Future of the Icicle Road to be Studied
The Icicle Road, just outside of Leavenworth, provides access to some of the most scenic hikes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The upper Icicle Valley hosts the Snow Lake trailhead, which is the jumping-off point for the Enchantments, as well as the Eightmile Road, leading hikers to the Colchuck Lake trailhead. If these were the only wilds reached by this road, it'd still be world-class. But up-valley rambling reveals more treasures, including the Jack and Chatter Creek trailheads and the Icicle Gorge Loop.
These and other trailheads, not to mention a number of lovely riverside campgrounds, have been out of reach, except by long and arduous road-walking, since May 2008. That's when high snow levels and record heat triggered a debris avalanche that blocked Icicle Creek and swamped the road under a dozen feet of water for months. The road suffered extensive damage, and now the Wenatchee River Ranger District is seeking input into how to restore access to the upper valley.
Specifically, they propose to reconstruct and relocate 1.5 miles of road between Big Slide and Ida Creeks and decommission the old road-bed into a trail. They’re just starting to gather preliminary data and comments — a process known as “scoping” — to refine their plans for the road.
WTA is excited to see this process start, since the Icicle is such an important part of our recreational road infrastructure. That said, we’ll have questions as the project moves forward. Road relocation comes at a significant cost, both from a planning and project implementation perspective. We'll track the project and its costs and impacts as the District moves forward.
To get your voice heard during the scoping phase, contact the Wenatchee River Ranger District by November 9 at email@example.com and include “Icicle River” in the subject line.
Alternately, you can snail mail the District at Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District, 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, WA 98826. Finally, contact Project Team Leader Don Youkey at (509) 548-2580 with any questions.