NACHES—Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest managers plan to implement a seasonal closure on Naches Ranger District motorized trails from April 1 until June 15 to protect natural resources, minimize damage to trails and maintain quality trail systems.
They have implemented similar temporary closures the past two years in wet spring months and will open trails earlier if drier conditions warrant it.
Naches Ranger District recreation managers have worked with motorized user groups to implement the closures in a manner that minimizes impacts to the public, while protecting natural resources. Both motorized and non-motorized user group members often volunteer to maintain trails and help educate the public on the adverse impacts of traveling on muddy trails. These impacts often include increased soil erosion and additional trail maintenance.
The Naches Ranger District seasonal restrictions apply to all trails with any type of motorized designation and includes all trail users, motorized or non-motorized.
Selected closure dates are flexible and based on weather information and existing trail conditions. Trails in different areas may open earlier or later than June 15. The Forest Service and volunteer partners will make every effort to keep trails cleared of logs and other forest debris so trail systems can be opened as soon as they dry out.
Approved volunteers will be permitted on certain trails prior to the opening date to assist with maintenance and help make trail opening determinations.
Naches Ranger District volunteers have proven to be an invaluable resource to the recreation program.
“Volunteers on the Naches Ranger District donated over 1,700 hours to motorized trail maintenance in just 2012 alone,” Naches Ranger District Recreation Planner Sue Ranger said. “The district looks forward to strengthening its relationships with its volunteers and utilizing their experience in monitoring trail conditions.”
Naches District Ranger Irene Davidson said, “Law enforcement patrols, communication, and self-policing by trail users will increase the effectiveness of a seasonal motorized trail closures. Employees will continue to collaborate with local law enforcement to follow through with seasonal restrictions.”
Information on the closure will be made available through signs on major roads, news releases, radio announcements and website notices. These same communication methods will be used to inform the public when trails open.
Naches Ranger District recreation managers will continue to assess the effectiveness of the spring motorized trail closure with regard to the intent of protecting trails and reducing annual maintenance needs.