Tag Archives: wenas wildlife area

18 WDFW Fish, Wildlife, Recreation Acquisition Proposals Out For Comment

Washington land managers have their eyes on nearly 7,000 acres across the state for fish and wildlife habitat, angling, hunting and other recreational uses and are asking for comment on them.

The 18 proposals range from padding wildlife areas and purchasing inholdings in Eastern Washington to conserving and restoring Puget Sound estuaries to strategic partnerships with counties and improved access to salmon streams.

ATTENDEES AT THE DEDICATION OF THE 4-O RANCH UNIT OF THE CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREA IN MAY 2017 LOOK TOWARDS A 770-ACRE PARCEL OWNED BY THE 4-0 CATTLE COMPANY THAT WDFW WOULD NOW LIKE TO PURCHASE. OWNERS TYPICALLY APPROACH THE STATE ABOUT BUYING THEIR LAND; WDFW WHICH IS REQUIRED TO ONLY PAY MARKET VALUE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Our goal is to protect land and water for people and wildlife throughout the state while preserving natural and cultural heritage,” said WDFW lands manager Cynthia Wilkerson in a press release.

They’re all far from done deals. Public input over the next three weeks will help determine which will move forward to be competitively ranked against other agencies’, cities’, counties’ and organizations’ proposals. Funding would be sought through state and federal grants for recreation, habitat and endangered species.

WDFW’s 2020 wish list is more than twice as long as last year’s and it’s notable for several proposals.

A 420-acre property in the lower Methow valley would not only protect “crucial sagebrush steppe habitat” for mule deer and other species, but help “(cultivate) a critical partnership with Okanogan County.”

That county is one of the last best places to do big things in terms of wildlife habitat, but local commissioners and residents have also bristled about state land buys and their impacts to tax rolls.

Buying the ground on top of a bench above the tiny town of Methow would allow WDFW to “partner with the county and facilitate their access to additional rock sources for public works projects.”

The project has the support of Okanogan County, the agency notes.

(WDFW)

Other big acquisitions include a quartet in extreme Southeast Washington.

The largest is 1,650 acres on Harlow Ridge, which includes a series of flats and timbered draws between upper South Fork Asotin and George Creeks west of Anatone.

Adjacent to the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area, it would protect elk winter range and calving areas, as well as “rare and imperiled remnant prairie habitats and endemic plants.”

“Department staff have been responding to elk damage in the Cloverland area and the purchase of this property would help to alleviate damage issues by providing alternate forage,” WDFW adds.

It has support from the Asotin County Sportsmen’s Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 643-acre Green Gulch buy would link sections of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area on the west side of the divide between Hells Canyon and Joseph Creek, “providing connectivity for mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and other species” and “a great deal of recreational opportunity such as, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and bird watching.”

RMEF, the sportsmen’s association and the Asotin County Lands Committee all support it.

The pro-hunting and -elk organization also gives the thumbs up to adding another 770 acres to the spectacular 4-O Wildlife Area, purchased in chunks earlier this decade from rancher Mike Odom. If approved it would bring the unit along and above the Grande Ronde River to 11,234 acres, or 17.5 square miles.

A bit further west is a 720-acre patch that butts up against the Umatilla National Forest and which WDFW would like to add to the Grouse Flats Wildlife Area.

“The property is heavily used by elk, deer, bears, cougars, and wolves with many non-game species present. Numerous springs, wetlands, and Bear Creek on the property will continue to provide quality riparian habitat that should improve over time in public ownership,” WDFW states.

Recent pics from a site evaluation show it might need some cleaning up. RMEF supports the buy.

(WDFW)

In Yakima County is a 1,105-acre parcel on the west side of Wenas Lake that WDFW is looking at for as a habitat conservation easement and Wenas Wildlife Area headquarters.

It’s supported by birders and a conservancy.

In Grays Harbor, the agency would like to add as much as 416 acres in three parcels to the Davis Creek Wildlife Area, a former dairy farm, along the Chehalis River just downstream of Oakville. It has support from Ducks Unlimited and would protect the floodplain.

WDFW would also like to resecure access to popular Chapman Lake in western Spokane County following the closure of a resort with the only launch in 2011, as well as acqiure surrounding uplands. The lake is noted for kokanee and largemouth fishing, and the parklike lands and ponds above it look gamey.

“The intent is to purchase road access and a small lakefront footprint with exsisting grant funds and pursue funding for a land exchange or purchase of the remaining property in this section,” the agency explains.

Supporters include county commissioners and at least one local fly fishing club.

Another key access proposal is on the lower Samish River, up which plentiful hatchery fall Chinook return but getting to them can be difficult. Last year, anglers built a freelance boardwalk out of pallets to get to good spots — but which were also laid down on private land and had to be removed.

(WDFW)

Buying the 109-acre property “will contribute significantly to improving fishing access that is in high demand,” according to WDFW.

A levee does bisect the land and is marked with signs barring access, so conversations would need to occur with the local diking district, according to Skagit Wildlife Manager Belinda Rotton.

Still, she’s excited about the proposal, as it could help expand waterfowl hunting opportunities and access to harvestable salmon.

“When we heard it was available, ‘Oh my goodness,’ this will be a good property for us,” she said.

Skagit County supports the proposal.

Other proposals target the Union River and Discovery Bay estuaries, land surrounding a holding pool for summer steelhead on the East Fork Lewis River, a Skamania County bat cave, a 50-acre addition to the Ebey Island Wildlife Area, 2.5 acres around the Modrow Bridge launch on the Kalama, an acre at the old Peshastin Mill for a parking lot for a trail, and inholdings or parcels adjacent to the Rendezvous Wildlife Area of the upper Methow Valley and Quincy Lakes Wildlife Area west of Ephrata.

