After years of negotiations, the gates finally have been opened for
visitors to the Juniper Dunes area northeast of Pasco.
BLM officials announced in mid-February 2007 that they had reached a lease
and cooperative use agreement on part of Peterson Road, the most popular
access road into the area. Peterson Road leads to the recreation area just off
the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway.
The road has been blocked off since 2005 when dairyman Steve DeRuyter --
the owner of 5D Farms -- installed a large dirt berm, then a locked gate
across the road that runs through his property.
The juniper-dotted dunes are public land, but it has long had no dedicated
The Juniper Dunes area is comprised
of 19,860 acres of federal land managed by the BLM. 3,920 acres are open
to OHV use, 8,620 acres of the Juniper Forest Area of Critical Environmental
Concern are limited to designated roads and trails, and 7,140 acres are
permanently closed (United States Congress designated the Juniper Dunes
Wilderness Area in 1984).
Elevations range from 750 feet to 1,130 feet above sea level.