Recreation and Restoration
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Recreation and Restoration 
Volunteers help to restore sections of the Jones Creek ORV Trail. Photo: DNR/Jessica Kimmick 


DNR-managed state trust lands provide a variety of recreation opportunities for non-motorized and motorized uses. These public places are part of what makes Washington State such a great place to live and to visit.

As the state’s steward of these public lands, DNR must strike a balance between providing access for recreation and sustainably managing these lands to protect natural resources and ensure water quality.

Unfortunately, resource damage does occur in some of these recreation areas. 

DNR is fortunate to have a cadre of dedicated volunteers and user groups that give their time to work on restoration projects and maintain trails and facilities.

In addition, DNR has conducted comprehensive recreation planning in several of our highest-need areas, most recently including:

In the future, DNR would like to conduct recreation planning in many more areas throughout Washington state as budget and resources allow. Recreation plans—with public input—are among the tools DNR uses to balance recreation with the long-term environmental health of state trust lands


The following areas are some examples of recreation restoration at work:

Eastern Snohomish County, near Gold Bar
The situation: Reiter has long been a popular area with outdoor recreationists, yet this block of DNR-managed forestland had never been developed as a designated recreation area. A network of user-built trails crisscrosses the forest.
Resource damage:

  • Water quality compromised and sediment disturbed as a result of motorized and non-motorized traffic crossing through streams and over stream banks.
  • Damage to tree bark and vegetation.
  • Sensitive habitats/riparian areas disturbed.
  • Soil compaction.

Restoration work: One of the largest restoration efforts involving volunteers on DNR-managed land is taking place at Reiter. Throughout the winter of 2009-2010, restoration efforts focused on stabilizing stream banks to prevent sediments from clogging streams and creeks. Other projects include planting native vegetation in areas that had been disturbed and blocking off and reclaiming old user-built access routes.

DNR staff are finalizing the Reiter Foothills Recreation Plan. Working with citizens and user group representatives, DNR is developing a long-term management plan for Reiter, which will include new trail systems and facilities for non-motorized and motorized recreation.

 BEFORE: May Creek, Reiter Foothills ForestAFTER
May Creek in Reiter Foothills Forest before restoration Fall 2009. Photo: DNR/David Way May Creek, Reiter Foothills Forest, after restoration work. Feb 2010. Photo: DNR/David Way

Prior to restoration in February 2010, off-road vehicles would drive down the stream bank and through May Creek, causing sediments to flow into the stream, which threatened water quality in the area. Photo: DNR/David Way

On February 13, 2010, volunteers began restoring the stream bank along May Creek by spreading mulch to suppress weeds and prevent mud from sliding into the creek and planting the area with native vegetation. In addition, this work blocks off access through the stream. Photo: DNR/David Way

More Reiter Foothills Forest restoration photos

Yacolt Burn State Forest, Southwest Washington
The situation: People were riding four-wheel-drive vehicles through a wetland area near Rock Creek Campground.
Resource damage:

  • Natural flow of the wetland area was completely diverted by off-road vehicles. Wet areas where skunk cabbage once grew were completely dry.
  • Vandals had been using the area to dump garbage.

Restoration work: In 2009, volunteers from the Pacific Northwest Four-Wheel Drive Association and Pistons Wild Motorsports worked in partnership with a DNR biologist and staff to restore the wetland and repair the ruts caused by tire treads.

 BEFORE: Dole Valley, Yacolt Burn State ForestAFTER
Damage to wetland in Dole Valley, Yacolt Burn State Forest. Photo: DNR/Jessica Kimmick Dole Valley, after restoration of wetland by DNR staff/volunteers. Photo: Courtesy of Pistons Wild Motorsports
Damage to wetland due to Illegal off-road riding. Photo: DNR/Jessica KimmickVolunteers and DNR staff restored the wetland by repairing the breach in that diverted water flow to the wetland and by replanting the area with native vegetation that thrives in wet areas. Photo: Courtesy of Pistons Wild Motorsports

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