The WDFW is looking to acquire the Centralia Mine as a 9,800 acre wildlife area. Reclamation efforts are still underway, but the area has huge potential for creating habitat for endangered and threatened species such as the Western Pond Turtle and Streaked Horned Lark. It would also be an amazing year-round destination for hiking.
Since the area is currently off limits to the general public, I reached out the WDFW for photos, and I'm honestly kind of shocked by how spectacular the old mine is. Miles of wide open prairie, rolling hills, forest and many lakes - it's the kind of large, accessible recreation area that lowland SW WA lacks. I asked the WDFW what their plans for recreation are, and though they are in the very early planning stages they hope to maintain a few roads for canoe/fishing access to the larger lakes and convert the rest to non-motorized trails. Just from Google Earth, this would mean dozens of miles of trails through remarkably varied terrain.
The WDFW is currently seeking public comments on the proposed land acquisition, which can be submitted to [email protected]
The end of the comment period is today 2/12 (I only found out about this project myself a few days ago.) More details about this and other land acquisition projects for 2021 are available on WDFW's website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/land-acquisitions
I've also written an article about it on my blog: https://illuminationsfromtheattic.blogs ... olden.html
General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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Thanks for this post. Sorry I'm just seeing it now. I haven't checked the boards in a while but am glad I saw this. I very much hope this plan becomes a reality. Habitat rehab alone is great but expanded recreational opportunities are a real bonus too.