FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2009
Law enforcement, volunteer patrols begin education and awareness emphasis in Reiter Foothills
Goal is to reduce impact; recreation plan to be adopted
OLYMPIA – Starting Friday, May 1, Reiter Foothills will be the focus of an intensive education and awareness campaign, lead by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in cooperation with local and state law enforcement and volunteers from the community.
For years, the 10,000-acre forest located in eastern Snohomish County has been a popular destination for outdoor recreationists, particularly off-road vehicle (ORV) riders. Unauthorized trail building and riding in environmentally sensitive areas has strained the area’s natural resources, especially fish-bearing streams and streambeds. Littering, garbage dumping, vandalism, and unsafe shooting have contributed to the problem and created concerns for public safety.
“If you’ve been to Reiter, you know how bad the situation is,” said Larry Raedel, Chief Law Enforcement Officer for DNR. “Responsible ORV riders have been our allies, and now you’re going to see a lot more law enforcement officers, DNR staff, and volunteers patrolling the area and talking to the public about where they can and cannot ride and camp.”
In addition to the increased law enforcement presence, DNR staff will post signs throughout the area that will clearly communicate where the public can recreate and what kinds of behavior are not acceptable.
“We’re emphasizing education and awareness,” Raedel said. “We want Reiter Hills to be a safe, enjoyable place to visit. But if we see anyone engaging in illegal activities, we will issue citations.”
DNR has reallocated existing funds on a one-time basis to pay for additional law enforcement officers from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office through June 30; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers also will assist in enforcement.
Long-term plan for Reiter due out this summer
The education and awareness campaign will continue through June 30. After June, DNR will have a recreation plan that will guide the management of recreation in Reiter Foothills. For the last year, DNR and a special citizens’ advisory committee have been working on the plan. The committee consists of representatives from diverse user groups and local community members. These individuals are working collaboratively to come up with recommendations that are based on the best available science. The public will be able to comment on a draft of the report when it goes through the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) review process.
For more information about Reiter Foothills, contact DNR Northwest Region Office staff: Bill Wallace at 360-854-2801, or Candace Johnson at 360-854-2803.
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 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, and boating.
DNR’s main recreation focus is to provide trails, trailhead facilities, and a primitive experience in a natural setting.
Media Contact: Toni Droscher, Communications and Outreach Specialist, 360-485-3406 (mobile), and email@example.com
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