WENATCHEE — The Chelan County Commission continued talks Tuesday about a recreation plan in the Stemilt-Squilchuck basin.
The second event at Confluence Technology Center had close to 40 people in attendance, down from about 50 at the May 30 meeting. Once again most spoke in favor of not restricting snowmobile use. A few people spoke in favor of a non-motorized area for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Commissioner Kevin Overbay said the decision of whether to approve the recreation plan was continued to June 17. He and other commissioners wanted more time to look at the rest of the plan.
“The thing that I concern myself with is that we adopt a plan that is going to change over the years as we continue to change in our community,” Overbay said. “That if we don’t have a solid plan that it won’t be understood by those that come after us.”
There is a lot more in the plan than just a proposal for a non-motorized use area, Overbay said. He has some concerns about no-shooting areas that could affect hunting, as well as other proposals.
The Stemilt-Squilchuck Recreation Plan outlines a management strategy for recreational uses in the area, as well as future goals for development for things such as parking areas, campgrounds and shooting ranges.
It covers 17,000 acres, according to county documents. The land is owned by multiple agencies including Chelan County, the state departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.
The plan would only directly impact county land, but other agencies will use it in developing their own recreation strategies, said Erin McKay, county natural resource specialist.
Andy Dappen of Wenatchee spoke in favor of the non-motorized area, addressing the argument that snowmobilers don’t see a lot of non-motorized recreational users in the area.
“I want to talk about the fact that people don’t see non-motorists in the wilderness right now and that is because they seek out a different type of experience right now,” Dappen said. “A lot of these lands aren’t offering the experience that a non-motorist wants.”
Non-motorists don’t want to interact directly with snowmobilers in those areas, he said. But if the county created a non-motorized area they would come.
Jamie Tackman of East Wenatchee said he had skied in the Stemilt and Squilchuck basins during the winter and felt his safety was placed in danger by snowmobiles.
“They were completely oblivious to the fact that I was there,” Tackman said. “Not that they were trying to put me in danger, but they were completely oblivious to the fact that I was there.”