Sage Hills Trails in the Wenatchee Foothills to Open
Wednesday, March 25
Chelan Douglas Land Trust (CDLT), Chelan PUD, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the City of Wenatchee and Wenatchee Valley TREAD have collaborated to open the Sage Hills Trail system on Wednesday, March 25 – one week earlier than the standard April 1st open date.
About a third of the trail system, managed by CDLT, crosses the Home Water Wildlife Preserve. The Chelan PUD owns the Home Water Preserve as mitigation for Rock Island Dam and is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to be managed for wildlife habitat, which includes a winter closure. A mild winter has led to lower deer counts during the late winter, based on 13 years of monitoring.
As has happened in the past, this will be a phased opening, starting with the lowest elevation trails and trailheads opening on March 25, with higher elevation trails at Horse Lake Reserve opening after April 1, based on road and trail conditions. This phased opening allows the deer to move up without recreational impacts and allows the trails at higher elevation to dry out prior to recreational use.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created extremely unusual circumstances and the trails offer a responsible way for our community to get outside for both mental and physical health. It is extremely crucial for the health and safety of our community to practice “social distancing” while recreating outdoors. Please:
- Pay close attention to how you are feeling. If you’re feeling at all unwell, stay home.
- Recreate alone, or only with people in your household.
- Maintain at least a 6 foot distance from others. Be mindful of those around you—if other people are already stopped at a viewpoint, try stopping on your way back down. If the parking lot of your favorite hike looks full, move on to a different hike you’ve been meaning to try. Minimize the potential for close encounters on narrow trails.
- When passing another hiker either head on or from behind, alert the other hiker. One hiker should move several feet off the trail to allow the other to pass.
- Keep hands clean. Wash your hands before and after your outdoor recreation adventures. Avoid touching common surfaces, such as gates, tables, fences, or objects that other people may have touched. If touching these surfaces is unavoidable, sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- STAY LOCAL. Preferably, you should recreate directly from home. If you drive to a trailhead, do that locally as well. This limits the potential of spreading the virus to other communities, or bringing it back from a place you have visited outside the Valley.
The Wenatchee Foothills trail system is managed and maintained by CDLT with volunteers. All trail maintenance has been suspended per Governor Inslee’s proclamation. The Land Trust and WV TREAD ask that all trail users do their part to take care of this vital community resource and follow all rules and guidelines. Please:
• Respect private property and neighbors near trails and trail access points.
• Non-motorized use only.
• Leash dogs at all times.
• Carry out ALL litter, including pet and food waste.
• Stay on authorized trails and roads.
• No hunting or shooting.
• No unauthorized trail building.
• Treat all trail users with courtesy and respect.
• Avoid wet and muddy trails—it creates damage that can last the rest of the season and beyond.
• Protect our native shrub-steppe environment. Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or use shortcuts.
• Leave flowers and plants for others to enjoy and wildlife to use.
• Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow.
Please check the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust website for trail conditions and updates. https://www.cdlandtrust.org/trails-access/trail-conditions
The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is a local non-profit working to conserve our land, our water, and our way of life. The Land Trust has a 35-year record of working collaboratively with property owners and communities to identify and protect the region’s most important natural landscapes forever. For more information: www.cdlandtrust.org