The East Cascades Recreation Partnership (ECRP) works with tribes, federal and state land managers, nonprofit organizations, local community and county leadership, and motorized and non-motorized user groups to further sustainable recreation opportunities on lands open to the public in Kittitas County and to support regional economic stability and the health of our natural environment.
Public lands at a Recreational Crossroads
Today, lands open to public recreation in the Upper Yakima Basin are at a crossroads as they face increasing recreational demand that land managers simply do not have the resources to meet. Coupled with increasing recreational use and stagnant or decreasing management budgets, the region is unprepared to deal with such pressures and needs to chart a new path forward to prepare for the future.
Given these outstanding challenges, there is an opportunity to work proactively with a host of partners and players toward a more sustainable future for recreation in the East Cascades. The East Cascades Recreation Partnership (ECRP) works toward solutions that meet recreational demands now and in the future, while also protecting the natural systems and environment that so many recreational users enjoy.
The time is now to craft a sustainable recreation strategy driven by the newly minted ECRP for the Upper Yakima Basin through broad-based collaboration of state and federal land management agencies, non-profit organizations, local businesses, motorized and non-motorized recreational users, and local elected officials. We envision that by 2030, the East Cascades Recreation Partnership’s implementation of a sustainable recreation strategy will result in the following:
- Recreation planning will be occurring in a coordinated and collaborative manner across land management boundaries.
- Recreation interests will have an equal seat at the table as other resource areas (e.g. timber, mining, biology) during agency planning processes. It is understood that in some areas recreation may be secondary to agency primary land management objectives.
- Community understanding of underlying land management objectives and the challenges and constraints inherent to managing diverse recreation across multiple public and private land management areas will have been expanded and elevated.
- Recreation infrastructure and uses will be demonstrated to be compatible with watershed health.
- Local communities and counties will have been empowered to develop, steward, maintain, and advertise local recreation in a way that is compatible with their community values, economies, and desired quality of life.
- An active, coordinated, and long-term committed network of user groups, community organizations, businesses, municipalities, and conservation organizations will be bolstering recreation stewardship and management across the Upper Yakima Basin.
- The ECRP will function as the collaborative community advisory group in the Upper Yakima Basin for reducing, avoiding, and proactively addressing recreation conflicts and concerns during project planning and implementation.
- Social capital will be generated to create advocates and support for watershed and habitat restoration projects.
Our Guiding Principles
- Access for All – The ECRP works to further sustainable recreation opportunities for everyone who seeks an outdoor experience, where appropriate with land management goals.
- Watershed Health and Resilience – The ECRP promotes sustainable recreation opportunities that maintain and enhance watershed health and resilience, recognizing that a healthy watershed supports thriving communities.
- Connectivity – The ECRP works to ensure connectivity of recreational experiences across the landscape.
- Driver – The ECRP seeks to be a driver of community dialogue and conversation across communities in the Upper Yakima Basin.
- Shared Stewardship – The ECRP embraces the power of citizen engagement and involvement in managing and stewarding our public lands and recreational experiences.
- Heritage and Cultural Identity – The ECRP acknowledges the importance of traditional access, resource uses and cultural practices, as well as historic ties with the landscape that sustain and define regional identity and connection to the region. –
How We’re Structured
The East Cascade Recreation Partnership is composed of a Recreation Forum and Land Manager Consortium that collaboratively develop, prioritize, seek funding for, and implement recreation projects across Kittitas County.
The ECRP Recreation Forum is comprised of a diverse membership that represents motorized recreation, non-motorized recreation, community values, and non-profit partners and is guided by a Member Charter that establishes roles, responsibilities, and decision making.
The Land Manager Consortium is comprised of decision-makers from the public land management agencies in Kittitas County and is guided by Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Kittitas Stewardship Foundation: Friends of the ECRP is the non-profit community foundation that supports the work of the ECRP through fundraising, grant writing, ECRP facilitation, stewardship development, and education, communication, and advocacy program management. We are in the process of establishing this foundation and look forward to working with community leaders, elected officials, business owners, guides/outfitters, and others to establish this community foundation and to explore which long term funding models are right for our county.