Today, Washington Wild coordinated a joint comment letter signed by over two dozen recreation and conservation groups, and local businesses to the Forest Service supporting key road repairs in Sky Valley. The Forest Service is in the process of instituting a road repair project on the Skykomish Ranger District that would restore access to key recreation opportunities and alleviate aquatic and wildlife risk concerns.
During Washington’s winters many Forest Service Roads suffer damage from washouts which restrict hiking, biking, climbing, camping and other recreational opportunities. Repairs are necessary to restore access since a number of these roads provide the pathway to amazing recreation opportunities.
The roads included in this proposal provide drive-in access to popular family destinations, as well as incredible hiking, equestrian, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and climbing trails in the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas. The proposed projects will restore and/or improve access to 14 trails and 5 campgrounds. This repairs will include providing recreation access to Blanca Lake, Bald Eagle Mountain, the Evergreen Mountain Lookout, Johnson Ridge, and Beckler Peak.
Furthermore, the proposed road repair projects, and the access they will provide, will help sustain the local economies that benefit from outdoor recreation in the area. Outdoor recreation is a major economic driver in Washington generating $26.2 billion in annual consumer spending, supporting 201,000 jobs and supplying $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. The steady flow of visitors is critical to the economies of small towns in the Skykomish Valley. Visitors stop to spend money on meals, buy groceries, purchase gear, sign up for paddling, horseback riding, backpacking or other recreational trips, and stay overnight at hotels and vacation rentals in towns Sky Valley communities.
In addition, most of the roads up for repair are all considered medium or high aquatic risk due to their location next to rivers and riparian areas. This project provides an opportunity to complete repairs and maintenance in a manner that protects aquatic species and clean water while also ensuring recreational access.