USDA Forest Service and Partners are seeking a community vision for recreation

Cle Elum and Naches Areas—In the cold, clear waters of the Cle Elum River, an angler tries her luck catching trout as early morning steam rises into the air. Far to the south over several forested ridges, a group of motorbike enthusiasts are unloading their trailers in preparation for a day out on the Cub Creek trails in the Little Naches area. These scenes and hundreds more unfold each day across the Upper Yakima Basin.

This spring, a new survey will be available for public land users near and far to tell the Forest Service and partners the types and locations of important outdoor recreation activities they enjoy in western Kittitas and Yakima Counties.

“This online recreation survey is really about helping us better understand how you use your public lands,”

explains Cle Elum District Ranger Michelle Capp.

“We want to work collaboratively across land management areas and in partnership with all recreation groups and users to enhance communities, natural resources, and recreation experiences for visitors and residents.”

To accomplish this, the USDA Forest Service has partnered with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Central Washington University, and a growing coalition of land manage- ment agencies (WDFW, DNR, and others), county and cities, and recreation groups to form the East Cascades Recreation Partnership (ECRP).

This group has the goal of developing a community-lead vision for the future of sustainable recreation in the Upper Yakima Basin. As a first step, the ECRP wants to know where people currently go to recreate, what draws them to these areas, and what challenges and opportunities they see for enhancing recreation across the basin.

“It’s important for us to hear from all users. Whether you like to drive the forest roads, hike every day, camp with your family, hunt, and fish annually, or value these areas from afar, it is important that we develop a shared understanding of all the existing recreation uses across the Upper Yakima Basin,”

said Capp.

The Upper Yakima Basin Recreation Survey will be open through January 2020 to collect input from all seasons of recreationists and takes 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey is available online at: https:www.gis.cwu.edu/geog/ecrp/.