OLYMPIA – Even though the weather is warming up, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind off-road vehicle (ORV) riders that Capitol State Forest is closed to ORVs for the season and will re-open May 1.
“We have received reports from people who have witnessed ORV riding in areas that are clearly marked as closed for the season,” said Larry Raedel, chief law enforcement officer for DNR. “Riding on these trails too early in the season can cause damage to natural resources.”
Capitol State Forest is closed to ORV riding during the winter and early spring months, because the clay-based soils are still saturated and can’t support the weight and constant wear and tear from motorized vehicles. Additionally, ORV riding on muddy trails can cause sediment to enter nearby streams. DNR provides recreational access to the public on state trust lands, but it must also manage the lands sustainably to protect these areas’ natural resources and be in compliance with clean water laws.
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“We will be stepping up our law enforcement presence in Capitol Forest to make sure ORV riders aren’t getting out there before the season opens,” Raedel said.
In western Washington, DNR offers year-round ORV opportunities on many state trust lands:
Clallam County — Foothills ORV trails (near Port Angeles); Sadie Creek ORV trails (west of Port Angeles off Hwy. 112)
Mason County — Tahuya State Forest (west of Belfair)
Pierce County — Elbe Hills ORV Trailhead (near the town of Elbe off Hwy. 706)
Skagit County — Walker Valley Trailhead (east of Mount Vernon)
Wahkiakum County — Bradley Hills Trail and Trailhead (near Cathlamet)
To learn more about where DNR offers ORV opportunities in Washington State, download or order the Recreation Guide at: www.dnr.wa.gov/BusinessPermits ... ges/recreation_guide.aspx
Recreation on DNR-managed lands
DNR manages more than 5 million acres of state-owned forest, aquatic, agricultural, conservation and urban lands. Most recreation on these lands takes place in the 2.2 million acres of forests that DNR manages as state trust lands. By law, state trust lands are managed to produce income for schools, universities, prisons, state mental hospitals, community colleges, local services in many counties, and the state’s general fund. State trust lands are also managed to provide fish and wildlife habitat and educational and recreational opportunities.
DNR-managed lands provide 1,100 miles of trails, 143 recreation sites, and a variety of landscapes throughout Washington State. Recreational opportunities include hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, motorized vehicle riding, mountain biking, and boating.
DNR’s main recreation focus is to provide trails, trailhead facilities, and a primitive experience in a natural setting.