Cleman Mountain section of Wenas Wildlife Area closing until May 1 to protect wintering elk and private property


Cindi Confer Morris, 509-697-4503
Rachel Blomker, 360-701-3101

YAKIMA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close the Cleman Mountain portion of the Wenas Wildlife Area near Ellensburg earlier than usual this year due to wildfire damage.

Starting Nov. 12, WDFW will close public access from North Wenas Road to the top of Cleman Mountain, and from Hardy Canyon east to Jones Canyon. The gates at the Mellotte entrance, Newlands Road, and Woodcamp Road will be locked. For a detailed map of the closure, see the Wenas Wildlife Area Green Dot map.

“We’re starting the winter closure earlier this year due to impacts from the Evans Canyon Fire,” said Mike Livingston, South Central Regional Director for WDFW. “The fire burned across much of Cleman Mountain, impacting winter and transition range habitat for elk. It also burned over 17 miles of elk fence around the Wenas Valley, much of which is still down”.

Livingston said the earlier closure will reduce the risk that human disturbance will push elk beyond the damaged elk fence and down into the Wenas Valley and onto private property.  

Late archery hunters will not have access to the closed area, but the remainder of Game Management Unit (GMU) 342 remains open to hunting.

WDFW actively manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 500 water access sites across the state to preserve natural and cultural heritage, provide access for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, and to foster experiences and exploration for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors each year.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email ( For more information, see