Teanaway Community Forest
Washington’s first community forest offers striking views, recreation opportunities, and a chance to see conservation and sustainable forestry in action. Hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers may use the existing, unmaintained trails at their own risk until sanctioned trails are established through the Teanaway Community Forest Recreation Plan.
The Teanaway Community Forest is home to the three forks of the Teanaway River, an important headwater tributary of the Yakima River. The Teanaway Valley was the summering ground for the Yakama Nation and other Indigenous people. The forest covers 50,241 acres of low-elevation forest and for many years supported timber harvest and grazing. The Teanaway Community Forest today provides important watershed protection for native salmon, as well as a managed forest buffer between local communities and natural fire regimes within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the north.
The area’s designation as a state owned Community Forest, the first of its kind in the state, demonstrates the intersection of conservation, sustainable forestry, and community partnership in the Mountains to Sound Greenway. A new management plan, created in 2015, brings together tribal-led fish recovery, water conservation, recreation opportunities and ecosystem recovery to advance the long-term goals of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan (YBIP). Salmon recovery, a key goal of the YBIP, is being supported with a fish passage inventory and in-stream restoration projects. Engineered log structures meant to mimic naturally occurring fallen trees and log jams in the Teanaway River are reconnecting floodplains, improving water storage, and building more resilient communities by protecting downstream infrastructure.
Recreationists enjoy year-round opportunities in the Teanaway and access to USFS trailheads such as the North Fork Teanaway trailhead that leads to Esmerelda Basin, Ingalls Lake, Longs Pass and Mount Stuart. The Towns to Teanaway community initiative is building upon the protection work of the Teanaway Community Forest to help the nearby towns of Ronald, Roslyn and Cle Elum transition from resource extraction to recreation and tourism. The initiative is building a well-designed trail system to help absorb user impacts, direct visitors away from wildlife habitat and sensitive areas, keep ongoing maintenance costs low, and connect the downtown centers with nearby public lands.