Wenatchee hill trails suffer from ash

By Dee Riggs, The Wenatchee WorldOctober 4, 2012 

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- Expect a black backdrop when you hike or bike in the Wenatchee hills next time.

But, when that "next time" will be is up in the air as trail managers don't know what kind of shape those trails will be in.

Fires, which started during a lightning storm Sept. 7, burned over, and in some cases, up to, the trails.

It's not all bad news, though. Trails should eventually reopen this fall and remain open until Dec. 1 when they traditionally close for mule-deer protection, said Sharon Lunz, a spokeswoman for the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.

"As soon as we get clearance from the incident commanders, we'll walk all the trails and assess them and open as soon as possible," she said.

Lunz said she is optimistic that the trails will withstand winter and spring rains because they have been built in recent years with elevation levels and angles that should minimize erosion.

On the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest, recreation specialist Bob Stoehr said other factors in whether the trails open is how much damage they have sustained from heavy equipment moving around, fighting the fire.

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