Take action for an elk migration route

Take action for an elk migration route

ConservationNWAdmin / Jun 22, 2018 / Action Alert, Central Cascades, Protecting Wildlands, Sagelands

WILD NW Action Alert #278: Speak up for a balance between roads and habitat for migrating elk and other wildlife on the Quilomene Wildlife Area.

Important habitat for one of Washington’s largest elk herds is at risk, and we need YOU to speak up to ensure their migration route is protected!

Scroll down for suggested comments. Comments can be emailed to SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov.

The Columbia River Breaks viewed from the Quilomene Wildlife Area, important winter habitat for elk, mule deer and other species. Photo: Chase Gunnell

Through Monday, June 25, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is taking public input as they work to establish a sustainable road system in the Quilomene Wildlife Area.

The Department must balance appropriate public access with the protection of habitat vital for the seasonal migration of the Colockum elk herd and home to mule deer, sage grouse, golden eagles, sage thrashers, and other species.

Situated at the transition zone between the pine forests of the eastern Cascade Mountains and the sprawling shrub-steppe of the Columbia Basin, the Quilomene offers migratory wildlife a critical winter respite. It’s also a key piece of the larger habitat network we are working to maintain, restore and connect through our new Sagelands Heritage Program.

Habitat connections to quality winter range is vital for migratory elk herds. Photo: USFWS

The proposal is to develop an official Green Dot Road System in a heavily-used portion of the Quilomene that will designate 15 miles of maintained road, while restoring habitat by removing 12 miles of unnecessary user-built roads. The project would also construct a designated parking area to improve experiences for hikers, wildlife watchers, hunters and other non-motorized recreationists, with kiosks to educate and inform visitors.

We support this balanced proposal as a way to provide quality public access while also restoring and protecting habitat for elk and other wildlife. It’s important that WDFW hears from YOU to ensure this plan isn’t compromised by those who want to see more motorized use on this sensitive landscape!

Please copy and paste the below comments and email them to SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov with the subject line: DNS 18-036: GREEN DOT ROAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT GREEN GATE AREA OF QUILOMENE WILDLIFE AREA.

Sincerely,

Jen Watkins

Conservation Associate

Note: The Milepost 22 Fire is currently burning near the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick wildlife areas northeast of Vantage, Washington. Information about the fire is available in this article as well as this one. The designated and maintained Green Dot Road System and closure of unnecessary user-built roads that we support would improve, not hamper, fire PREVENTION and response capabilities in this area.

Suggested Comments

Subject: DNS 18-036: GREEN DOT ROAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT GREEN GATE AREA OF QUILOMENE WILDLIFE AREA.

Dear WDFW,

As a Washingtonian who cares about the important state public lands of the Quilomene Wildlife Area, I support your proposed efforts (DNS 18-036) to establish an official sustainable road system in the Green Gate area that maintains public access while also restoring important habitat and reducing the impact of unnecessary roads on wildlife.

The Quilomene Wildlife Area provides valuable habitat for a wide diversity of species from elk to sage grouse, and is important in a larger connected network of habitats for shrub-steppe species in Eastern Washington. It’s important that this project restore habitat by removing unnecessary roads, and at the same time supporting the quality of recreational experiences such as hiking and wildlife watching. This decision should be followed with timely implementation of restoration including the seeding and planting of restored roadbeds.

I value responsible access and the opportunity to explore the Quilomene Wildlife Area, and believe that an official Green Dot Road System along with information kiosks will increase understanding of how we can use these public lands responsibly. Thanking you for taking my comments in support of proposal DNS 18-036.

Sincerely,