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Teanaway Community Forest Draft Plan: Ready for Your Review

Posted by Andrea Imler at Apr 09, 2015 03:10 PM |

Hikers, trail runners and others now have the opportunity to read and comment on the draft management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest.

Wildflowers from Teanaway-area trails. Photo by M Lambe.
Hikers, trail runners and others now have the opportunity to read and comment on the draft management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest. Maintaining and expanding recreational opportunities, including hiking trails and camping, is one of the goals of the community forest.

Designated as Washington state’s first community forest, the 50,000- acre Teanaway Community Forest was purchased by the state from a private seller in October 2013 and is a cornerstone of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. With the help of an advisory committee (WTA is a member), the departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) must develop a plan for managing the forest by June 30, 2015.

Working together to develop a management plan that balances five goals

After months of working together, including 15 public committee meetings, three public open houses and field trips in the community forest, DNR and WDFW—with the recommendations of the advisory committee—have produced a draft management plan.

Now, the committee wants to hear what you think about it.

  • Weigh in: Email sepacenter@dnr.wa.gov with your comments by 4:30 p.m. on April 21, 2015. Make sure to include "SEPA File No. 15-040701" in your email subject line.

 

The five goals:

WTA is pleased with the draft management plan. We feel the plan balances the five goals outlined in the legislation to purchase the land and we're excited to see it implemented.

The law that approved the state purchase of the Teanaway Community Forest states that the management plan “must ensure that the land is managed in a manner that is consistent with the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan principles,” including the goals:

  1. To protect watershed health and water quality and quantity;
  2. To maintain the land as a working forest, allowing for forestry and grazing while protecting the watershed and fish habitat;
  3. To provide recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping, birding and snowmobiling;
  4. To conserve and restore wildlife and aquatic habitat; and
  5. To support community partnerships.

Great hiking experiences in the Teanaway

While the community forest doesn’t have an established trail system yet, many people have already discovered what a cool place it is—and the draft management plan reflects the need to provide great experiences to those who live, work and play there.

When it comes to recreation on the forest, here are a few plan highlights that we’re excited about:

  • The advisory committee and state agencies agreed that a sustainable network of safe, enjoyable recreational trails” should be developed for non-motorized trails that accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and others. Those trails should:
      • Emphasize scenic destinations and high-quality experiences;
      • Accommodate multiple skill levels, be designed as loop trails when appropriate, and connect to U.S. Forest Service trails and the regional trail system; and
      • Provide separate trails for specialized uses as appropriate to enhance users’ experiences and safety.
    • Existing partnerships will continue and new collaborations will be established between public agencies, user groups and citizen volunteers. Volunteer trail maintenance and educational programs are important components of how the Teanaway Community Forest will be stewarded in the future.
    • A recreation planning process will take place on the forest. With the recognition that people love to and will want to continue having their adventures in the community forest, the advisory committee recommended that a separate planning process take place to shape how recreation will occur on the forest. A recreation planning committee will help to guide this effort.

Make your voice heard, support trails in the Teanaway Community Forest

The draft management plan is now in the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, which requires the state agencies to conduct analyses and formal outreach to look at environmental impacts and seek input on the plan from the public.

There are two great ways to give feedback:

1. Email before April 21

Now is your chance to make your voice heard in shaping the future of the Teanaway Community Forest. Let the state agencies know that you support trails in the Teanaway Community Forest as an important way for people to explore and enjoy the community forest by foot, bike and horse.

  • Email sepacenter@dnr.wa.gov with your comments by 4:30 p.m. on April 21, 2015. Make sure to include "SEPA File No. 15-040701" in your email subject line.

2. Attend a meeting April 9 

If you live in Cle Elum, the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are hosting an open house on Thursday, April 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Swauk Teanaway Grange (1361 Ballard Road W - Cle Elum, WA 98922). Hear about the draft management plan, talk with staff from DNR and WDFW and submit your comments in person.

Learn more about Washington's first community forest


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