Victory in Washington’s Teanaway Valley! 50,000 acres conserved through land acquisition

brewbooks, flickr

Last week, our Pacific Northwest team attended a celebration for Washington state’s first community forest in Washington's beautiful Teanaway Valley.

By Andrea Imler

Last week, our Pacific Northwest team attended a celebration for Washington state’s first community forest in Washington's beautiful Teanaway Valley. The Teanaway Community Forest is 50,000 acres of private-turned-public land (see a map of the forest) and is a popular place for camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding and hunting.

The Teanaway Valley and newly established community forest. The snowy peaks in the background are part of the popular Enchantments area, including 9,416 ft. Mt. Stuart.

The Teanaway is the single largest land acquisition in the past 45 years in Washington and is a cornerstone of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, which The Wilderness Society supports through its efforts as a lead partner in the Yakima Basin Conservation Campaign.

Before the party, our team took a walk out in the new community forest to enjoy the crisp air, fall colors and a little rain.

The Pacific Northwest team walks along the West Fork Teanaway River. Photo: Andrea Imler

The Teanaway Community Forest will be co-managed by the state Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife. The community forest model is a “tool to involve local citizens in protecting working forests that support healthy communities through grazing, forestry, recreation, and conservation.”

The team marvels at the West Fork Teanaway River. Photo: Andrea Imler

The forest is incredibly important for the role it plays in safeguarding the Yakima Basin drinking and agriculture water supply and wildlife habitat. Much of the land neighbors the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and is home to one of Washington’s newest wolf packs.

The three forks of the Teanaway River also join on the land. Historically, the Teanaway area has been home to endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout. Through future restoration efforts, habitats for these species could allow them to thrive once again.

Conserving the Teanaway as part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan was a major effort. It took a large group of strange bedfellows to make it happen—people who don't always agree and who definitely have different interests. But they all came together to support the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan because it is the single best solution for protecting and providing more water for fish, families and farms and in turn, protecting the land that the water flows through. 

Mike Anderson checks out the unique sandstone floor of the West Fork Teanaway River. Photo: Andrea Imler

The Wilderness Society is proud to be a part of the broad coalition working on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, including Governor Inslee, Public Lands Commissioner Goldmark, Speaker Chopp, Senator Honeyford, Representative Dunshee, Senator Nelson, Representative Chandler, Representative Warnick, Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Anderson and Department of Ecology Director Bellon -- the success of the Teanaway couldn't have been achieved without you! 

We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and tackling the next steps of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan to ensure its success.


The Broad Coalition

Federal Agencies
Bureau of Reclamation | National Marine Fisheries Service | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | U.S. Forest Service

Yakama Nation
Yakama Nation Natural Resources | Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project

Washington State Agencies
Dept. of Ecology | Dept. of Agriculture | Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Local Governments
Benton County | Kittitas County | Yakima County | City of Yakima

Irrigated Agriculture, Districts
Kennewick Irrigation | Kittitas Reclamation | Roza Irrigation | Sunnyside Valley Irrigation | Yakima-Tieton Irrigation

Back Country Horsemen of WA | Kittitas County Parks & Recreation District 1 | Washington Trails Association

American Rivers | Conservation Northwest | Forterra | Friends of the Teanaway | Kittitas Conservation Trust | Mountains to Sound Greenway | National Wildlife Federation | Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation | The Nature Conservancy | The Wilderness Society | Trout Unlimited | Trust for Public Land | Yakima Greenway Foundation

Local Communities
City of Cle Elum | City of Ellensburg | City of Mabton | City of Wapato | City of Yakima | City of Zillah | City of Moxee | City of Roslyn | City of Union Gap | Town of Naches | Town of Granger | Town of Harrah

Central Washington Homebuilders Assoc. | Kennewick Public Hospital District | Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce | Plum Creek Timber Company | Red’s Fly Shop | Suncadia Resort |Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce | Vision Cle Elum | West Richland Chamber of Commerce | Yakima Chamber of Commerce | Yakima County Development Agency

Other Stakeholders
Yakima Basin Fish & Wildlife Recovery Board | Yakima Basin Storage Alliance

Andrea Imler is a Communications Manager in the Pacific Northwest Regional office of The Wilderness Society. Andrea supports all facets of communication efforts, from media outreach to graphic design, at The Wilderness Society.