Forest Health, Wildfire Concerns Drive Need for Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project; Scoping Period Opens February 25

Release Date: Feb 25, 2019

Leavenworth, WA — Just outside the community of Plain, a home sits nestled amongst the pines while national forest lands rise sharply from the shared property boundary. Lands on both sides of the fence are dense, unhealthy, and at risk from severe wildfire impacts. Unfortunately, it’s a common picture in dry forests and nearby communities across the eastern Cascades. But a new 75,000 acre project near the greater Lake Wenatchee community is looking to change all that for the better.

“Together with our partners, we are at the earliest stages of thinking about how to restore this landscape and better protect our communities” said Wenatchee River District Ranger, Jeff Rivera. “I invite you to join the conversation from the very start so you know what’s being considered, what’s not, and how to lend your voice to this collaborative project.”

Key project information:

  • The primary focus of the project is to restore forest health, reduce wildfire risk, improve wildlife habitat, and improve watershed function on a landscape scale.
  • Restoration may include both terrestrial and aquatic work such as prescribed fire, thinning, stream improvements, road system work and more.
  • This restoration project will take a holistic look at the current condition of the forest assessing social, terrestrial, aquatic, access, and other important values.

“With collaboration and sound science, it is possible to move towards a sustainable landscape that is better for the forest and communities alike.” added Rivera. “We want to hear from you early on about wildlife, fish, fire, roads, and other important considerations for this landscape and the people who use it and live by it.”

Forest Service staff will be on hand to answer questions and share an interactive map at an open house Tuesday March 12, 2019 from 6-7:30pm at the Lake Wenatchee Recreation Club at 14400 Chiwawa Loop Road Leavenworth, WA. This meeting will also be available via Facebook Live at The 30-day scoping comment period, will begin February 25, 2019. A draft Environmental Analysis is expected in the fall of 2019.

Partners in the project include the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative, Chelan County, Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue, Yakama Nation, Washington DNR, Cascadia Conservation District, Vaagen Brothers Lumber, Conservation Northwest, Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board, American Forest Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy and many more.

Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project map

A new interactive map highlights historical fire activity and why the 75,000 acre Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project is strategically located to be a proactive approach to forest health and catastrophic fire risk where homes and Forest lands meet — the wildland urban interface. Credit: USDA Forest Service Mike Cibicki.

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