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Monday, June 28, 2010

Volunteers, DNR working together in REITER FOOTHILLS 

Everett Herald - Saturday, June 19, 2010




Volunteers, DNR working together

When the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) temporarily closed off access to Reiter Foothills Forest last November, many of us in the off-road vehicle community believed it would never reopen. The ORV community has seen the permanent closures of recreation areas in the past and has had little experience working with a land manager willing to open areas.

But since November, volunteers from many different recreational user groups have put in hundreds of hours at Reiter, successfully restoring environmental damage and helping DNR plan and establish a entirely new trail system. Our initial fear that Reiter would never reopen has been replaced by pride in knowing that we are helping to create something that hasn't been done in many years. Prior to the November closure, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced that he would reassess the area and open what could be opened by the summer of 2010. DNR has shown its commitment to reopen the area by promising to open the forest road known as Deer Flats Road to ORV use this month. Unfortunately, at this time, no trails are ready to open yet.

On June 10, representatives from the ORV and mountain bike communities met with Commissioner Goldmark and advised against reopening the road until trails are established and opened. We must keep our energies focused on the work under way and not have this progress undermined by the potential for illegal activities that could come with the road opening before trails are built. The ORV community needs more legal areas to recreate, and DNR is listening. Join other volunteers every first Saturday and third Sunday at Reiter so everyone has a chance to help DNR provide more ORV recreation.

Neil Stamp, Northwest Motorcycle Association
Tod Petersen, Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance
Rick Wygle, Wheelers of Washington
Arlene Brooks, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association
Jakob Perry, Rainier Ridge Rams
Stephen Morris, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
Mike Kash, Reiter Trail Watch
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