Plowing/Grooming Updates from WSSAPosted03/11/17 at 08:39 AM
It's been a SNOWY winter and the season is winding down; partly because it is near the end, but also because funds in the snowmobile program have been nearly depleted. Here is some info from State Parks:
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all how much snow has been coming down in the mountains (and some in the low lands too).
You may have already figured out that in many areas we have depleted ALL of the regular snow removal budget, plus the emergency reserve, and most of the additional approved during the winter meeting. As of 3/9/17 we were down to $9,000 unspent.
With that in mind, we also received word that the funding for Crystal Springs (I-90) has been exhausted. Now the difficult part begins; a week+ ago I told the contractor to stop plowing the new dog area and try and stretch his money….he is very good about that….and just focus on the main part of the sno-park. My hope (and plan) is to keep the road and this sno-park open through the 19th of March. In order to do that, we have used another $2,000 from motorized and some from non-motorized and have amended that contract for the ninth time this season. Please be aware, the road (FS 5400) into Crystal Springs is getting narrow so drive with care. Because of the popularity of this park, we MAY (the conversation has begun will all parties involved) be able to keep the gate open and sanitation in place into the first week or two of April, however, no snow removal or grooming will be done after March 31 regardless.
We are continuing to receive calls from areas that need additional snow removal funds and we are evaluating them on a case by case basis. If they make sense and keep access open to the groomed trails, we are working with the contractors to keep them open, if they are small and don’t make sense, we will stop funding them for the season. Mount Baker, Chinook Pass, I-90, Albian and the South Cascades seem to be getting the bulk of the snow and so we are keeping a close eye on those areas and working with the snow removal contractors. As everyone knows, there is no “emergency snow grooming” so we are only talking about snow removal.
Once funds have been exhausted, we will completely stopped plowing the Attkisson, Cougar, Easton Reload, Elk Heights, Lone Butte and Snow King/Smith Butte Sno-Parks .
We have been speaking with the other snow removal contractors and everyone is currently reporting that they think they can get through the remainder of the season with their current budget and/or amendments….if….we don’t continue to get more snow.
Again, our attempt is to get through Sunday, March 19th. At this writing, we have spent, between the two programs, nearly $100,000 beyond the regular snow removal budgets. What a Winter!!!!! I hope you have all been out there and enjoying this great snow season.
And then this news came in from State Parks:
Unfortunately, due to extensive equipment damage, the Pomeroy Ranger District has discontinued grooming for the remainder of the season. The affected trail system is between Rose Springs and Cloverland Sno-Parks.
Pomeroy Ranger District is working to have the machine towed back to their shop and is working with the manufacturer for cost estimates and repairs. We are anticipating the repairs will cost upwards of $10,000.
Followed by this:
The trail grooming has ended for the season in the Chewelah area – North Fork Chewelah Creek, Nine Bark and Flowery Trail. Sno-Parks continue to be open and accessible, however, they will not be groomed.
Here's hoping everyone gets a chance to get out and enjoy some late season riding!
WSSA Publicity Secretary