Flooding forces safety closures on central Washington wildlife area roads; restricts river access

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

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.


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