600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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July 17, 2009
Contact: Bob Dice, (509) 758-3151

Campground in Wooten Wildlife Area
closed temporarily to remove trees

OLYMPIA – A campground in the William T. Wooten Wildlife Area in southeast Washington will be closed until further notice while state wildlife officials remove trees that pose a potential risk to campers.

Bob Dice, who manages the wildlife area for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the decision to close the Panjab South campground was made after a 60-to-70-foot cottonwood toppled into the camping area today. No one was injured.

“We decided we need to take those trees down to protect campers’ safety,” Dice said.

Dice said 40 to 50 trees growing on a hillside above the campground were damaged during the Columbia Complex fire, which burned more than 100,000 acres and injured seven people in 2006.

The trees scheduled for removal include cottonwoods, Douglas firs and pines. Several of the damaged trees fell last spring under the weight of heavy snow, he said.

Dice said the campground, a popular area for anglers and hikers, will be reopen as “soon as possible,” once the damaged trees are removed.