DNR begins restoration and trail construction in Reiter Foothills Forest
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DNR begins restoration and trail construction in Reiter Foothills Forest 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
October 23, 2009 

DNR begins restoration and trail construction in Reiter Foothills Forest
Temporary closure goes into effect November 2

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be giving extra attention to state trust lands in the Reiter Foothills Forest in southeastern Snohomish County this fall, winter, and spring. DNR staff and volunteers will be restoring damaged habitat, beginning construction on new trail systems, and working to improve public safety.

To accomplish these goals, DNR will temporarily close the Reiter Foothills area to everything but foot traffic beginning November 2. The closure will allow restoration work to proceed more effectively. At the same time, DNR will be working with volunteers to locate trails that are fun, challenging, and environmentally sustainable, with low maintenance.

“We know that many people who enjoy going to Reiter are not happy that we need to temporarily close the area,” said Mark Mauren, DNR’s Recreation Program manager. “We want to assure everyone that we plan to reopen as much of the area as we can before next summer for both motorized and non-motorized recreation.”

DNR chose to start work during the winter months when there is typically less activity in the area. “If we’d closed Reiter in the summer, which is actually a better time to do construction, we knew we would be interrupting the peak time for recreation,” Mauren added.

Why the attention to Reiter?
State trust lands in Reiter Foothills Forest, located 30 miles east of Everett, have long been popular with outdoor enthusiasts—campers, hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, hunters, and off-road vehicle riders. However, Reiter is not yet an established DNR recreation area. And, unfortunately, the popularity and demand for recreation there has led to environmental damage, habitat destruction, and raised concern for the area’s natural resources.

In 2007, the Washington State Legislature recognized the value of Reiter Foothills Forest and funded DNR’s development of a recreation plan. For the past two years, DNR has worked with citizens, user groups, and other partners to create a recreation plan to identify long-term recreation uses and address problems in the area. That work is just wrapping up, and the draft of the Reiter Foothills Forest Recreation Plan will be available for public review in November.

In the meantime, DNR crews and volunteers have begun restoring some of the damaged areas, including reducing the amount of sediments that have been clogging some streams and rehabilitating stream banks to improve fish habitat. In the coming months, DNR will be looking for volunteers to help not only with restoration projects, but to help locate trails and to donate time and heavy equipment to repair damaged areas.

More information about the Reiter Foothills Forest recreation planning process is at: www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/Topics/RecreationPlanning/Pages/amp_rec_reiter_foothills.aspx  

To volunteer at Reiter Foothills, contact David Way at 360-856-3500 or david.way@dnr.wa.gov .

Reiter Foothills — A working forest
DNR manages 3 million acres of state trust lands across Washington, 2 million acres of which are forested. As a part of these working forests— the 10,000-acre Reiter Foothills area provides revenue for state trust beneficiaries, such as Snohomish County and K-12 schools. Keeping the forest healthy is critical to ensuring the sustainability of trust assets for future generations.

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

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