Archive for the ‘Teanaway’ Category


No Joke: Compromise on Eastern WA Water and Lands


Guest post by Nicky Pasi, Conservation Outreach Associate, American Rivers
Photographs by Keith Lazelle; Benj Drummond/LightHawk

Originally posted on The Nature Conservancy WA’s Field Notes

There are so many proverbs, pithy quips and wry one-liners about western water conflicts, you could bind them up in a respectably thick book. But here’s a new one, less of a joke than it might seem:

“An irrigator, an environmentalist, and a tribal member walk into a Senator’s office … and the room doesn’t erupt?”

Question mark intentional. It’s an unexpected scenario, but it’s exactly how the people of the Yakima Basin have decided to address their many, often conflicting, demands on water.



Teanaway Turkey Time

Turkey hunting in the Teanaway has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s an amazing way to end a long Washington winter, get out into the backcountry, and bag some birds along the way.

Photo by Gregg Bafundo

Boots on the Ground | Photo by Gregg Bafundo

Every spring I head up to the North and Middle forks of the Teanaway river with my longbow or my shotgun for a few days of spectacular scenery, wily birds, and solitude.

My day begins early, actually the night before, when I walk the roads and trails blowing owl calls, which tell me where the turkeys are settling in for the night. Then it’s a good sleep, up in the dark with coffee, and off to the blind with my decoys to wait for the birds. Half the time I find myself looking for morels; I’ve had coyote, bear and even a cougar come near my blind. Sometimes I get a turkey, sometimes I don’t, but I always love being out in the spring, enjoying things warming up and my thoughts of coming summer fishing trips.

Today the private American Forest Land Company (AFLC) lands along these spectacular rivers are open for hunting and fishing, and I’m looking forward to the day – hopefully later this summer – when we know the whole valley will be protected for good under public ownership. One of the best things about the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan is its promise to provide for the public acquisition of the Teanaway, a beauty of a valley that Washington conservationists have been working to protect for a very long time. And the fact is, everyone who hunts, fishes and hikes the Teanaway knows that if we don’t protect this landscape soon, we’ll lose access forever. That’s something the turkeys and I can both agree on.


Flying for the Western Governors’ Association

by Cynthia Wilkerson, The Wilderness Society

There’s nothing like flying in a small plane to illuminate connections at a big scale. In the Yakima Basin, it’s all about the water. From the air, the connections between the snow, streams, reservoirs and the Yakima River cannot be missed.

On a crisp, sunny morning, we meet up with Ecoflight pilot Bruce Gordon to look at the land and water conservation and infrastructure components of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. Steve Malloch of National Wildlife Federation and Jeff Chapman of the Back Country Horseman of Washington and I climbed aboard for this priceless adventure.

Jeff Chapman is public policy chair for Back Country Horsemen of Washington, board member of Washington Trails Association, and an appointee to the Washington Governor’s Association’s Outdoor Recreation Council. This past weekend, Back Country Horsemen of Washington voted to support the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. This is great news and confirms a lot of the partnership work that The Wilderness Society has done in the state as well as with the national Back Country Horsemen of America. Jeff appreciated seeing the upper Yakima Basin from the air and relating it to the opportunity for National Recreation Area designation.

After the flight, Steve, a water policy expert with National Wildlife Federation, said “I’ve been working on this project for three years and the aerial view clearly demonstrated that the Cle Elum River valley above the reservoir is definitely fishy” (i.e. good habitat for fish). The Yakima Basin Integrated Plan includes fish passage above the reservoir and recommends designation of the upper Cle Elum as a Wild and Scenic River. Beyond that, he is even more convinced of the importance of the American Forest Land Company 46,000 acre private lands protection that is also part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.

For me, it was inspiring to be so close to the mountains, rivers and valleys and to see how they connect. It is really striking how close the Stuart Range and Enchantments are to Ellensburg and certainly to Cle Elum and Roslyn, where I live. It is indeed a small world and the basin is all connected. Between this flight and the one I took yesterday, I was also struck by how visible the beetle killed trees were in the Teanaway watershed, how forested the private American Forest Land Company lands were and the quality conditions of the lands in the Manastash-Taneum region. All of this confirmed for me the importance of the work that the Yakima Basin Conservation Campaign is doing and inspires me to get out and about more in my own backyard.

A big thank you to pilot Bruce Gordon and Jane Pargiter of EcoFlight for their superior flight service in conjunction with the Western Governors’ Association annual meeting. Others who were able to take advantage of the flight over the upper Yakima Basin: Michael Garrity, American Rivers; Phil Rigdon, Yakama Nation; Paul Jewell, Kittitas County Commissioner; Peter Dykstra, The Wilderness Society; Marty Leosch, Office of Washington Governor Chris Gregoire ; Mark Rupp, Office of Washington Governor Chris Gregoire; former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer; and Alan Matheson, Office of Governor Gary Herbert of Utah.


Fish. Families. Farms.
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