Please pay attention to this please it will be an area I watch. Also please note there are plans for a new trail access. More info on that as it becomes available. No trail loss here just access! You can currently run the trail and get out via the way you came in.
Road Closure Will Protect Threatened Steelhead
USDA Forest Service
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Contact: Tina Mayo, Cle Elum Ranger Dist. fisheries biologist, 509-852-1068
Roland Giller, Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. public affairs officer, 509-664-9314
Twitter updates: http://twitter.com/okawennf
April 2, 2010
Cle Elum—Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest managers have closed a road located about 10 miles northeast of Cle Elum in order to protect potential spawning habitat for threatened steelhead in a stream in Lion Gulch, a Williams Creek tributary.
Forest Road 9712-113 is closed to motor vehicle use until further notice. It is located in the Swauk Watershed and accessed from U.S. Highway 97. The closed section of road stretches from Forest Road 9712 to the trailhead for off-highway vehicle Trail No. 4W332.
Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts can still access Trail No. 4W332 using Forest Road 9718-112, which winds around to the east in Cougar Gulch.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest managers implemented the closure because Forest Road 9712-113 crosses a stream in Lion Gulch through a shallow ford. Motorized vehicles that cross the stream can deposit sediment downstream and damage potential spawning areas at the crossing.
“We have so few steelhead that spawn up there that we want to do whatever we can to protect any potential spawning areas in Lion Gulch and Williams Creek,” said Cle Elum Ranger District Fisheries Biologist Tina Mayo.
Flooding in January 2009 resulted in the widening of the stream channel, large gravel deposits and creation of an expansive spawning area at the shallow stream crossing.
Forest Service fisheries biologists and engineers plan to close the road until a permanent solution can be found that will protect the creek and potential spawning habitat. Possible solutions could include a bridge or culvert that crosses Lion Gulch Creek.
Mayo said the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Initiative will fund much of the environmental analysis work that must precede construction of a bridge or culvert.
Congress directed the U.S. Forest Service to use funds from the initiative in a strategic effort to decommission and repair roads and trails in environmentally-sensitive areas, particularly where they contribute to water quality problems in habitat for threatened or endangered species.
Motor vehicle users who violate the Forest Road 9712-113 closure can be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.