Grassroots Group Asks for Winter Non-Motorized Areas in the Wenatchee Mountains

A considerable amount of snowmobile use is regularly occurring in the Wenatchee Mountains in the southern portion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  The Wenatchee National Forest has been unable to deter this illegal activity.  Restrictions are in place for summer motorized recreation in areas adjacent to the wilderness, but no restrictions are currently in place for winter.  In winter, similar buffers would deter illegal snowmobile use in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and, at the same time, allow for non-motorized recreation.

The Wenatchee Mountains Coalition (WMC) is seeking the designation of winter non-motorized areas along the pristine and roadless crest of the Wenatchee Mountains.  The western-most area includes the Wenatchee Crest south of and adjacent to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  The eastern-most areas include portions of the Wenatchee Crest from Blewett Pass (State Highway 97) to the Mission Ridge Ski Area.  The effort toward new non-motorized areas has generated discussion among skiers, snowshoers, snowmobile-assisted skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts.

The WMC has generated three proposals for winter non-motorized areas in the Wenatchee National Forest.  Proposal One includes the largest number of acres, Proposal Three the smallest.  Proposal Two would establish winter non-motorized areas with a total acreage between Proposals One and Three.  Links to maps showing the proposals can be found Here.

The WMC does not support the banning of snowmobiles instead its efforts are directed toward parity for non-motorized and motorized users. The proposed non-motorized areas are small when compared to the extensive national forest land available for motorized recreation.  In 2010, the WMC met with Wenatchee National Forest Service District personnel and with the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Supervisor regarding WMC’s non-motorized proposal.  WMC is now seeking user input on their various proposals.

You can voice your opinion by writing: Rebecca Heath (Forest Supervisor) and the Forest Plan Revision Team: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Headquarters, 215 Melody Lane, Wenatchee, WA  98801; or by calling (509) 664-9200 or email r6_ewzplanrevision@fs.fed.us

It is important to include your full name, city of residence, and phone number in any correspondence.  The WMC would appreciate being Cc’d in any correspondence regarding the non-motorized proposals at wenatcheemountainscoalition@hotmail.com

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