TCF Trails Remain Closed But You Can Help!
Teanaway Community Forest trails are closed to motorized use. This is the area the ORV community needs to rally strongly for to open up for official use. Gravel roads are open to plated ORVs. There is no riding behind closed gates. This area should not be confused with the USFS trails in the area: West Fork, Middle Fork and Yellow Hill access trails are open and can be linked together via access road at base. DNR and WDFW are known to patrol and issue tickets to violators. Note that seasonal closures may be in effect during winter months. Check for alerts on the Washington Riding Areas page.
Additional funding was passed by the legislature in the 2016 session to resume the functions of the Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee. This additional funding will allow the committee to complete the recreation plan, which will determine whether or not motorized use will be allowed in the Community Forest. The recreation plan must be compatible with water, wildlife, and other recreational uses in the forest.
TCF Advisory Committee Meetings are held regularly. Pro-motorized recreational users are encouraged to learn how to support the re-opening of motorized recreation and attend the committee meetings when possible. Contact the NMA to find out how you can help.
Until the recreation plan is complete, the status quo is still in effect: no summer motorized use in the Teanaway Community Forest. Access to the USFS trails on the west end of the TCF are not closed to summer motorized use. Middle Fork, West Fork and Yellow Hill trails are not part of TCF; these are USFS trails. They typically close during the winter months and open June 15th, unless the USFS opens them earlier.
Why should motorized trail riding be allowed?
Not only was there a long history of safe and responsible motorized recreation, the TCF is now state trust land and as such, DNR must provide for multiple uses to the public where it is in the best interest of the state and general welfare of the citizens thereof (RCW 79.10.100). One of those uses includes motorized recreation under RCW 79.10.120.
Spread the word!
User-built trails in what is now the Teanaway Community Forest have long been used by many different users - and that includes the motorized user group. The DNR closed access to motorized use.
Print a copy of this flyer and ask your your local dealer post it. Bring a copy to your next MC club meeting. Staple a copy at a riding area.
Attend Advisory Committee Meetings
Even though the DNR has banned motorized trail riding in the TCF during the interim planning phases, long term planning for the TCF continues. The NMA and WOHVA urge all pro-motorized recreational users to take action and attend committee meetings when possible. Meeting schedules are posted on DNR's TCF portal.
The DNR purchased over 50,000 square acres in the Teanaway area from a private timber company in October 2013.The area was named Teanaway Community Forest (TCF).
In the early portion of 2014, an advisory committee was formed to define the strategy for the forest, including what type of recreational uses should be allowed during the interim planning of the area. ORVs were banned from the area in the interim plan. Planning sessions continue and it is critical that the ORV community rally behind our ORV representative, Mike Reimer.
The DNR and WDFW hosted a TCF Open House in Cle Elum on October 25th, 2016. There was a good showing of motorized users in attendance, including NMA and WOHVA staff and board members. The open house was for the DNR and WDFW to hear from the public on what kind of recreation should the TCF support, and how those recreation types could be supported. Note that the closures remain in effect.
Decades ago, offroad motorcycle riders began riding trails in this area which is just a couple hours from Seattle and just outside of Cle Elum. There are many miles of trails and TheReamerSteve has shared some of his riding experiences in the Teanaway Community Forest Playlist on YouTube.
As of April 3, 2015, the TCF remains closed to motorized recreation. On February 9th, 2015, the TCF advisory committee agreed to study motorized use in the Teanaway Community Forest (TCF) in its recreation plan. Once the forest is inventoried for water, wildlife, soils, etc.. they will be able to see where motorized use on the landscape could occur. At that point, existing and or new trails could be identified. It has yet to be determined if multi-use trails or exclusive motorized trails would result. All recreation will be subject to criteria including the SEPA process. One concern is the lack of funds to complete recreation plan and that a priority list would be developed based on funds available.
The 2017 Washington State legislative session is well under way and it looks like it will involve a protracted budget battle.
So far, all of the proposed budget legislation includes millions of dollars of increased ORV funding reflecting our share of the recent gas tax increases.
So far, so good, but these bills will undoubtedly evolve significantly before they are enacted so we will be watching closely.
A number of bills have been introduced that would create a “carbon” or “fossil fuel” tax. All of these bills would add a new tax on motor vehicle fuel, varying from 14 to 23 cents a gallons with provisions to automatically go up in the future. The money would go to a variety of uses, including education. Since Article II, Section 40 of the Washington State Constitution prohibits money from motor vehicle fuel taxes from being used for non-road purposes, this appears to us to be unconstitutional.
