good news and bad news for Reiter Trails

Last night at a meeting with the stumpjumpers I learned that there is some new things happening with Reiter that is both good and bad. The snohomish county appears to have approve turning Reiter into a legal ORV area. This would be good, but to do so the zoning of the area has to be changed. As such, changing the zoning of the area could dramatically impact what areas of Reiter can be utilized as ORV area.

One of the members of the stumpjumpers has attended hearings on the matter and has heard such restrictions as: no night riding, no riding for kids under 12, 1000ft set-back from private lands, etc., etc. The 1000ft set-back is what is most concerning and could reduce a large area of reiter.

The member also cautioned that there are other details in the wording that could easily allow the county to limit riding in the area to near nothing.

I have been trying to search the snohomish county web site http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/ for details on the proposal but have not found any. I am sending an e-mail to see if I can receive any more information.

If you enjoy riding Reiter, I suggest you contact snohomoish county in any way you can to find out how you can be involved in making it an attractive ORV area that we can continue to enjoy. There is a public meeting being held tonight (Jan 8th) at 7pm at Everett Powersports to review the county's proposal before it goes forth. This is an opportunity to hear the proposal and voice your opinion on it. I urge anyone that can to attend the meeting.

I was hoping that the NMA has been involved with this matter, but heard that no representatives have been present in the hearings/meetings and no word if there will be representation tonight.

Is it going to be strictly County funded?

It sounds like they are trying to use Nonhigway & Offroad Vehicle Activities (NOVA) funds for it, or that is changing it to an official ORV area so they are elligible to receive (NOVA) funds. I am not sure who/where these funds would go. Maybe to DNR??

Here is some info about NOVA itself and a few problems: NOVA fund cut

The meeting last night went over fairly well, Linda Kuller (chief planner for snohomish county) reviewed her proposal with the ORV group and DNR to re-zone Reiter from "Forest" to "Forest and Recreation". This will allow DNR to submit a conditional permit to classify Reiter as an ORV use area. The only glaring issue with the proposal is 2000ft setback (yes 2000ft, nearly 1/2 mile) from any private residential dwelling. This could cause a major problem if say the nature trails community was designated as "private residential", however, it wasn't clear during the meeting what classification the nature trails community falls under. There are a few other private residents near the lower parts of reiter that may be of concern as well. We asked that this number be reviewed and would like to see the numbers of similar ORV areas to compare to. One of the other concerns was that the proposal stated that all trails must be approved by U.S. Forestry guidelines, without having access to these guidelines it is unclear what that really means and there is concern Reiter could lose some of it's characteristic trails (i.e., there may be miniumum widths, grades specifications, etc., stipulated in the guidelines, and there is fear that Reiter could lose it's really "tight" single-track trails).

Going forward, the proposal will be submitted to the county commissioner for review. There will be a public hearing in about a month and the date will be posted in the Snohomish Herald. Again, anyone can attend this meeting, I should be receiving the date by mail and will post it here when I do for those interested. Once accepted, it will be up to DNR to submit a conditional use permit to establish the area as an official riding area.

At present and as in the past, the county sees Reiter as an "unofficial" riding area that is not legal to ride on, and until the legal land manager (i.e., DNR) sumits the conditional use permit the area "could" be shut down at any time. However, the county's chief planner, Linda Kuller, stated that the county has no intention of shutting Reiter down unless problems/complaints arise and they have to deal with them. DNR also stated that at this time they see reiter as a "self maintained, self policed" area and have no intention of shutting it down themselves. At the same time, the speaker for the DNR stated that they do not have the immediate funds and resources to begin the process to obtain the conditional use permit. They are currently focusing all efforts on the Walker Valley ORV area and plan to move focus to Reiter once they are satisfied with Walker.

So what does all this mean. Basically, Reiter has the potential to some day become an offical ORV area similar to Walker and Tahuya manged by the DNR. There is no apparent time-line when this will occur. For the time being, both DNR and the county will look the other way while we ride Reiter as long as problems do not arise. This means it is up to us to keep it clean, safe, and a responsible riding area, otherwise it could be taken away.

I still urge anyone interested in Reiter to contact snohomish county and the DNR to find out how you can get involved. You can call Lida Kuller herself and find out more details on the proposal and the next steps (unfortunately I left her number at home, but can post it next week). Another thing you can do is get involved with work parties that take place at Reiter. The NMA and most local riding clubs have work parties up there and you are welcome to sign-up for the day. Also, funds can be obtained for the man-hours put in by volunteer work to help DNR and clubs maintain Reiter, so your time pays double.

I have the hard-copies of documents obtained from Linda Kuller and can send a copy to anyone that is interested, just shoot me a pm or e-mail and I will get one out to you.

:)

Trav,

Did they ever say what spurred the interest in doing this up at Reiter? Is this all-of-a-sudden, or has it been brewing for some time?

I wonder if the neighbors out there have been grumbling and the county & DNR are cracking down, or if they (Sno. Co. & DNR) are exposed to legal action if someone gets hurt bad out there and decides to sue those agencies.

Thanks for your involvement and providing us the info!!

Linda claims it has been in the works for a long time but has always been on the back burner. I think myself and a few others were over-skeptical at first thinking the county was just doing this to get money and potentially making Reiter un-usable to the riding community so they could get it out of there hair. However, once hearing Linda speak about it and didn't seem that way at all, and I think all of us came away from the meeting feeling pretty good. She says they haven't got any complaints or anything, it is just something they knew they needed to finally take care of and has been sitting too long. I think presently, DNR has the largest risk since they are the land manager, but by having the conditional permit the liability would probably go back on the county. Should by the same liability issue as walker.

Thanx for keeping us up-to-date trav. :)

no prob drew :)

I got an e-mail from Linda Kuller, here is the info she gave

"Thanks for your interest in the proposed zoning code amendments related to off-road vehicle use areas. An off-road vehicle ordinance was presented to Planning Commission last year and the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the ordinance. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office is currently reviewing it for approval as to form. Once that is completed, the ordinance will be transmitted to the Executive and on to Council for review. Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance. If you send me your mailing address, I will send you a copy of the public hearing notice. I have attached a staff report and copy of the draft ordinance that will be considered. The purpose of the code amendment is to update the zoning code so that off-road vehicle use areas can be legally established in the county. Currently, this use is not addressed in the zoning code. Off-road vehicle user groups had been requesting that the county update its code for many years. Give me a call at 425 388-3412 if you have any questions regarding the draft ordinance."

If you would like to review the staff report and and draft ordiance here are the links:

Draft Ordinance

Staff Report

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