Little Rattlesnake 4x4 Trail Relocation - 1998-2010
1998 - A biological assessment of an on-going activity in the Rattlesnake Watershed identified the continued use of the Little Rattlesnake 4x4 Trail (LRT) along Little Rattlesnake Creek having potential adverse affect on mid-Columbia steelhead, listed as threatened on the Endangered species Act, an impact resulting from increased sediment at stream crossings. The Naches District agreed to review the trail and formulate plans for closure and rehabilitation or relocation so the trail is consistant with the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) in the Forest Plan.
1999 - A request for comments by the Naches District concerning a proposal to close or relocate of the 4x4 trail; there were three alternatives, close portions, leave some portions open, or permanently close both trail segiments.
2000 - In January the LRT 4x4 route was signed closed to motorized vehicles (Emergency Closure Order # 190 C) to reduce adverse affects on the mid-Columbia steelhead. Sediment input had been occuring at stream crossings; channel was decreased when large woody debris was cut out of channel to accommodate short wheel base four-wheel drive vehicle access.
2002 - Combined Environmental Assessment was conducted - Rattle Timber Sale and the Little Rattlesnake Drive Wheel Drive 4x4 Route. The reroute was to take into consideration the U.S. Forest Plan Standards and Guidelines, Aquatic Conservation Strategy Objectives, and input from the four wheel drive community. The decision to reroute or not would be made separately from the timber sale and dependent on consulatation results of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, input and level of controversy.
During the Environmental Assessment process, field trips, meetings and written comments it was stressed the need to relocate the trail; similar mileage (no-net-loss) and maintain difficulty levels.
2010 - Now fast forward twelve years, thanks to the members who volunteered their time and energy and never gave up on this project. The Little Rattlesnake 4x4 Trail is once again open to ORV use with a restriction - one way travel for four wheel drive use. It was a re-location of an established 4x4 trail route and re-established to Forest Service specifications.
The travel restrictions and requirements are a directive (Order # 715) and issued by the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor's Office. For those who would like further information or answers to questions - the Office number is (509) 664-9200 - ask for Rebecca Lockett Heath, Forest Supervisor. ###
Arlene Brooks, WA State Director
A big thanks to everyone that helped get the trail reopened.
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