Big Horn to Open Full Time!
March 15, 2018
New for 2018 - Reds Fly Shop will Manage Big Horn Access & Campground
After numerous meetings with the landowner of Big Horn, Reds Fly Shop has agreed to manage boat launch and camping access for the 2018 season. Big Horn is one of, if not THE, busiest access points on the entire Yakima River. Its key location provides ample parking, safe floating, and serves to spread out the fishing and boating pressure for all recreational users throughout the Yakima Canyon. In previous years, the landowner had graciously granted public access during peak seasons, with a camp host on site. However, that program is no longer an option. Unless Reds had stepped up to manage Big Horn, it would have been closed to all uses.
Reds management will provide multiple benefits. First, operations and fees will continue at the same level with daily launches, parking, rafting and camping. Second, in addition to the daily launch and parking fee of $10, regular floaters will also have the option of purchasing a Seasonal Pass that will be valid at both Big Horn and Reds Fly Shop for $100. While Reds will staff the launch on busy weekends, a convenient online reservation and payment solution will enable access through a locked gate, all 12 months of the year, instead of just during the peak season. We are committed to keeping it clean and secure. Feel free to call our shop for more details (509-933-2300) or click the Big horn tab http://redsflyshop.com/shuttle-service-on-the-yakima-river to obtain launch access and directions.
Public Access Needs Stewardship
Several attempts have been made to acquire the Big Horn site on behalf of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management as an access property. That hasn't crossed the finish line yet, but we remain hopeful that someday that may be the case. As the number of recreational users continues to grow, successful and sustainable resource management practices are vital to preserve a quality experience for all users. Reds sits in the middle of one of the largest public land use areas in the region. In addition to the 65,000 acre LT Murray Wildlife area on the west side of the river, there are 10 boat and wading access points along the 19 mile section of the floatable wild and scenic Yakima River Canyon Corridor, with half offering camping. While fly fishing is a popular activity in the canyon, runners, bikers, hikers, and birders all frequent the area. For example, the Yakima Canyon Marathon, RainShadow Trail Run, and Canyon For a Day Bike Tour, are huge spring events that rely on large parking areas, spaced support stations, and ongoing cooperation between all user groups.
Advocates for Access
At Reds, we remain committed advocates for public access, as well as unwavering proponents to increase public access opportunities. We have always offered launch access at our site, and continually give advice on how much and where traffic is on the river to help spread pressure and enable everyone to have a better experience. Our support has not gone unnoticed. I have been asked by the Washington Land Trust to testify in Washington DC on behalf of the Washington Land and Water Conservation Fund. Next week, I will travel to our nations capitol to meet with Congressional representatives to ask them for their support of public land acquisition. My message will emphasize the critical importance of keeping public access sites open and the ongoing need of strategically investing in user groups, businesses, resources and infrastructure that serve to support public participation in outdoor recreation. Stay tuned for a follow-up post when I return.