Cleman Mountain section of Wenas Wildlife Area closing to protect wintering elk

YAKIMA, WA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close the Cleman Mountain portion of the Wenas Wildlife Area near Ellensburg earlier than usual this year due to wildfire damage.

Starting Nov. 12, WDFW will close public access from North Wenas Road to the top of Cleman Mountain, and from Hardy Canyon east to Jones Canyon. The gates at the Mellotte entrance, Newlands Road, and Woodcamp Road will be locked. For a detailed map of the closure, see the Wenas Wildlife Area Green Dot map.

“We’re starting the winter closure earlier this year due to impacts from the Evans Canyon Fire,” said Mike Livingston, South Central Regional Director for WDFW. “The fire burned across much of Cleman Mountain, impacting winter and transition range habitat for elk. It also burned over 17 miles of elk fence around the Wenas Valley, much of which is still down”.

Livingston said the earlier closure will reduce the risk that human disturbance will push elk beyond the damaged elk fence and down into the Wenas Valley and onto private property. 

Late archery hunters will not have access to the closed area, but the remainder of Game Management Unit (GMU) 342 remains open to hunting.