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Kittitas County (WA) Survey on River Use and Access

Posted: 05/17/2018
by Evan Stafford

Kittitas County has released a survey to gather input and data on how people are using the various portions of the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. It also seeks information from participants as to what improvements would be appropriate. The survey is part of an ongoing effort to develop a strategy for improving access along both river corridors. The County began the planning process several months ago by hiring a consultant, Beckwith Consulting, and by appointing a Citizen’s Advisory Committee to direct and manage the effort. The survey can be found here:
The survey includes known whitewater runs on the lower Cle Elum River from Cle Elum Dam (Old Winston Bridge Site) to Yakima River (Bull Frog Road Bridge) and Yakima River from Teanaway confluence (Teanaway Junction - Hwy & 97) to Thorp (Thorp Bridge). The survey does not include the runs on the Cle Elum or Cooper on US Forest Service land, but includes a space to list "other sites." Given increased use of the Cooper and Cle Elum by whitewater paddlers we have encouraged the Forest Service to formalize existing social trails. We also believe the County should recognize these incredible whitewater resources as part of the overall river resources in the County.
The river access improvement planning effort is led by the County’s Public Lands Advisory Committee.  It is a county-wide effort focusing on the entire mainstem of the Yakima River and the portion of the Cle Elum River downstream from Cle Elum Dam.  Funding for the plan is being provided by the County’s lodging tax program.  The County hopes to complete the plan by June 30.