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Land Acquistion Opportunity on the Tieton (WA)

Posted: 10/28/2002
by Thomas O'Keefe

The Tieton River is a popular fall run during the annual reservoir draw down for irrigation as part of the Bureau of Reclamation's Yakima Project. The river provides intermediate whitewater and a dependable release schedule that is enjoyed by both private and commercial boaters. Land owned by Plum Creek Timber has become available and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has applied for funding to support this purchase, which would place the land in public ownership. The available land, which could be lost to private development, includes Waffle Wall Rapid and the Twin Bridge take out. Local paddlers are encouraged to contact their elected officials (contact info) in support of funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Partnership grants program, and identify their interest in this acquisition opportunity along the Tieton River. The template below is from the Washington Kayak Club.

Over the past 12 years, the WWRP secured $362 million in state funds for local and state parks, trails, waterfront access and wildlife habitat. Federal and local matching funds raise the total contribution to more than $550 million for more than 600 projects throughout the state.

Washington Kayak Club
PO Box 24264
Seattle, WA 98124

Governor Gary Locke
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 400002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Dear Governor Locke:

We are the Washington Kayak Club, a group of approximately 1200 concerned citizens from across Washington State. We are writing to you to ask for your assistance in protecting the Tieton River Canyon.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has applied for a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Partnership (WWRP) to purchase 4 sections of township 14 range 15, which is adjacent to the Tieton River. This application has been approved and is ranked 5th in the competitive ranking for the upcoming budget cycle. We would like you to ensure that the WWRP is funded at the same level in the upcoming budget cycle as it is in the current budget to insure purchase of this land via WWRP.

Talmo Inc. has an option to sell this land for Plum Creek Timber Company. To lose access to such a large portion of this river system through private property development would be to rob the public of access to one of our public trust resources - a fate that has befallen too many of our natural area as it is. This area has many values as a resource including habitat for many species of animals, several of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

We are concerned that we will lose access to several river areas along the Tieton River. This important dry forest landscape is undeveloped and a valuable recreation area.