Grays Harbor Commissioners Adopt Open Public Access Resolution

The Grays Harbor County Commissioners have taken another step closer to a goal of increasing open public access. Commissioner Wes Cormier says he remembers when you could get lost on logging roads in Western Washington. “Most people, 10-15 years, ago could go out on any type of access road and drive on logging roads all day and it was kind of part of our culture whether it was hunting or looking at wildlife.”

Cormier spoke before the meeting last week when the resolution was initially on the agenda. He added, “I think that [has] kind of ended at the state, federal level, and at the corporate level so I want to ensure that -at least at the county level, we’re opening up these lands for the public to recreate on.”

The Commissioner has been working on this issue since he was elected in 2013, with support from Commissioners Randy Ross and Vickie Raines. Cormier said during a question and answer session yesterday, “I thought that the open access plan initially was sufficient for the county to say ‘OK our lands are open to the public.’ But in finding that some of the lands were close I felt it necessary to fulfill that commitment that I made.”

A fee-for-access sentence was removed from a draft presented last week, the commissioners sent that draft back to county staff for fine-tuning before it was adopted. Commissioner Vickie Raines made the motion to approve the resolution after amending it to remove language that said the gates were only open during hunting season.

The resolution adopted yesterday commits the county to provide open public access to county-owned forest lands. Commissioners yesterday guessed that it affected over 100-thousand acres, however, some of that property is land-locked by private property which might not be as friendly to visitors.

Commissioner Raines posted on Facebook Monday afternoon

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