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May 22, 2006
Contact: Dale Swedberg, 509-223-3358

Floods restrict access to Sinlahekin Wildlife Area

SPOKANE – Flooding has restricted access indefinitely to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in northern Okanogan County.

County officials closed Sinlahekin Road – from the wildlife area headquarters south of Loomis to just north of Blue Lake – after Sinlahekin Creek flooded the area May 18.

There is currently no access to Conner or Forde lakes, or to Reflection Pond – all popular trout fishing waters with camping areas on the Sinlahekin.

Dale Swedberg, WDFW area manager, said anglers, campers and other outdoor recreationists can still reach Fish and Blue lakes from the south end of the wildlife area by way of Pine Creek or Conconully Reservoir, where roads remain open.

Unseasonably high temperatures quickly melted heavy snowpack, swelling northcentral Washington’s rivers and streams to flood levels. Weather conditions are forecast to return to normal, but predicted rain could make the situation worse.

Swedberg advised recreationists planning to visit Sinlahekin to stay on the south end or postpone trips until the road closure is lifted.