Important Update: The Darrington Power Lines area is CLOSED.
The Department of Natural Resources has announced that they are closing off access to the Darrington Power Lines area.
Signs have been posted.
A DNR crew who was onsite there spoke with some users and told them anyone caught on the property will face criminal trespass prosecution.
Gates will be installed soon.
The official response from Mark Arneson, District Manager for the Department of Natural Resources in the area in question is:
“I would like to thank you for your, and your fellow rider’s efforts in policing the trash and dumping in the Caskey area.”
“While I know that ORV riding is an underserved recreational activity in our area (and across the state), the activities going on in the Caskey area cannot continue. As I am coming to understand, the area has been used, loved, and cared for, for years by responsible users. However, this area was never properly permitted and developed to meet multiple environmental and development permits required for ORV areas at the local county, state,and federal levels on DNR-managed lands. And also unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence at this area that there has been increasing, significant environmental degradation caused because of irresponsible users riding and creating trails where none should be. That impact effects multiple landowners in the area, including private lands, and tribal lands. We are talking about damage to salmon habitat, damage to multiple fish bearing steams, damage to other sensitive habitats, damage to archaeological and cultural resources, unchecked erosion, and untold amounts of sediment delivered into these streams and rivers. This area has become a liability to the Department by this unsanctioned use violating multiple federal, state, and county regulations.”
“As for public input on Caskey, there unfortunately was no way around it, the activities occurring are violating multiple federal, state and county regulations,and the department is required to stop those activities. As for outreach, I could have absolutely done better. If this was a sanctioned and permitted area like Walker Valley or Reiter, and we were forced to close or modify some portion, then absolutely there would have been more user engagement, input, and outreach.”
Today I visited Tahuya State Forest with Ethan, Graig, and Thomas. It’s been a while since I was out there last. On the way, I met a fellow NW UTV Trail Riders member at a Park n Ride and sold him a set of springs to replace the sagging stock ones on his RZR. Thanks again, Mike!
The 4×4 clubs have been busy at Tahuya. I’d like to say they’ve been improving the place, and they probably feel that they have been. I like some of the things they’ve done, but I also feel that they’ve seriously damaged some of the trails. Current trail planners seem to have an aversion to any trail that you can just cruise on and enjoy some smooth rolling. So they seem to have taken an excavator and scooped huge chunks out of the trails. So it’s TILT WAY LEFT! NOW TILT WAY RIGHT! NOW LEFT! NOW RIGHT! So you feel a bit like you’re in an agitate cycle in a washing machine. One or two trails like that is one thing but when they start giving the entire place that treatment, it gets old. I understand that they are trying to make the place more interesting, but I feel they need to change it up a little instead of just digging holes on alternating sides of the trail every 50 feet and piling the dirt on the other side.
But overall, it was an enjoyable trip. We went across the top of the North loop, met a jeep guy who was kind enough to flag me down and tell me there was a busted Cherokee ahead so we could take an alternate trail around him. We headed down past the main entrance onto 55 Trail, and we were pleased to find that it was NOT choked up with stock pickups so we made good time. After that we cut over to the South Loop and hooked around to the West Loop. There is a more challenging qualifier gate there which we had fun with. After checking out the West Loop a bit we decided to give the rock gardens a miss and head back North. We were in a mellow mood and didn’t want to break anything today. We worked our way up to the mud holes and watched some bikes play around while we figured out CTCSS privacy codes on our radios. After that we headed back up to the parking area.
Due to the hard packed, melting and slippery snow & ice, we decided it would be a better idea to back our trailers out BEFORE we loaded up the UTVs, and that worked out great.
On the way home we stopped at The Airport Diner in Bremerton, where I have always found good food and good service.
All in all, a mellow but satisfying day!
Here are some pics from today’s adventure:
We had a little trouble with the icy parking lot. Fortunately we had shovels and some help.
There is a qualifier to go through on the way from parking to the trails, to keep the riff-raff out.
Today I went and checked out the Honda Talon at Lifestyles Honda in Mount Vernon, WA.
I was impressed by how easily accessible some engine components and filters were to reach. Starter motor replacement would probably take a half hour!
I had way more leg room than in my XP 1000, and had to reach a little for the dashboard controls with the seat all the way back.
I took both the X and the R out for a spin in their back yard. It’s a big grassy field with a big mound at one end and a huge deep drainage ditch in the middle.
The biggest thing I noticed was the direct instant power. Throttle control is going to take some getting used to. There’s no CVT lag. You get all the power right away.
I think there will need to be some work on the shocks for a plusher ride. In stock form, the suspension is a little rough. I set them both to the softest setting, and they weren’t that much different in a bumpy grassy field with some curbs to run over and some mounds of dirt to climb around on. The R was softer, but still not as plush as my XP1K with stock shocks on it.
The shifts felt a little hard to me, but I’m told that gets better with break-in. I guess that’s your trade-off for not having a CVT belt system. Maybe some 30″ 8-ply tires will tame that throttle and shifting some.
While planning off-road adventures, I found that there was always a considerable amount of effort and doubt involved in learning about new riding areas. Information is out there, but one must dig and interpret. Often the best way to learn about a new area was to find a guide. UTV Adventures LLC was created to provide consistent, easily understood information to help you plan your off-road adventure. This book endeavors to be your virtual guide. It may not be quite the same as a warm body leading the way down the trail, but it will provide the same basic information that such a guide would – and it will always be ready to go riding with you.
Our products contain directions to designated OHV/ORV trail systems, parking info, trail maps, turn-by-turn guides to trail loops, full color photos, GPS waypoints, GPS tracks, hazards, and stuff to do when you are not off-roading.
With the purchase of either the printed book or the eBook, you are entitled to a full set of GPS tracks. You can import these into your GPS, your Ride Command, or into a navigation app on your phone or tablet.
It’s pretty handy to have an arrow saying YOU ARE HERE on the tracks, so you don’t have to worry whether you missed that turn or not.
It took several years to get to all of the riding areas in this book and cover them thoroughly enough to make this book. Of course, part of the problem is that for about half of the year, about half of the state is usually either covered with snow or on fire.
But hey, don’t let that stop you from attempting an epic marathon run. See if you can beat my record of riding everything in this book in less than two years. I dare you!