Steelhead advocates have closed a deal for 8 acres on Washington’s lower Grande Ronde and will soon transfer it to WDFW, permanently protecting the land and ensuring continued public access to good summer-run and smallmouth waters.
The joint project of the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club of Spokane, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Washington Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Washington State Council of Fly Fishers International raised $35,000-plus to purchase the property from willing sellers Lynn “Radar” and Kay Miller.
WDFW did not having the funding to acquire it in the short term, so the fishing groups were tapped.
WSC termed it “a testament to what the angling community can accomplish when we work collaboratively on behalf of anglers and wild steelhead.”
The Millers have long allowed public access on the 2,000 feet of riverfront known as Turkey Run — there’s a WDFW parking area and outhouse — and in deciding to sell it wanted to continue that tradition.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Radar and Kay Miller for putting the public good ahead of profit and choosing to sell this land to us, and in turn, the general public,” said WSC board member Josh Mills in a press release. “As they had hoped, this land will now be permanently protected for future generations. The Grande Ronde is my home river, and someday soon I plan to take my boys to this piece of water to show them this special place and teach them the value of public lands.”
The Wild Steelhead Coalition should not be confused with the Wild Fish Conservancy.
The deal will also benefit bass and whitefish anglers who target the Ronde between its mouth and the county bridge.
WSC says that signage will be put up on the site thanking the Millers and describing wild summer steelhead issues in the Snake River watershed.