Capitol Forest opens May 1 for camping, ORV & horses

Capitol Forest opens May 1 for camping, ORV & horses

From the Washington Department of Natural Resources in Olympia

ORV and horseback riders and campers longing to get out and play in Capitol Forest this April will have to wait another month. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which manages the forest, has permanently changed the opening date to May 1.

The decision to move the date back one month came about last year as a result of discussions with representatives from user groups in the area and feedback from the recreating public. This new season brings Capitol Forest’s season in line with the Yacolt Burn Start Forest season, which was changed five years ago at the suggestion of user groups.

“We know from the Yacolt Burn season change that there will be an immediate positive impact on the protection of natural resources,” said Brian Poehlein, a recreation manager with DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region.

DNR staff also expect the season change will reduce the amount of maintenance needed on the trail systems in Capitol Forest by keeping traffic off saturated soils during the typically rainy month of April. This, too, was a lesson learned from Yacolt Burn.

The new season open and closure dates had unanimous support from the user group representatives. The closing date was moved back one month to December 1, which still offers seven months of outdoor recreation opportunities for ORV users, horse riders, and campers.

Trails in Capitol Forest are open all year for non-motorized use, except for horses.

For more information about recreation in Capitol Forest, contact Brian Poehlein at 360-575-5021 or

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