Changes at Walker Valley Due to Irresponsible Users
Apr 12, 2001
Thanks for your e-mail on the subject of Walker Valley. Public Lands
Commissioner Doug Sutherland has asked me to provide a response to the many ORV enthusiasts like yourself who have contacted us with concerns about Walker Valley.
We are pleased to be able to provide a managed ORV site. It’s
important for you to know that the department certainly does not have any plans to close the ORV park at Walker Valley. However, it’s also important to note that some of the neighbors have raised legitimate issues that need to be addressed.
My staff will continue to work with ORV user groups, neighbors, and the county to come up with solutions for many of the concerns that have been raised. The major issues receiving priority attention from DNR are illegal activities: reckless shooting that is endangering lives, trespass (where ORV riders use unauthorized trails that access private property), ORV noise that exceeds legal limits, illegal campfires, speeding (especially on Peter Burns Road, the county road, and DNR roads), and underage drinking. We are aware that a small percentage of the public users are causing the problems –
and many are not ORV users.
From our talks with some of the neighbors, concern was also expressed about obnoxious nighttime activity, which includes noise and drinking, and people knocking on doors and windows in the middle of the night. Also, there is concern for property and fear of vandalism at the Boy Scout camp, especially during winter.
The department has decided, once we talk with ORV user groups, to place signs at the ORV site indicating its closure dusk-to-dawn, except for organized groups with written authorization. This nighttime closure will be in effect for the remainder of 2001. It is hoped this restriction will help reduce unauthorized campfires, gatherings where underage drinking takes place, and the other nighttime nuisances experienced by the neighbors.
We blocked the power line access in January, and we are cutting off all
unauthorized trails we locate in an effort to block trespass onto private property. We will support the neighbors’ efforts to seek help from the county for a no-shooting area on state and private land, and we also plan to gate the road into the rock pit to reduce shooting in this area. We also want to make sure ORV decibel levels are within legal limits, and we’ll enforce legal use of campfires.
We are under way with a complete assessment of issues (ORV users, neighbors, and environmental) of the Walker Valley riding area (to be completed by the end of the year). Once the assessment is completed, the department will develop specific objectives and strategies to address significant issues.
For example, we will likely examine things such as whether to continue limiting the site to day-use only and whether certain trails should be relocated. Through all of this, the DNR will continue to work with the neighbors, ORV users, and the county in identifying issues and developing solutions.
Stan Kurowski and Christ Thomsen are the department staff managing the Walker Valley ORV area. They work closely with ORV groups and individuals as well as with the neighbors and county officials. They can be contacted by calling the department’s Northwest Region office in Sedro-Woolley, at
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us to share your concerns.
Northwest Region manager, Department of Natural Resources
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