Washington county may overturn ATV access ordinances

Publish Date: 
Mar 3, 2014

TWISP, Wash. – An Okanogan County Superior Court judge this month will consider a request to overturn two county ordinances that opened hundreds of miles of roads to ATVs.

The Methow Valley Citizens’ Council and Conservation Northwest claim that the county failed to notify people of the potential environmental impact of allowing ATVs to use the roads and asked the judge to throw the ordinances out, alleging the county did not first determine if the roads were safe or suitable for ATVs, according to the Methow Valley News.

Their lawsuit challenges two ordinances passed at the end of July 2013 by the county commission. The first ordinance opened 635 miles of roads across the county, some with speed limits up to 50 mph, to ATVs.

The second ordinance, passed four days later, opened all county roads with a 35-mph speed limit to ATVs. That ordinance was approved one day after a state law took effect restricting the vehicles to roads with speeds of 35 mph or lower. The second ordinance also declared that all roads opened previously would remain open to ATVs.

After receiving the plaintiffs’ initial complaint in September, the county stated that commissioners had exercised their constitutional right to make and enforce local laws and that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate they had been harmed by the ordinances.

The hearing on a summary judgment request is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. March 11 before Superior Court Judge Chris Culp. 

Posted by Holly Wagner