WENATCHEE — The Chelan County Commission is nearing approval of a recreation plan for the Squilchuck and Stemilt basins.

The county held its third and final public hearing on the recreation plan on Monday. The recreation plan caused some public concern due to plans for a non-motorized use area in the basins for things such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking. Snowmobilers who have used the area were concerned the changes would limit their access.

County commissioners will decide in the next two weeks whether to pass the plan, said Erin McKay, Chelan County natural resource specialist.

Changes to the plan mostly involve clarifications and the replacement of a few words, she said. The county commissioners support the compromise recreational area agreed to between the snowmobile and non-motorized communities, according to the draft Stemilt-Squilchuck Recreation Plan document.

“I know the motorized community was concerned about losing the places they love to go and another clarification here is that none of those typical access points will be affected,” McKay said.

One of the things that was not understood before was that snowmobilers will be able to pass through the non-motorized areas, she said. Snowmobilers can still travel through the non-motorized areas along designated routes to the motorized areas and groomed snowmobile routes will be maintained, according to the draft document.

In addition, the non-motorized areas only apply to four pieces of property controlled by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, McKay said. The county has no control over what happens on federal or private land.

The areas included are:

  • Around Clara and Marion lakes
  • The bowl south of the Mission Ridge Ski Area by Naneum Ridge Road
  • East of Upper Wheeler Reservoir and west of Spring Hill Reservoir
  • North of Spring Hill Reservoir and south of Upper Wheeler Road

An implementation committee for non-motorized routes will also be created, she said. After two years, the committee will report to county commissioners about any problems in the recreation areas.

Other changes included in the recreation plan include:

  • Language that suggests the creation of an off-road, mudding area for vehicles
  • The removal of any language about a target shooting area. Dispersed shooting will be allowed as long as shooters abide by state Department of Fish and Wildlife rules of conduct, such as no shooting glass, TVs or mattresses.

Tony Buhr: 664-7123

buhr@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr