Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
• About 9.2 million of Washington’s 45 million acres (about 20 percent) are public U.S. Forest Service lands.
• Of those 9.2 million acres of U.S Forest Service land, about 2 million, or 20 percent, are inventoried roadless areas.
• About 15,000 acres, or 0.16 of total U.S. Forest Service lands are recommended for wilderness designation.
An amazing aspect of this area is that it’s only an hour’s drive from the major metropolitan area of Seattle/Tacoma. This area receives significant use from skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, climbing, hiking and off roading in the summer and hunting in the fall.
Esmeralda basin is actually part of the larger Teannaway roadless area. This area is roughly 35,000 acres and backs up to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It is surrounded on its lower flanks by forest.
Hunting opportunities abound. The region holds elk, bear, deer, cougar, turkey and forest grouse. This is one of the few areas in Washington that still allow an elk hunter to kill a cow elk. One of Washington’s five wolf packs resides here.
The free flowing rivers are home to endangered bull trout, steelhead and salmon. The Cle Elum and Teannaway rivers flow from this area and provide a major source of water for irrigators and towns further down stream. These lower reaches suffer from major water shortages every year. As the population and use increases it is becoming more important than ever to protect these free flowing rivers.