DNR Proposes New Trail Policy, Public Comments Due Sept. 28
The Department of Natural Resources needs your input as the agency plans for the future of recreation in places like Mt. Si, Oyster Dome and Mailbox Peak.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources needs your input on its new trails policy as the agency plans for the future of recreation on hundreds of trail miles, including icons like Mt. Si, Oyster Dome and Mailbox Peak.
Take action: Comments can be submitted through an online survey. Please complete the survey by Sept. 28.
Agency seeks to strengthen trail community
The draft plan, requested by the legislature in 2014, offers a new vision for trails policy in DNR as well as three primary goals:
- Offer recreational trail opportunities that cause the least impact on the land, water quality and other natural resources.
- Expand the network of designated trails.
- Keep maintenance and construction costs reasonable for land managers.
The new vision outlined in the document focuses on the communities that enjoy our state's trails to, "provide diverse and high quality recreational opportunities ... foster community engagement, promote a strong sense of environmental stewardship and enrich the quality of life in Washington."
Under the policy, DNR would also institute Forest Service standards as the primary guidelines for trail design and maintenance, creating a fiscally sustainable trail system and avoiding the creation of over-built trails that are expensive to maintain.
The agency will also work to remove nondesignated (sometimes known as "bootleg") trails that are damaging to the environment or are not up to standard. When resources allow, DNR will consider incorporating some nondesignated trails into the official trail system if they are consistent with agency standards.
The policy also states that recreation will be officially listed as the primary use on many lands containing trails and DNR will work to limit potential impact on trail users from secondary land uses like timber harvest, thinning or road construction, among others.
This new policy policy was created after meetings with an advisory committee which included Washington Trails Association.
Tell DNR what you think of the plan
One tenant of the policy is a commitment to continued community engagement. As a first step in this process, DNR wants to hear from you.