DNR ORV Users' Meeting (North Fork Area, Walker Valley, Reiter Trails)
Jan 10, 2001
DNR ORV Users Meeting 1-10-01
Future meeting dates as follows (every other month on the second Wednesday of each month):
March 14, 2001
May 9, 2001
July 11, 2001
September 12, 2001
November 14, 2001
Stan Kurowski introduced new Public Use Manager, Crist Thompson. Christ has been with the agency about a month coming to the DNR from Nevada State Parks.
Individuals represented Northern Toys 4wd Club, Rainier Ridge Rams 4x4 Club, BEST, Skagit Motorcycle Club and themselves as individual users.
North Fork area:
The area is open for use. Accessing State land is another issue, the road to the state land is owned by Trillium Corporation. Currently Trillium has not given users open use to cross their land. The DNR has an Administrative Easement to access their property; this is for DNR officials and employees to use and does not cover open use by the public. If you gain access to state land, do NOT play or go on gravel bars or anywhere near the river. THIS IS NOT PERMITTED. Access had been tank trapped and posted as no access but signs do get shot down and ORVS have been known to maneuver beyond trail barriers.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife have concerns with any use below the gravel pit i.e. towards the river as well as any live streams (those with active water flow)- Stay out of all active streams. Continued abuse by crossing will only encourage state officials to put up a gate and completely restrict access. There has been reported activity by Whatcom County Sheriff in the area; it is unknown if this has been at the urging of Trillium or private landowners in the area. Jesse Herrick, E&E officer will check into this and find out if and why the Sheriff office is patrolling.
Walker Valley ORV Park:
There are some issues - not completely known to Stan having to do with IAC funding for the new Trail head/Parking lot area. Marc Thor is still in charge of this project. It has not had any forward progression for many many months. ORV Users/group members are frustrated at the lack of activity to get this task accomplished.
Crist Thompson will be dealing with NON-ORV issues. His main goal right now is to draft an assessment plan by the end of January 2001. A complete assessment of the ORV Park and its trails will be finished by the end of 2001. Once that assessment is complete both users and neighbors will be involved in any recommendations suggested by Crist. Ecological as well as environmental impacts on the land will be considered as well as user need such as more trails or different types of trails, for example more multi-use, quad or 4x4 use. The Plan that was drawn up in 1990 to address user needs will be revisited during this current assessment.
One thing is for sure according to Stan that the trail system will not extend beyond the Township line.
The B1000 gate has been torched through for someone to gain access. A white Ford pickup was witnessed in the area. There is NO casual access through this gate at any time. The pile of rocks or the mud on either sides of the B1000 gate was meant as a deterrent not a challenge. DO NOT climb over the rock or attempt to exit through the swamp or through the stream this is NOT PERMITTED and if caught you will face a ticket. Four wheel drive access is through the lower jeep access trail that leaves the B1000 road approximately 1 mile west of the B1000 gate and is signed or back through either of the two 4 wheel drive trails, the Jeep Cross Trail or the main Jeep Trail. If you break somewhere in the middle or on the way out - TOUGH BEANS, that is part of 4wheeling, do not ask to be let out of the B1000 gate - especially if you see a DNR official in the area, use the allowed exit routes for the park. Apparently a group of 4x4s asked a DNR official to open the gate because the mud puddles on the lower Jeep Trail (or HoCheMinh Trail) were too deep. Unfortunately this was asked of the Regional Manager who is not fond of 4x4's as it is. It was under his approval that 4x4s have the lower Jeep Access Route so that someone would not have to take the longer route back through the main Jeep Trail. He was disgusted at this and did not give exit through the gate.
It has been the efforts of the 4x4s and the Forest Watch Program that have allowed the park to remain accessible to 4wds, but this may terminate due to abuse at any time. The Forest Watch Program activity has dwindled significantly and if users want to continue to use the park, we need to jump back on this activity and soon.
At the request of Northern Toys another Forest Watch training program has been set up tentatively for Saturday, February 24th at the DNR Office in Sedro Woolley.
It was suggested by the users that a speed limit sign be posted on the Peter Burns Road, the main road through the park. Even though the DNR does not have the manpower to enforce this sign, it will be a heads up to users that there is a limit, currently many users travel too fast for road conditions. Stan Kurowski will look in to this matter and see if it can be done.
Lori Taylor, Skagit Motorcycle Club questioned the logging practices at WV and asked if it was a requirement of the loggers to clear the brush off the trail once logging was completed. According to changes in DNR policy it is not mandated that the loggers clear brush from the trail. The Land Management side of the DNR controls that issue as the trails portion is overseen by the Recreational Use side for which Stan, Nancy Barker, Jesse Herrick and Crist Thompson work under.
Stan has taken the position that if we as users lose trail mileage due to road construction that somehow we will regain that lost mileage either on that trail or another trail in the park. This assessment that Crist is doing will track existing trails and take that into consideration. Stan stressed the logging of hours spend on trail maintenance and upkeep, this helps document with Land Managers the active part the ORV Users are taking in the park and may help keep it accessible.
The new conversion trail is just that conversion of motorcycle to multi-use the work to convert the trail is currently being done by the 4wd users such as Northern Toys 4wd Club and Rainier Ridge Rams who will be holding another work party this Saturday, January 13, 2001. Discussion on 4wd barriers to motorcycle trails was also addressed and will be implemented in the coming months. One of the issues is that some of the motorcycle trails are not signed and if wide enough those not familiar with the park with 4x4s are running motorcycle trails which is a BIG NO-NO.
A guest at the meeting wanted user thoughts on which trails would be best to use for a foot race that he wanted to put on in the park. Both users and DNR officials made other suggestions for locations such as Blanchard Mountain, Harry Osborne Riding area (Horse only area) rather than the ORV park which is geared toward Off Road Vehicles.
Nancy Barker, Volunteer Trails Coordinator noted that there will be logging activity above Mobius Trail, a motorcycle only trail and that road will affect part of the trail.
Skagit Motorcycle Club noted that they were having a Poker Run at WV on March 25th.
The Trials Club will be having a club event at WV on Feb. 4th. This brought up discussion on club versus open competition. If you advertise your event in any manner you are required to fill out the DNR Permit and obtain 2million-dollar insurance policy for coverage of your event. The Risk Management Division of the DNR not the local office has imposed this amount.
No longer referred to as Reiter Pit, as everyone is trying to improve the "image" of the area. There was no current information on the status of the park or its possibilities of becoming one. The DNR still wants the County itself to manage the park, as the DNR does not have the resources to do so. Apparently Candice did a tour of the area and the DNR officials noted the damage to the logging roads. The amount of use on the road and lack of grading is causing damage. They are not currently logging up there and hence don't see the need to have to maintain the road, yet they are being forced to upkeep due to user use/abuse.
A main topic of discussion was the impact ORV's have on trees. Apparently trees don't grow as well with soil compacted around them. Soil compaction happens with tires constantly going over the soil around a tree, the tighter trails this is more evident. This soil compaction tends to rot the trees faster, which in turn causes the trees not to mature as well as trees not subject to that type of treatment. These trees that don't mature, degrades the value of the trees and leads to lower re-salable income from logging which puts less money into the trust. The DNR lands are managed as Trust lands, meaning that they are managed to produce income to support local fire districts, schools and counties. Even once logged severely compacted soils make it hard for re-forestation and new growth to occur.
This explanation by Stan finally shed some light on the affects of 4wheeling on DNR lands and how it affects revenue.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:40 p.m.
Northern Toys 4wd Club
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