Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

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Public input sought on Silver Star Scenic Area

The Columbian
Published:

The Silver Star Vision Plan Steering Committee invites public input on managing recreation in and around the Silver Star Scenic Area.

This project seeks to define a vision that is shared among a diverse set of stakeholders including trail users, environmental groups and land management agencies; specifically the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Washington Department of Natural Resources, which manages the adjacent Yacolt Burn State Forest.

Information about the planning process as well as background information can be found at www.silverstarvisionplan.org.

Those interested in providing input can use the online survey found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/72QQ6GP. Deadline to take the survey is Aug. 31.

Following this public input period, the Steering Committee will review responses and develop recommendations and a draft vision plan. A draft vision plan will be available for comments during the fall/winter of 2021-22.

The Silver Star area is situated on the Southwest corner of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and abuts the Yacolt Burn State Forest.

It is rich with scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources. Yet, it lacks an up-to-date plan to guide stewardship activities and protect these values across the landscape.

Vision plans are useful documents for setting the direction of further planning and management. They are not legally binding plans or have specific timelines but rather an expression of the collective voice of those organizations and agencies that develop the vision.

The Silver Star Mountain and nearby ridges and valleys were designated as a Special Interest Area in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Management Plan in 1990. The goal of this designation was to maintain the outstanding scenic, botanical, and cultural features of the area while still providing for an appropriate level of public access and enjoyment.

Standards and guidelines specify that motorized vehicles should not be permitted within the Special Interest Area.

In 1993 the Forest Service approved a trails plan that closed some of the roads that used to lead to Silver Star, authorized some new trails and established the management goal of providing a semi-primitive non-motorized experience with trails designated for hiking as well as some open to equestrians and mountain biking.

The lands are the homelands of Indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Tribes continue to rely on and share in the stewardship of these lands to this day.

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