Washington State Parks restrictions discussed in Ellensburg on Nov. 1

October 18, 2013 

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public meeting Nov. 1 in Ellensburg to discuss potential regulation changes that would lessen restrictions on particular types of motor vehicle use on Iron Horse State Park’s John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., in the Teanaway Room at the Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby St., Ellensburg.

The Washington State Legislature directed that the John Wayne Trail be managed for non-motorized uses, and various grants over the years also have limited trail use to non-motorized recreation. A state law restricts motor vehicle use of the trail. Farmers with property adjacent to the trail and businesses operating concessions in state parks have requested that the agency allow them greater motorized use.

In response, State Parks commission is considering a request to the legislature that would allow additional motor vehicle use for temporary agricultural or concessionaire purposes, under special permit through the agency. At the same time, the request would allow use by a new class of motor vehicles recently defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act as “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices.”

The proposed changes are not intended to alter the primary non-motorized recreation focus of State Parks’ trail management. The intention would be to make State Parks’ management of the trail consistent with other rail trails under the agency’s control.

Washington State Parks manages five long-distance rail trails for non-motorized recreation, including hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and winter activities such as cross-country skiing and dog-sledding. The trails include the John Wayne Trail, managed as part of Iron Horse State Park and comprising most of the old Milwaukee Railroad corridor between Cedar Falls/North Bend and the Idaho border; the Centennial Trail near Spokane; Columbia Hills Plateau Trail from East Pasco to Fish Lake/Spokane; the Willapa Hills Trail from Chehalis to Raymond; and the Klickitat Trail, with a trailhead in Lyle near the Columbia River.

Those who cannot attend the meeting but wish to receive information about the issue may contact Susan Koch at susan.koch@parks.wa.gov.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service