The NMA is actively opposing House Bill HB1286 due the disproportionately large portion of the cost burden it would impose on the purchasers of ORV permits. This bill would raise the title change fee from $12 to $18. It would also raise registration renewal fee from $5 to $9. The result would be having to pay $30.75 for a $18 ORV permit with only $14.76 going toward ORV recreation. The fee money would go to buying new ferry boats. We are working with key Legislators to craft a better solution concerning ORV permit fees.
There are a few bills introduced that would require proof of insurance to obtain or renew a motor vehicle if insurance is required by law. None of these have seen any real progress.
On the WATV road use front, House Bill HB1156 would expand the WATV road use county population threshold from 15k to 300k. This would expand it out to all but the five largest counties. This bill received a hearing before the House Transportation Committee, but the committee chairman Judy Clibborn appears disinclined to bring it up for a vote.
House Bill HB1307 would allow local jurisdictions to establish different speed limits for different vehicle types. This would facilitate opening some roads with speed limits over 35 mph to WATV use at a slower speed limit.
Once again, the NMA is supporting legislation that would allow spouses to share their volunteer hours for the purpose of earning a free Discover Pass. This year the bill is Senate Bill SB5200 and was passed by the Senate Natural Resources Committee without opposition.
We have drafted new landowner liability protection legislation and Grant Nelson is working with the lobbyists representing the trial lawyers to see if we can come up with something they will not oppose. Unfortunately we have made little progress on this issue this year. The trial lawyers are very powerful in Olympia.
The Washington State Motorsport Dealers Association is promoting two bills, House Bill HB1446 and Senate Bill SB5338. This would make it a gross misdemeanor for a resident of WA to register an ORV or snowmobile in another state for the purpose of evading WA state registration fees. They believe Washington State is losing out on a large amount of ORV funding due to people illegally registering their vehicles out of state. Since this is already illegal under existing RCW46.16A.030(6) it is unclear what this would actually accomplish other than bringing visibility to the issue.
Keep an eye on the NMA Facebook page and website to stay up to date and learn how you can help us achieve ORV positive legislative outcomes.
Legislative/Land Use Coordinator
Northwest Motorcycle Association
The 2017 Washington State legislative session got underway with a flurry this week.
There has been nine pieces of budget related legislation introduced and so far our ORV funding is safe.
Even better, both the House and Senate capital budget bills include increasing the NOVA allocation to just over 13
million dollars. This is a nearly four million dollar increase and reflects our fair share of the recent increase in gas tax
So far, so good, but these bills will undoubtedly evolve significantly before they are enacted so we will be watching
We have drafted new landowner liability protection legislation and our lobbyist, Grant Nelson, is working with potential
opposition lobbyists to see if we can come up with something they will not block.
For our ATV buddies, legislation has been introduced to expand the number of counties with an automatic opt-in for
WATV road use.
The carbon tax legislation requested by the Governor was introduced Thursday and it includes adding a $25 tax per
metric ton of carbon dioxide produced by most fossil fuels, including motor vehicle fuel. Based on approximately 20
pounds of carbon dioxide produced per gallon of gas burned this would work out to about 22 cents a gallon. Additionally
it would annually increase by the rate of inflation plus 3.5 percent.
The revenue would go into a new carbon pollution reduction account. Taxing motor vehicle fuel and using the revenue
for non-highway purposes is in violation of Washington State Constitution Article II, Section 40.
That is why we get our ORV gas tax money “refunded” into the NOVA account.
NMA Legislative/Land Use Coordinator
Rick Dahl, NMA President
Our members put their money where their heart is!
The NMA membership has shown it is willing to defend the right to pursue their recreational sport of choice when anti-access groups, and government agencies, work to enact closures and laws that unfairly impact that choice. History shows us that building a strong defense fund before a detrimental event presents itself is the most beneficial approach. Giving us the ability to react immediately to a situation puts us in a stronger position against the anti-access crowd, and may even deter some anti-motorized actions from starting.
Unlike the large State Anti-Access groups, who can count on donations from big industry, we rely on the donations of individuals - especially those making donations of less than $200. Our donor base is made up of motorized recreationists who write checks out of their personal bank accounts because they believe motorized recreation should have the right to pursue their sport on public land as freely as other user groups.
Invest today to continue that fight!
Please donate $25, $50, $75, $100 or more to help maintain a strong legal fund to fight those battles in court, keep our presence in Olympia, and maintain the pressure on land management agencies to include motorized recreation in the conversation!
President, Northwest Motorcycle Association
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