Our stewardship activities are conducted in cooperation with the City of Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department. Our mutual efforts include trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, litter pick up, user group education, habitat restoration, trail patrol, 4th of July Fire Watch, and “Adopt a Trail.”

There are many ways that you can help take care of the woods. Group work parties are scheduled throughout the year for trail maintenance and habitat restoration. Individual efforts at litter pick up and problem reporting are always welcome. If you or your group would like to be involved in any of these activities, please contact Parks and Forest Lands Manager, Jonn Lunsford (299-1953, email or Forest Ranger, Dave Oicles(293-1918, email at the City, or check out our calendar for work.

Anacortes Community Forest Lands by Dave Oicles    Fall, 2013

The fall rains will soon be upon us and with the rain brings changing conditions to our ACFL trail system. This past summer gave us months of warm and sunny weather, which dried out and compacted many of the trails. These areas are now at risk of becoming muddy and eroded as we head into fall and continue to use the trails. What can we do to help out with trail erosion and degradation of areas along the trail? Plenty… Here are a few tips to follow for every user group that visits the ACFL during the fall and winter months:

WALKERS & HIKERS: Wear a good pair of waterproof boots and trudge right through those puddles on the trails. Most are only a couple of inches deep and drain away after a day or two of dry weather. This will prevent the trampling of vegetation along the sides of the trail and help keep the trail from getting wider. Prevent the short cutting of switchbacks or creating a new trail that shortens your route. Stay on designated trails at all times. Educate others who are walking with you on ways to prevent erosion along the trails.

MOUNTAIN BIKERS: Avoid skirting around wet areas on trails. If you want to diminish the amount of mud on yourself and your bike while riding, purchase a good set of bicycle fenders and outerwear. There are two great bike shops in Anacortes that will be more than happy to hook you up with the right winter gear for your bike and person. Also, please remember to avoid locking up your wheels on downhill slopes at all times of the year, as this creates a permanent grove in the trail surface for water to follow and erode the trail. Adults, please teach your children this very important trail etiquette.

HORSE RIDERS: Learn the trail system well. Many of the trails that are great for summer time riding become very slippery during the fall and winter months. As a result, riders who go on the wrong trails tend to ride off trail to avoid a slippery rock or muddy area, which again only leads to the degradation of native plants and the widening of trails. Use our maps which provide a brief trail description and level of difficulty. Most horse riders during the wet season tend to stay on 2-track/dirt road trails which are generally safer and dry. Please report downed trees that are blocking trails to the Parks Department so we can remove them promptly.

MOTORCYCLE RIDERS: A friendly reminder that all motorcycles are prohibited in the ACFL during the winter seasonal closure which begins November 1st through March 31st of each year. This closure is to help protect the trails and reduce erosion issues. There may be heavy rainfall outside of the closure period so plan your rides accordingly. Avoid spinning your tires and ride in full control and within the 15 mph speed. Avoid u-turns as these maneuvers on single-track trails cause considerable damage along the trail edges. Also, view trail signs to be sure you are on a trail that is open to motorcycle riding. Getting on the wrong trail will likely cause trail damage, erosion, and permanent damage of the trail.


During the fall, winter, and spring we put together “Work Parties” for volunteers to give back to the ACFL and help in ACFL projects, trail repairs, and removing non-native invasive plants. Below is a list of upcoming Work Parties. I hope to see you there, and as always, we’ll supply the tools. Please dress warm and wear boots and gloves. Our work parties generally last 2 hours. We may cancel due to severe winds, rain, or snowfall.

For an list of upcoming work parties in the ACFL, please visit the City of Anacortes website at and search the Parks and Recreation page. Our past work parties have included projects to repair trails, build trail bridges, remove non-native invasive plant species, prune fire roads, plant trees, and clean up trash. If you have any questions please call Ranger Dave at 661-3554.


Summer is also a time to be extra careful while in the woods and at the lakes. Each year, wildland fires pose a risk and hazard to our forest lands, the critters that live there, and to the neighborhoods that surround the ACFL. . Here are a few things to keep in mind to help prevent wildfires in the ACFL:

1. Refrain from smoking. Smoking is prohibited in the ACFL.
2. Campfires and other open flames like BBQs are also prohibited.
3. If you ride motorcycles, a spark arrestor is required to ride in the ACFL.
4. Remember, fireworks of any kind are prohibited in the ACFL.
5. Call 911 if you smell or see smoke or fire in the ACFL.

Also, if you live next to the ACFL boundary, observe and follow any fire bans or fire restrictions that are in place. Do not burn in windy conditions. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated, and Smokey the Bear will thank you too!


The Anacortes Police will once again be doing extra patrols in the ACFL, enforcing the “no alcohol” Ordinance as well as the City of Anacortes leash law on our trails and at our lakes. The Anacortes Police have assisted the ACFL Ranger Staff numerous times during busy and warm summer days and we look forward to another winning summer. A Washington Fish & Wildlife Officer will also be assisting with lake patrols this summer, especially around Whistle Lake. Help keep our trails safe and fun by following basic trail etiquette and thinking about how your actions affect the ones around you. Enjoy the summer!




South Mt. Erie (Udd Property) Capital Campaign Update

Purchase of 20 acres on south Mt. Erie completed (by Jonn Lunsford)

On January 21st the Anacortes Community Forest Lands grew a little larger. The purchase of 20 acres on the south side of Mt. Erie was successfully completed by the City and placed in the ACFL. The land was owned for more than 50 years by the Udd family. It had been logged in the last century but currently hosts nice second growth forests, wildflower meadows and outstanding views.

This ACFL addition could not have happened without financial support from local residents, outreach and education by the Friends of the ACFL and sage advice from the Skagit Land Trust. The Friends staff and Board of Directors helped raise over $92,000 towards the $260,000 purchase price. (City funds from the quarry rock sales will cover remaining costs). The Skagit Land Trust provided guidance to the City from the appraisal process to the final acquisition. It is another example of the private/public partnership that has enriched the ACFL and Anacortes over the past two decades.

Many of you avid hikers and mountain bikers have already enjoyed the views from south Mt. Erie and this new 20 acres of forest land. Trail #247 starts by the two big trees on Heart Lake Road, ascends part way up Mt. Erie to about the 500’ elevation line and curls around the south side of the mountain and terminates near Whistle Lake. The trail crosses this new 20 acres and three parcels of private land whose owners have generously given the public permission to cross their land.

If you have not had a chance to explore the south side of Mt. Erie yet this New Year it is a great time to get out. It can be a strenuous hike, but your exploration of this ACFL addition may also aid any personal subtractions that are part of your New Year’s resolutions