New Camps in the Upper Entiat will provide Equestrian Opportunities
Every year, in early July, I start yearning for the Entiat. I always make sure to fit in a hike before the trails are open to motorcycles, and I'm always rewarded by the low burble of the Entiat River passing over its cobbled bed, cool, shady forests and broad meadows threaded with streams and studded with wildlfowers. It's country treasured by many hikers--and many horse folk as well.
The Entiat Ranger District has recognized the need for more equestrian camping facilities in the Upper Entiat Valley. Hearing from riders locally and statewide, they've pulled together an Environmental Assessment (EA) geared at developing two new horse camping facilities in the valley--one at the North Fork Entiat Trailhead, and one close to the Cottonwood Camp, near the end of the Entiat River Road and adjacent to the Shetipo Creek Trailhead. There are currently no equestrian camping facilities in the valley, forcing riders to either camp on the trail or in meadows without developed facilities. In many cases, doing so cuts crossgrain to the very highly developed leave-no-trace ethic within the equestrian community.
The new equestrian camps create permanent places that will be engineered to withstand intensive equestrian use and provide important amenities like manure composting, water troughs and hitching rails. Taken together, these improvements--requested by the equestrian community--will reduce grazing pressure on meadows and preserve the stunning beauty that hikers and equestrians seek in the North Fork Entiat.