USFS rescinds Washington Pass snowmobile, snow bike closure

WINTHROP – The temporary closure of several areas near Washington Pass to snowmobilers and snow bike users for safety issues has been rescinded effective last Thursday, Jan. 28, by the USFS Forest Supervisor, a USFS media release advised.
The temporary closure was done in response to unusually high levels of use seen over the past year during the pandemic and anticipated increase in use continuing through the winter. Forest Service employees have been keeping an eye on recreation use in the area throughout the winter season. Overall use in the area this winter has been much higher than a typical year, but employees have not seen the level of increase in mixed use that was expected at the time the closure decision was made. The Forest Supervisor has rescinded the closure order, effective immediately. The District is working with partners to continue to improve education to new users. Forest employees will continue to monitor the area and evaluate the risks so appropriate action can be taken if the situation changes.


Several organizations reached out to the USFS in response to the closure to discuss ways that everyone can work together and find solutions for long term management. There is a long history of user groups working together to resolve conflicts in the Methow Valley and USFS will be working with those groups to discuss goals and to find solutions for long term management of the area that help avoidance of future closures. The renewed commitment from local user groups and support from state and regional groups will be instrumental to future success and Forest personnel are excited about the potential for finding user-driven, proactive approaches to management of the area.

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