Upper Wenatchee Community Lands Plan

Trust for Public Land
Photo: Andy Dappe
Upper Wenatchee Community Lands Plan
The Trust for Public Land

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) is located along the east slopes of Washington’s Cascade Range in Chelan County. The landscape serves as habitat for federal threatened and endangered grizzly bear, gray wolf, northern spotted owl, Upper Columbia steelhead and spring chinook, Mid-Columbia bull trout, white bark pine, showy stickseed, and Wenatchee Mountains checkermallow. It is an important migration corridor for large-ranging gray wolf and wolverine, and their prey species, mule deer and elk. With its proximity to Seattle, the area sees a high degree of outdoor recreation use, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing, along with motorcycling, and OHV riding. However, those living in the area are of a population considered highly vulnerable per the Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool. The ecosystems and communities are currently at high risk for catastrophic wildfire and the current checkerboard of private ownership poses a range of recreational access challenges.

The Trust for Public Land is engaging in a phased acquisition of 35,000 acres within the OWNF by 2030, beginning with two phases that will lead to protection of 12,058 acres by December 2026. Once acquired, TPL will convey the land to the US Forest Service which will work on restoration, improving watershed conditions, and enhancing carbon sequestration potential.