State parks requesting public comment on allowing agriculture use on long-distance trails

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is holding a public meeting in Chehalis on Friday, Dec. 19, to hear public comment on draft policy regarding non-recreational motorized vehicle use on state parks long-distance trails.

State parks manages five long-distance trail and it has received requests from landowners “to drive their motorized vehicles on these former rail lines in order to facilitate agricultural activities on their adjacent lands.”

Washington State parks responded with a draft policy addressing agriculture-related motorized use. The policy is available on the state website.

The draft policy would charge a fee for access starting with a $200 application fee.

Public comment can also be submitted via e-mail to planning@parks.wa.gov until Dec. 19. The commission is expected to consider adopting the policy at its Jan. 29 policy.

Friday’s meeting is 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Chehalis’ Veterans Memorial Museum, 100 SW Veterans Way. A meeting is also scheduled for Ellensburg on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

The state’s long-distance trails are the 100-mile John Wayne Pioneer Trail between the North Bend area and the Columbia River; the 56-mile Willapa Hills Trail between Chehalis and South Bend; the 130-mile (48 miles available to use) Columbia Plateau Trail between the Cheney and Tri-Cities areas; the 30-mile Klickitat trail near Lyle; and the 37-mile Spokane Centennial Trail from Riverside State Park to the Idaho border.