The only wheelchair-accessible fishing platform in North Central Washington is located on Icicle Creek. It was built in the 1990s and was the only one of its kind in the state of Washington then. But it needs some upkeep. Trout Unlimited’s Icicle Valley Chapter teamed up with the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery once more to make sure all anglers can still reach the river in 2022.
The platform was originally installed by the Icicle Valley Chapter, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supported by a wide array of community partners. Two thousand hours of volunteer labor by members of Trout Unlimited went into the project. Current president Bob Stroup is proud of the accomplishment and of the long-term success of the partnership between the Icicle Valley Chapter and the hatchery. “It is important to know that the federal government and private non-profit organizations such as ours are working together to provide the public with recreational experiences.”
“Paul Berger, who lives in East Wenatchee, was the first person to catch a spring Chinook from the platform,” said Dan Davies, who retired in 2005 as Hatchery Manager at Leavenworth. “I was lucky enough to be there.” Dan, who helped build the original, is actively involved in rehabilitating the platform this year.
Over the years, the trail has been damaged by tree roots, erosion, and floods. Dan recalls a “destructive ice flow in the winter of 1995-96 when 4 feet of snow was on top of the river ice.” Barbs were constructed on the riverbank to slow erosion. These rocky projections jut into the river, deflecting water from the bank and swirling eddies into deeper pools. The platform is built atop one of the barbs, with additional boulders placed to anchor it.
This spring’s work focused on cleaning up debris, just in time for spring Chinook salmon fishing, which opened that same week. In June, a paving project will add asphalt to the trail, smoothing the heaves and ripples caused by tree roots. All this adds up to another 2,000 hours of volunteer labor.
While the platform is designed to be wheelchair accessible, anyone can fish from it during open seasons. For more information about fishing openings and restrictions, check with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, which regulates angling: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
– Julia Pinnix – USF&WS