Following public review, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind would sign off on a list of projects for seeking funding. Typical sources include the state Capital Budget disbursed through the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s various granting mechanisms, including for endangered species.

WDFW owns and/or manages more than a million acres across Washington for fish, wildlife and recreation.

Comments are being taken from today till Jan. 3. Send them via email to lands@dfw.wa.gov or via the Post Office to Real Estate Services, PO Box 43158, Olympia, WA 98504.

WDFW Outlines Postfire Wenas, Whiskey Dick Access Restrictions

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Following wildfires last month, sections of two wildlife areas in southcentral Washington will remain closed until at least this fall, state lands managers announced today.

HUNTERS WILL HAVE WALK-IN ACCESS TO THAT PORTION OF THE WENAS WILDLIFE AREA THAT BURNED IN THE BUFFALO FIRE. (WDFW)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is extending previously announced closures to sections of the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area in Kittitas County and the Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County to protect fragile burned areas and allow post-fire restoration work.

The Milepost 22 fire on June 20 burned 7,614 acres of the Whiskey Dick unit of the L. T. Murray Wildlife Area. The burned area remains closed through Sept. 15 to all uses while Washington Department of Natural Resources crews complete post-fire tasks. WDFW wildlife area staff will follow up with seeding, weed control, and additional restoration work on the fragile soils.

Visitors can still access the unburned sections of the wildlife area traveling north to south and from the Windfarm east to the Columbia River. The closure does not restrict motorized access from Vantage highway because Whiskey Dick Creek Road remains open although about seven miles of “Green Dot” roads on the Whiskey Dick unit remain closed.

A map of the Whiskey Dick closure is online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/lt_murray/whiskey_dick_fire_closure_2018.pdf

On the Wenas Wildlife Area, the Buffalo fire that started June 2 burned a part of the area that has burned multiple times in recent years. About 4,000 acres of the area, defined by the Yakima River and elk fence, have been closed to use, including access to the southern trailhead of the popular Skyline Trail on Lower Buffalo Road and about three miles of the trail itself.

That closure has been extended through at least Nov. 30, although hunters will have walk-in access during hunting seasons. The closure will likely be extended again into spring 2019 to allow seeded grasses to establish.

A map of the Wenas closure is online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/wenas/buffalo_fire_closure_2018.pdf.

“That area has been hit so hard with fires that those fragile soils need protection,” explained Ross Huffman, WDFW regional lands operations manager in Yakima. “Our goal is to protect wildlife habitat and accommodate wildlife recreation as best we can, which is why we’re allowing walk-in access for hunters during the limited hunting seasons.”

The annual target-shooting restrictions, which are in effect across the entire 105,000-arcre Wenas Wildlife Area, remain in place through September. More information about those restrictions is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jun0618b/.

WDFW wildlife area staff have posted signs about the closures and gated closed areas on both the Wenas and Whiskey Dick wildlife areas.

Visitors to WDFW-managed lands in eastern Washington are reminded to observe the restrictions that are in place to reduce the risk of wildfire to state wildlife areas and access sites. Those restrictions can be found on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jun2918a/.

State To Hold Meeting On Central Washington Green Dot Road Changes

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting on Thursday, March 22, in Selah about changes to “green dot” road management in southcentral Washington.

A WDFW MAP SHOWS A NETWORK OF GREEN DOT AND OTHER ROADS IN THE WENAS WILDLIFE AREA. (WDFW)

Both agencies will provide information and take public comments on updates and proposed changes at the meeting, which will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Senior Room of the Selah Civic Center, 216 S. 1st St., in Selah.

The green dot road management system marks roads in Yakima and Kittitas counties that are open to public motorized vehicle use. Marked with a round green reflector on a white route marker, these roads provide access to camping, hunting, off-road vehicle riding and other recreational activities.

Proposed changes include the addition of green dot roads on the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick units of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, said Ross Huffman, WDFW southcentral region lands operations manager. Developing a green dot road system in the “green gate” area of the Quilomene Unit is an objective of the interagency Naneum-to-Columbia River Recreation Plan.

Updates include the loss of public access across private land adjacent to the Ahtanum State Forest, said Joe Smith, DNR southeast region forest operations manager.

Huffman and Smith note that road use across private property adjacent to the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area and Naneum Ridge State Forest could also be affected.

Road management on the Colockum, Wenas, and Oak Creek road management areas will also be discussed at the meeting.

Additional information about the green dot road system is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/green_dot/

WDFW Holding 2 Upcoming ‘Listening Sessions’ On Wenas Wildlife Area Target Shooting

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold listening sessions June 27 and 28 for the public to provide input on target shooting at the Wenas Wildlife Area.

Public feedback from the listening sessions will be shared with the Wenas Wildlife Area Target Shooting Advisory Committee to help inform their deliberations and eventual recommendations on how to provide recreational target shooting opportunities at the wildlife area.

Public listening sessions are scheduled for:

Tuesday, June 27, 6 to 9 p.m., in the Manastash Room at the Ellensburg Fairgrounds.
Wednesday, June 28, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Selah Civic Center, 216 S 1st St.

Additional public listening sessions will be scheduled in the fall.

More information about the Wenas Wildlife Area can be found on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/wenas/

For more information on the Wenas Wildlife Area Target Shooting Advisory Committee, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wtsc/