South End Project

The South End Project was initiated to address increasing motorized recreation and dispersed camping along with their associated resource impacts in the south-central portion of the Colville National Forest (CNF).  Located closest to the population center of Spokane, the south-central part of the Forest receives a high level of recreation use that includes dispersed camping in riparian areas and meadows, off-highway vehicle (OHV) and four-wheel drive vehicle use.  Many of the routes currently open to OHVs are not connected to other routes, do not provide loop riding opportunities and average less than 3 miles in length.; The existing OHV routes provide a  less than optimal OHV riding experience and has resulted in many pioneered routes being created by users to increase ride time and loop opportunities.

The project’s goals include: designating and expanding a system of routes for motor vehicle use (including OHVs), providing for public safety, protecting natural resources, rehabilitating existing resource damage caused by unmanaged motor vehicle use, minimizing user conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreation interests, and addressing impacts from dispersed camping associated with motor vehicle access to dispersed campsites.

The project planning area spans two ranger districts (Three Rivers and Newport-Sullivan Lake Ranger Districts) on the south-central portion of the Colville NF between U.S. Highway 395 and Washington State Highway 20.  Flowery Trail Road (Stevens County Road 2902/Pend Oreille County Road 2110) bisects the planning area.  The 191,000 acre planning area includes 148,000 acres of National Forest System lands (all or part of the Ruby, Cusick, Tacoma, Twelvemile, Tacoma, Monaghan, Indian, Addy, Leslie, Bayle, Chewelah, Thomason, Cottonwood, Smalle, Winchester and Calispell Creek drainages).

The Colville N.F. has completed many of the required safety analyses and restoration efforts required in the project decision document in order to begin designating routes for OHVs in a phased approach. For the 2015 riding season, 96.7 miles of roads will be designated for use by all vehicles in the project area.  These routes are specifically designed to connect communities and create loop opportunities, while protecting the natural environment.  With the addition of the new routes this year, communities located in the Pend Oreille Valley, near the Little Pend Oreille Lakes, and the town of Chewelah are now connected by OHV routes.

Two new major connector routes have been designated this year (2015), in addition to other connectors and loops.  The two largest connectors are North Fork Chewelah Creek Rd. (Forest Service Road 9521000) with 22.30 miles and Tower/Winchester Creek Rd. (Forest Service Road 9517000) with 18.15 miles.

The Colville NF will continue to move forward with required safety analysis and restoration efforts in a phased approach.  The South End Implementation Team comprised of Forest Service personnel and local partners meets twice a year to discuss monitoring of current conditions and implementation plans as listed in the Action Plan for the next riding season.  This project is expected to be phased in over the next several years, with a majority of new routes designated over the next five years.  Campsite relocation and rehabilitation will occur over the next five years as well. As funding allows, the project may convert approximately 8 miles of closed NFS roads and 4.5 miles of existing unauthorized OHV routes to managed OHV trails to provide connections between existing roads and to create loop routes.  Priority routes have been identified and designated that connect communities and provides loop opportunities for riders.  Some of these routes connect the Chewelah, the Little Pend Oreille Lakes and Pend Oreille valley communities.

Continued implementation will focus on cooperatively derived priorities including restoration of damaged sites and designation of new routes available to OHVs.  Full implementation of the project, including establishment of new campsites, OHV trails, and trailheads will take several years and will be somewhat dependent on outside funding sources.  The Colville N.F. is actively working with our partners to establish an OHV Ambassador Program with Eastern Washington ATV Association and the Tri-County Motorized Recreation Association. The OHV ambassador efforts will be focused on educating riders on the new routes available, the importance of staying on designated routes and trails to keep from damaging the land, improving the image of off-highway vehicle riders and helping with clean-up and restoration efforts

Please visit our webpage or your local Forest Service Office to view the latest Motor Vehicle Use Map to ensure you are on a designated route.