Primitive roads have recently become a hot topic for Chelan County officials.

Spokesperson Jill FitzSimmons says they get numerous inquiries about primitive roads within the county every week, as more people seek recreation and home ownership opportunities off the beaten path.

FitzSimmons says there are several criteria for a road to qualify as "primitive" in Washington State.

"In order for counties to designate a road as being 'primitive' it must meet three requirements. One is that it is not part of the county's primary road system. It also must have a gravel or earth driving surface, and an average annual daily traffic count of one-hundred or fewer vehicles."

State law requires that all county roads that are designated as "primitive" be signed accordingly, and with postings about their lack of regular maintenance and warning signs.

FitzSimmons adds that people using primitive roads within the county to access their homes or for recreational purposes should not rely on them being maintained year-round.

"Typically, if it's a primitive road, they really should expect little to no maintenance at all to be done. That means we may not be grading it or doing dust control on it, and in the winter, that means we probably will not be plowing it either."

Although the county doesn't conduct routine maintenance on its primitive road system, it does provide repairs in the event of damage.

There are roughly 108 miles of primitive roads in Chelan County which range from narrow and mountainous dirt paths that connect with U.S. Forest Service lands to wider gravel roadways used for residential access.

The County has identified 75 individual roads that it classifies as primitive, including several which are more widely used, such as Burch Mountain and Horse Lake Roads.

Kingsbury / Jump Off Road is the longest primitive road in the county at 8.88 miles.

A map and the full listing of the county's primitive roads can be found at their website by clicking here.

FitzSimmons says current and prospective owners of properties attached to primitive roads should be mindful of the fact that they are likely to never be improved with a paved surface, since the process has become enormously cost prohibitive.

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Gallery Credit: AJ Brewster

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