The whole WTA page for Selah Butte is just one sentence: "Per the Yakima County Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources, and Bureau of Land Management, access trails, as well as the top of Selah Butte are on private property. Please refrain from visiting this location." I was kind of unsure about this one. Parking is unsigned tiny pull out on the road, doubling as a murder scene - littered with bones and car parts. Going up the ridge is steep going up and judging by the amount of cow poop between sage brush and tumbleweeds it is definitely someone's ranch, though there are no usual 'private property' signs and occasional barbed wire is all crumpled and broken, so I continued on. No people and no cows. It is eerie with cold weather, dark clouds and the wind. As I reached the summit, the terrain flattened out into large open space of desert, distant snow mountain at the horizon and nothing at all except power lines, dusty two track and Mr. White's RV right there. How appropriate.
From what I can glean, wta is wrong about access. Around 95% of Selah Butte is owned by the BLM, although there is a modestly sized private inholding that is mostly south of - but also includes - the summit. The ranch you saw is abandoned and on public land, and the cows are there because of a public land grazing permit.
The owner of the inholding may have an easement across the public land to get there. The public may have an easement to use the summit.
I don't know how to get a real answer on something like this.
-------------- Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
I parked at the same pullout. Unfortunately it is trashed now, but otherwise is fine. It is great if WTA is wrong and it is still legal for public to access. I don't know how to figure out for sure though. It looks like a lot of land around the road is owned by WSDOT and while driving the road I have seen many green WSDOT land for sale signs, so it looks like WSDOT is trying to sell some property in the canyon, maybe Selah was part of land sold or maybe they want to sell it in future. But I don't know. As of now I have not seen any "DO NOT ENTER" signs.
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