April 16, 2004
Contact: Chuck Leidy, (360) 906-6721
Abernathy Creek access area closed to motor vehicles
Damage caused by vehicles driving off the gravel road at the Abernathy Creek access area on State Route 4 west of Longview has prompted Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) managers to temporarily close the site to vehicle traffic.
The area will remain open for pedestrian access and bank fishing. A deteriorated boat launch at the site will be closed until funds are obtained to repair it or build a new launch facility in another location.
"Normally, we involve the public in decisions about changes to access sites, but the severity of recent damage to the Abernathy Creek area required us to take prompt action to avoid further vandalism," said Chuck Leidy, WDFW regional lands agent. "It's regrettable that the actions of a few individuals have forced us to restrict vehicle access for the many citizens who enjoy this site."
WDFW Enforcement officers are investigating recent incidents and have asked for the public's cooperation in preventing any further vandalism of the area, Leidy said.
WDFW, Cowlitz County and other parties have been working at the site to remove non-native plants, restore native vegetation and regrade the site to repair previous vehicle damage. The site is a riparian restoration project, but much of the restoration work was damaged by vehicles driven off the gravel road that loops the site.
Besides damage to the new work, off-road vehicle ruts contribute to erosion that deposits silt in the creek, Leidy said. The stream is being assessed as a possible chum salmon spawning site, but silting would prevent its use as spawning habitat.
A limited amount of parking is available for those accessing the site on foot but drivers are cautioned to avoid blocking the gate or their vehicles will be towed.
Persons with special access needs should contact Chuck Leidy at (360) 906-6721.