligations.
Goal 3: Ensure recreation is consistent with resource protection.
Goal 4: Provide quality recreation experiences that can be sustained over time."

On page 34, under the heading of "Statewide Recreation on DNR-managed Lands" it is stated that "Some sites and trails are designated for only motorized or non-motorized use". The DNR has acknowledged that this statement is misleading, but it is actually false. There are no DNR managed recreation areas where motorized recreation is allowed and non-motorized recreation is specifically prohibited.

This must be considered when evaluating the portion of the area available for various trail users and the proportional balance goals.

Prioritizing motorized recreation at Reiter is consistent with the DNR's Statewide Recreation Program Vision and Management Goals as stated on page 3. "DNR envisions a future in which the lands it manages offer distinct and diverse outdoor recreation opportunities within the overall fabric of recreation in Washington."

The overall fabric of recreation in Washington includes prohibitions on motorized trail recreation in all National Parks, all Wilderness Areas, all Natural Resource Conservation Areas, all State Parks (except the 600 acre Riverside facility near Spokane), the Mt Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest, the vast majority of county and city parks. At a statewide level motorized trail use is prohibited on over 80 percent of the trail mileage. In the areas adjacent to the Reiter area that prohibition is 100 percent.

When considering the overall fabric it is reasonable for all areas within the Reiter study area that are found to be suitable for motorized recreation to be incorporated in the plan as areas where some form of motorized trail recreation is allowed.