WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust (CDLT) and Hay Canyon Ranch LLC opened the Cashmere Canyons Preserve to the public on Saturday, May 15th. Although the preserve has been quietly open for the past month, it was officially opened with a small ceremony at the trailhead attended by Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert, Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher, Christine Mahler of the Washington State Wildlife & Recreation Program and representatives from the Washington Fish & Wildlife Department, as well as landowners, Jabe Blumenthal, Julie Edsforth and Don Poirier, CDLT Executive Director Curt Soper, key Land Trust staff and supporters.
Cashmere Canyons Preserve is a 2100-acre preserve, privately-owned and protected for critical wildlife habitat. The preserve is permanently protected by a conservation easement held by CDLT who will also manage the trail system. The CDLT and the landowners have worked for the past two years on the development of a suitable trailhead to allow for public access to the preserve’s over 11 miles of hiking trails. The preserve is open daily from dawn until dusk for foot traffic only. Dogs and bikes are not permitted on the property.
The preserve has incredible wildflower displays and expansive views to the Enchantments, the Entiat Mountains and the Wenatchee Valley down to the Columbia River. The property’s varying elevation, habitats and connectivity to other public lands make it valuable wildlife habitat and particularly resilient to the effects of a changing climate.
Says landowner Jabe Blumenthal, “Our hope is that 100 years from now, when the population of the valley has doubled or tripled, there will still be places where one can see deer and bear, cougars and coyotes, rattlesnakes and raptors, and on lucky days walk in total solitude surrounded by a sea of wildflowers; where people can be neither above nor separate from nature, but in its midst. If that’s still possible, it won’t be by accident nor the result of ‘business as usual.’ It will happen, or not, because of the conscious choices and investments made by the people and institutions of the Wenatchee Valley today.”
Protection of and access to the preserve was funded by the Washington State Recreation & Conservation Funding Board's WWRP (WA Wildlife & Recreation Program), a competitive biannual grant program, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through The Nature Conservancy Climate Resiliency Program and matching donations from Hay Canyon Ranch LLC.