State DNR releases final Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan
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State DNR releases final Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                     
April 22, 2010
 
State DNR releases final Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan
Plan calls for safe and sustainable recreation, adds new technical challenge courses

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today released the final comprehensive recreation plan for the Reiter Foothills Forest in southeastern Snohomish County. The plan will guide the sustainable management of recreation in the area, while providing a variety of enjoyable, safe, and challenging recreation experiences.

“I’m pleased to see this plan come to completion,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “It will provide a much-needed roadmap for developing sustainable recreation opportunities for a broad range of recreation activities in Reiter Foothills Forest.”

The plan identifies roughly 2,000 acres suitable for recreation trail development in the 10,000-acre working forest block and divides the recreation area into motorized and non-motorized areas. A concept map showing the planning area can be found online at: www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/amp_rec_reiter_plan_concept_map_april2010.pdf  

“Dividing the uses into motorized and non-motorized will help improve safety and diminish conflict among different user groups,” said Mark Mauren, DNR’s Recreation Program Manager. “We’ve seen this approach work successfully on other DNR landscapes, such as Capitol Forest south of Olympia.”

A great deal of Reiter Foothills Forest has very steep terrain, which isn’t suited for sustaining trails—both from an environmental, water quality and safety perspective. DNR is focusing more on providing a network of challenging, technical courses for off-road vehicles (ORV) and for mountain biking. Trails are also being planned for hiking and horseback riding.

“This will be a great place for people to come and test their skills,” Mauren added.

Staff from DNR have been working with a focus group to develop the trail systems. Last week, DNR unveiled a draft option for motorized trails to the group. Next week, they will introduce a draft option for non-motorized recreation trails.

Final recreation plan and SEPA
DNR evaluated the plan for any significant impacts to the environment through the Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) public review process. The SEPA review of the Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan is now complete, and the final determination and information can be found online at: www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/SEPANonProject/Pages/amp_sepa_nonpro_reiter_jan.aspx  

The Reiter Foothills Recreation Plan can be found at: www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/Topics/RecreationPlanning/Pages/amp_rec_reiter_foothills.aspx  

For more information on how people can volunteer to help put the plan to work in the Reiter Foothills Forest, contact David Way at 360-854-2830 or david.way@dnr.wa.gov 

Project Location

Recreation planning in Reiter Foothills Forest
In 2008, the Washington State Legislature approved funds to develop a recreation plan for Reiter Foothills Forest. The plan was developed with considerable public input and involved representation from a broad range of recreational users, local citizens and governments, and conservation groups. A planning committee of citizens and DNR staff examined scientific data about geology, soils, and the biology of the area to better understand what parts of the forest were most suitable for locating new trail systems.

Reiter Foothills Forest, located near Gold Bar, has long been a popular place for recreation—even though it hasn’t been designated as an official recreation area by DNR. Visitors to the area have created their own network of trails—for motorized and non-motorized recreation. Many of these user-established trails run through sensitive habitats and stream crossings, which has impacted the environmental health of the area. In addition, some of the trails and bridges built by users pose serious risk to public safety.
 
Since November 2009, DNR has had to temporarily close Reiter Foothills Forest to all but foot traffic so that crews and volunteers could work on stabilizing stream banks, restore damage, and begin to plan locations for new trails. DNR will reopen the area in several phases, starting with areas that require the least amount of permitting for new trail construction.

As a state trust land, Reiter Foothills Forest is a working forest and provides revenue for many state institutions such as K-12 education. The plan ensures that recreation in Reiter is compatible with DNR’s responsibility to managing the trust and its assets.

Recreation on DNR-managed lands
DNR manages more than 5 million acres of state-owned forest, aquatic, agricultural, conservation and urban lands. Most recreation on these lands takes place in the 2.2 million acres of forests that DNR manages as state trust lands. By law, state trust lands are managed to produce income for schools, universities, prisons, state mental hospitals, community colleges, local services in many counties, and the state’s General Fund. State trust lands are also managed to provide fish and wildlife habitat and educational and recreational opportunities.

DNR-managed lands provide approximately 1,100 miles of trails, 143 recreation sites, and a variety of landscapes throughout Washington State. Recreational opportunities include hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, motorized vehicle riding, mountain biking, boating, and more.

DNR’s main recreation focus is to provide trails, trailhead facilities, and a primitive experience in a natural setting.

Media Contact: Toni Droscher, Recreation Program Communications Manager, 360-902-1523, or toni.droscher@dnr.wa.gov .

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