OLYMPIA — Roads closed to protect wintering wildlife on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wildlife areas in the south central region will re-open May 1 at 6 a.m. or as otherwise posted.
Two exceptions are the Joe Watt Canyon and Robinson View roads west of Ellensburg in Kittitas County on the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.
Roads re-opening include Robinson Canyon Road on the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area and the Mellotte Road on the Wenas Wildlife Area.
Roads closed to motorized vehicles on the Whiskey Dick and a portion of the Quilomene wildlife areas in Kittitas County will re-open in the area north of the Vantage Highway, south of Quilomene Ridge Road, east of the Wild Horse Wind Farm, and west of the Columbia River.
The Oak Creek (U.S. Forest Service 1400) and Bethel Ridge roads, and the Sanford Pasture / Mud Lake road system in the Oak Creek Wildlife Area southwest of Naches in Yakima County, will re-open May 1 at 6 a.m. The 6 a.m. opening is a change from previous years when midnight marked the end of the closures.
The Joe Watt Canyon Road will remain closed to all motorized vehicles two miles in from the entrance gate to the wildlife area due to persistent snow banks and soft, wet road conditions, said Ted Clausing, WDFW south central regional wildlife program manager.
“We need to protect against habitat damage that occurs if vehicle traffic is allowed too early on that road,” Clausing said. “The road will be opened once conditions improve and the road firms up.”
The Joe Watt Road Canyon closure is in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which also manages land in the area.
The Robinson View Road, which drops south off the Robinson Canyon Road, will remain closed to protect sensitive nesting wildlife.