Wenatchee Foothills Trails Close Friday To Protect Mule Deer
The Sage Hills trails system will close to all outdoor recreation on Friday to protect mule deer herds that graze in the area during the winter months.
Chelan PUD owns the 960-acre Home Water Wildlife Preserve in the heart of Sage Hills and has been closing its land during the winter for some time.
Chelan Douglas Land Trust Director for Climate, Access & Stewardship Jennifer Hadersberger says her group decided to follow the PUD's lead.
"As the Land Trust had trails in the neighboring areas, we just decided to be consistent with their closure, so that there was a larger habitat contiguous area for mule deer forage," said Hadersberger.
Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the City of Wenatchee close public access to trails on over 2,200 acres of open space adjacent to Home Water Wildlife Preserve.
The seasonal closure affects the Sage Hills and Horse Lake Reserve trail systems.
In the meantime, the Apple Capital Loop Trail, Saddle Rock, Lower Castle Rock, and the Jacobson Preserve trails will all remain open.
The main gravel road up Dry Gulch Preserve is open to hikers, however all side trails are closed for the winter.
Hadersberger says the dividing line for trail closures is Fifth Street in Wenatchee.
"Basically, all of the foothill trails that are north of Fifth Street close for the winter," Hadersberger said. "And then the trails that are south of Fifth Street stay open."
Mule deer migrate from higher elevations down to the Wenatchee Foothills starting in December. Their numbers peak in March.