YAKIMA—Recent flooding has forced Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) managers to close about 25 miles of roads on three wildlife areas and restrict use of Yakima River access sites in south-central Washington.
“In the interest of public safety, these roads will remain closed until drier conditions make them passable or until we can secure emergency funding to repair them,” said Ted Clausing, WDFW’s regional wildlife program manager in Yakima.
The affected road sections are posted with closure signs.
On the Colockum Wildlife Area in Kittitas and Chelan counties, the road along the North Fork of Tarpiscan Creek and the bridge over the South Fork of Tarpiscan Creek are closed due to washouts.
On the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area in Kittitas County, sections of Hutchins, Murray, and Tamarack Ridge roads are closed. The Hutchins Road closure at Yahne Canyon also restricts access to adjacent U.S. Forest Service (USFS) property. The portion of Murray Road that runs north-south from Hutchins Road to Shell Rock Road is closed. The Tamarack Ridge Road closure is at the intersection with Ainsley Canyon, Joe Watt Canyon, and Page Pasture roads, directly south of the Hutchins Road closure.
In addition, adjacent USFS closures due to flooding in the Taneum and Manastash areas limit access to the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. Altogether, state and federal closures effectively limit motorized access on about one third of the wildlife area. Two main access points at Joe Watt and Robinson Canyons will be open, and most of the areas normally used for camping will be available.
On the Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima and Kittitas counties, parts of Durr and Kelley Hollow roads are closed. On Durr Road, the crossing at Umtanum Creek is closed, but access up to the crossing location, from both the Selah and Ellensburg sides, remains open. The Kelley Hollow Road closure runs from the elk fence gate above North Wenas Road for approximately two miles; closure signs are posted at the intersection with Hessler Flat Road and on the Kelley Hollow Road just above the damaged section.
The Yakima River access site at Fitzimmons/Sawyer is closed to vehicle use because the river has undercut the roadway. Other WDFW water-access sites on the Yakima River may have limited facilities, with some toilets flooded and some boat ramps washed out. WDFW officials advise using caution at recreation sites on any creeks and rivers affected by the flooding.
Lower Kelley Hollow
Middle Kelley Hollow