Permanent public access to BBQ Flats, a popular recreation area in northern Yakima County, is assured, thanks to Washington state action this week.
The state Board of Natural Resources has authorized the state Department of Natural Resources to proceed with a package of land transactions and infrastructure improvements that will give it permanent access.
DNR will be able to complete a negotiated purchase of an access road to BBQ Flats that crossed private property and was intermittently closed. The department also will complete agreements with neighboring landowners to exchange 80 acres and buy another 560 acres for the site.
The project was made possible by a $500,000 appropriation by the 2013 Legislature. In addition to supporting the land acquisitions, the funding will add fencing, toilets, gates and road extensions to the area so that it can better support dispersed camping, hiking, trail riding and other activities.
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DNR hopes to finish the work and open the site by July.