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Planning and Development Services

Non-Motorized Trails in Industrial Forest

Skagit County Planning & Development Services proposes to modify Skagit County Code Chapter 14.16.410: Industrial Forest – Natural Resource Lands (IF-NRL) to allow the construction of non-motorized trails to be an outright permitted use (no County permit required). SCC 14.16.410(4)(g) currently designates trails as being allowed pursuant to a Level I administrative special use development permit. This proposed exemption would only apply to non-motorized trails within the IF-NRL zoning designation. Proposals for primary and secondary trailheads will still be processed as Level I administrative special uses requiring a Notice of Application and public comment period pursuant to SCC 14.06.150.

The purpose of the IF-NRL zoning district pursuant to SCC 14.16.410 is to ensure that forest lands of long term significance are conserved and managed in order to provide jobs, ecological value, and contribute to the commercial forest industry of Skagit County. The IF-NRL zone also provides allowances for recreational uses, such as providing access to historic sites for the public, primitive camping, and the establishment of trails and trailheads. Staff proposes to allow the establishment of non-motorized trails as an outright permitted use in the IF-NRL zone in order to mitigate conflict between public recreational opportunities and on-going commercial forestry.

Skagit County has requested expedited review from the Washington State Department of Commerce, and reached out to partner SEPA agencies and community stakeholders for environmental and Growth Management Act (GMA) review of this non-project legislative action.