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Last Chance to Comment on Motorized Use of State Parks Long-Distance Trails

Posted by Andrea Imler at Sep 26, 2014 12:35 PM |
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State Parks needs to hear from hikers, trail runners and bicyclists regarding the future of motorized use on our long-distance trails, like the John Wayne Trail to the Klickitat Trail to the Centennial Trail.

Washington State Parks has begun a process to define motorized use on their long-distance trails, such as the popular John Wayne trail that travels from the town of North Bend east 250 miles to the Idaho border.

The agency has received multiple requests from adjacent land owners for motorized use of long-distance trails for “crossings and linear use of the trail for agricultural and other intermittent uses.”

To respond to those requests, State Parks is seeking public input as they determine a policy and procedures to determine when approval for motorized use on traditionally non-motorized trails should be granted.

Other long-distance trails that would be affected include: the Centennial Trail near Spokane; Willapa Hill Trails from Chehalis to Raymond; Columbia Hills Plateau Trail from East Pasco to Spokane; and the Klickitat Trail in the Columbia Gorge.

State Parks needs to hear from hikers, trail runners and bicyclists regarding the future of motorized use on our long-distance trails.  Submit your comments today!

The agency is looking for feedback on the following questions.

When and where is motorized use of the trail surface reasonable and appropriate?

  • WTA's response: Long-distance trails are heavily used by hikers, cyclists, skiers, equestrians and rock climbers accessing climbing areas. Non-motorized uses should continue to be the primary focus of long distance trails. Recreational and concessionaire motorized use should not be permitted for long- distance trail use.

  • WTA's response: Motorized use of long-distance trails should be restricted to some agricultural use for adjacent land owners to reach their properties. Motorized use ( via crossings and/or linear travel) should be permitted only in circumstances where there are absolutely no viable alternatives, such as an adjacent/alternate road or the permitted user cannot construct an access road to their property.

When motorized use is allowed, what limitations should be enforced?

  • WTA's response: The size and type of vehicles that may be authorized should not prevent safe passing of/by hikers, skiers, bicyclists or equestrians.

What kind of monitoring is needed to ensure state property and facilities are protected?

  • WTA's response: A consistent permitting process should be used for evaluating applications for motorized agricultural use. This process should include a public comment period on each permit application.

What fees are appropriate?  (How much should a permit cost? How should trail damage be addressed?)

  • WTA's response: A permit fee should be charged that is sufficient to cover the costs to State Parks for both the evaluation process and ongoing inspection to ensure compliance with permit requirements. In addition, as part of the permitting process, permittees should be held fully responsible for all costs associated with repair to any damage that is done to the trail.

Comment today, time is running out!

Submit your comments via a form on Washington State Parks’ website  by Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

John Wayne Trail
A portion of the John Wayne Trail east of the Boylston Tunnel. Photo by Andrea Nesbitt



just say no

I'm saying no, I like the peace and quiet, without having to move aside to suck on exhaust and dust from motorized vehicles, it takes away from the peacefulness that most go for and scares the wildlife. I cannot even believe this is being entertained as an option.

Posted by:

charlie girl on Sep 26, 2014 02:13 PM

Go for it

Slow speed when using a vehicle. Permits are cumbersome, difficult, and annoying. Try it out for 3 years and re-evaluate the use and impact. Always allow agriculture thoroughfare.
Question #1 - Use on any improved surface not reasonable expected to be damaged with motorized activity.
Question #2 - Motorcycles, ATV's limit to 10MPH and must stay on trail
Question #3 - Trail reports from pre motorized use and again post motorized use.
Question #4 - Less government permitting is better. Ask for motorized trail donations to WTA.

Posted by:

ldcarnes on Sep 26, 2014 09:28 PM

Additional Support

I like the idea of opening up long-distance trails in that the state can receive support from clubs like overland northwest and Blackout Jeep club who would be willing to volunteer time to help maintain the trails and police inappropriate activity. I feel the short trails should stay hiking and biking. In this case these trails are very long and the added support from clubs would benefit the the users of the trail and the state. I say YAY and would be willing to have my club help maintain such trails.
Blackout Jeep club

Posted by:

Blackout JC on Sep 27, 2014 09:56 AM


on whether or not the vehicles are for exploring or exploiting nature. The last thing any hiker should want on a trail is a loud, noisy vehicle testing it's off-road capabilities.

Posted by:

bbartlett on Sep 27, 2014 03:53 PM

question for the author /WTA

The article states that "The agency is looking for feedback on the following questions." and then goes on to list the questions as well as answers to them.

Are these answers WTA's position, the authors position, or how either of would suggest that members answer?

Posted by:

ScottDT1 on Sep 27, 2014 09:11 PM

Said "No Way"

Here's the problem -

I'm sure that most, if not all members of Jeep clubs like the one Mr. Benson represents are responsible users. The fact is, however, that any time public land is open to motorized use some segment of those users will go off-trail and destroy it. The problem with motorized users is the amount of damage they can do in a single day vs. others.

I regularly see National Forest land cut up by ATVs and off-road vehicles. Around the Spokane area, Inland Paper Company has had to close their land due to irresponsible use:

This is why my opinion is to not open any additional public land to motorized use.

Posted by:

Luke Bakken on Sep 28, 2014 07:30 AM

RE: question for the author /WTA

Hi ScottDT1,

Thanks for your question. The questions are indeed what State Parks is looking for feedback on. WTA provided its response to each question. The responses can be used by blog readers to formulate their feedback responses if they so wish.
--Andrea Imler, Advocacy Director

Posted by:

Andrea Imler on Sep 29, 2014 08:33 AM

No to motorized vehicles

Let the motorized vehicles use the logging roads and other roads designed for that kind of use and leave these nice flat trails for hikers, bikers, horse back riders etc. All it takes is one horse to be scared by one motorcycle and it dumps its rider and injures them. Motorcycles notoriously ruin the environment and the trails not to mention all the wildlife they terrorize in the process. I have done hiking in Teanaway and constantly see ruined trails due to the motor bikes that have access to the system. Its been to not allow access than to allow even limited access. Any form of access will lead to abuse of the privilege. Its better to have no access or access. I foresee alot of problems by allowing access so you have to ask is it really worth the problems and liability that motorized vehicles could potentially bring. I would have to say no. Keep them as they are... peaceful, beautiful, tranquil and QUIET and the trails not destroyed for everyone. All it takes is a handful of motorbikes and the trail becomes ruined for everyone else and will need yearly maintenance. I think the cons of not allowing access outweigh the pros to allowing access.

Posted by:

Brabbit on Sep 30, 2014 12:07 AM

Recreational Fuel Consumption

I wonder what the carbon footprint is of all the anti-motorized recreation types who profess to holding a "green" point of view? Most of these corridors were constructed as rail beds and there are no larger motorized vehicles than those so to say these routes are inappropriate for motorized use is ridiculous. How much noise, environmental damage, fumes and unnecessary recreational energy consumption are the vast majority of WTA members responsible for? Two-faced much?

Posted by:

sailor7557 on Oct 06, 2014 11:56 AM