Voice your opinion on primitive road closures

Dear Editor, Notice to all residents of Okanogan County who like to fish, hunt, picnic, or use your recreational vehicles...

Dear Editor,

Notice to all residents of Okanogan County who like to fish, hunt, picnic, or use your recreational vehicles in any manner. Your right to access Public Lands are being eliminated one road at a time. In fact, right now in the South County, there is approximately 6 to 10,000 acres of public access lost due to road closures.

Currently, every Tuesday, the Okanogan County Commissioners have on their agenda to eliminate (primitive) roads that the County seldom maintains, if ever. They now want them ‘off the books’ so they can budget monies in another direction. Monies that were rarely, if ever, used for maintenance on the same said roads.

There are laws governing vacations of roads. However, our Commissioners have been voting to vacate public roads for the benefit of large private landowners/corporation in spite of public input.

Existing roads are important to all of us, and never more so since the Carlton Complex in 2014 and Okanogan Complex fire of 2015. Roads are most importantly used for fire suppression for firemen and residents living within the area. Most primitive roads are mostly maintained by the people who use them. Wind storms put down trees, heavy rainfalls create rocks and debris in roadways. It is not usually the County that is there to clear the roads, but the users are in these instances. Now the County Commissioners want to eliminate them they feel they are not of ay use anymore.

They indeed have short memories or they have their priorities confused by putting their highest priority on Money, instead of the people of Okanogan

County they were elected to represent. Don’t think for a moment this will not affect you. Maybe not today, next month, or next year. Once the roads are closed, your opportunity for usage is gone.

As a Chiliwist Valley resident for over 34 years, I have witnessed – first hand – where closures of our roads exclude us from two different small lakes, alternate routes to Methow Valley and forest lands. Most important for my family, friends, and neighbors right now, is the Three Devils Road. If closed, it would severely cut our safety net for fire evacuation. Residents of Methow Valley, Okanogan Valley, and Tonasket areas need to voice their opinion now or give up that right to access your favorite areas as you have been doing for years and had hoped to pass that privilege on to our future generations.

The Chiliwist road in question – Three Devils Road, is now in litigation and we are awaiting the process of the Supreme Court.

If you would like help, please contact us at nrappe@wildblue.net Help keep our Public Roads Public Sincerely,

Sincerely,

Nora L Rappe

Malott, Washington

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