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Klickitat Mile One is a river access site one mile upstream from the confluence of the Klickitat and Columbia Rivers. The area is managed by the US Forest Service. According to the Forest Service, unmanaged recreational use has resulted in user-created roads and trails, pictured below, that are contributing sediment to the river.  As part of restoration efforts, the Klickitat Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be planting native vegetation at the site in partnership with the Forest Service.

The Klickitat Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) has been awarded a grant of $2,629 to help restore native vegetation on US Forest Service Property near the mouth of the Klickitat River, according to a press release from chapter president Dick Stentz.

The Forest Service has prepared a plan to improve safety and access to the area for recreation, including fishing, Stentz noted, and the local TU chapter has agreed to assist in restoring the site’s riparian area with native plants, trees, and grasses. 

Trout Unlimited’s mission is to “Protect, Reconnect and Restore” for the benefit of cold-water species of salmon and trout.

The funds granted will be used for the Klickitat Mile One project within a two-year period, and chapter members will purchase and install native vegetation in partnership with the Forest Service.

Klickitat Chapter member Laurie Wilhite prepared the grant, which resulted in the full amount requested being awarded for the project.  

The grant was made under Trout Unlimited’s National Embrace A Stream program.  This program makes funds available for qualifying projects that benefit native cold-water fish and will help the Forest Service and partners leverage additional funding opportunities for the project.

Other agencies cooperating in the Mile One Project are the USDA Forest Service, Yakama Nation Fisheries, Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wild & Scenic Rivers and Klickitat County.

 

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The Forest Service plan for Klickitat Mile One notes the Forest Service manages 16.81 acres of land at Klickitat Mile One. 

The area is used by the Yakama Nation and other tribal members for river access. 

It is also used for dispersed day and overnight recreation and as an undeveloped boat launch. Heaviest use occurs during the spring and fall salmon and steelhead runs. 

Other uses include kayaking, picnicking, swimming, dog walking, stand-up-paddle boarding, and wildlife viewing. The site is currently undeveloped with no visitor services (e.g. trash collection, restroom facilities) provided. 

According to the Forest Service plan, the unmanaged recreational use at Klickitat Mile One has resulted in damage to and removal of natural vegetation, visible surface and streambank erosion and improper disposal of garbage and human waste. 

Because there are few natural barriers on the site, unmanaged vehicular access and parking have resulted in the proliferation of user-created roads. Lack of a designated boat launch or river access trail has resulted in numerous user-created trails and gullies that are eroding and contributing sediment into the Klickitat River. 

There are no restrooms available for day use and overnight visitors. 

Government and law enforcement officials and local residents have expressed concerns about sanitation and visitor safety at the site, the plan stated. 

“Based on these conditions, there is a need to develop a site management plan that will protect and enhance natural, cultural, and scenic resources at the site while providing for safe access to and enjoyment of recreational opportunities,” the plan notes.

“The Klickitat TU Chapter is pleased to be a participant in this project, which  will restore the area with native vegetation and provide a recreation site that will be safe and accessible,” Stentz said.

More information about the project and joining the Klickitat Chapter can be found online at www.tu.org/chapter/484-klickitat or calling 509-941-9979. 

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