Summer 2021 funding meeting decisions
CCWRC - Winter Recreation Advisory Committee - Summer funding meeting
Wenatchee, July 24, 2021
The overall budget was 2.6 million up from recent years by around 1 million. One just wonders how much more the budget could have been if there was better compliance (I.e., purchase a permit). With this windfall, there were a lot of new requests for a variety of projects. All but 2 were funded!
First decision was to give the program an across the board raise for next season. The committee opted to increase the grooming budget 8% for all areas and 12% for the areas requiring a special grooming sticker (Hyak, Crystal Springs, Cabin Creek, Mt. Spokane and Lake Wenatchee). As long as revenue stays on the positive side, this will continue and requests for this funding will not be necessary to go through the 3 year approval process.
Remember, our Sno-Park permits work within the entire State Sno-Park Program and there are other areas with great grooming and or great terrain. There is an effort to increase ski grooming in SW Washington (Mt Adams / Mt St Helens), SR410 in the Bumping Lake area, South Summit (Loup Loup) and more funds to help with grooming at the increasingly popular Mt Tahoma Trail System.
Top of the list for scoring was a proposed new Sno-Park at Denny Creek – Exit 47. This was funded, but it remains to be seen how the project shakes out as time gets closer, there were 2 options, and a snow removal contractor is needed. This is a collaboration between the Sno-Park program and the land manager – USFS – Snoqualmie Ranger District. While this may not have any measurable impact on the Sno-Parks at the pass, it will help with winter access for an increasingly popular area for waterfall viewing, snow play and some snowshoe opportunities. It provides a bit of catchup for the increase in winter recreation travel to the pass. Stay tuned for more news on this as the season approaches.
Next in the corridor for scoring was the Snoqualmie Pass Visitor Center for a salary adjustment. There will be a new visitor center this season! It is across the street from the old visitor center – maybe you have seen the “Firehouse” sign? This is slated to open late this fall. More info to come on this later. At this location you will also find a new “ticket spitter” for purchasing Sno-Park permits for those arriving on the pass without one.
The big-ticket item funded was a snow cat haul truck for Lake Easton State Park. This will replace the aging 2nd hand truck that is currently in use. They have had many issues with the existing truck, and this is important infrastructure to keep functional. But due to all the worldwide supply chain issues, this truck will not be purchased in time for this season. In our area, the grooming sheds at Crystal Springs were funded by the snowmobile program and are not to be used by the non-motorized program. This year they should be able to store the sno-cat at their new shed at Hyak. This storage shed, years in construction with funds coming out of State Parks (not the Sno-Park program) is solving 3 problems – mid morning grooming of the P2C, reduce hauling costs, and enable someone who can drive the sno-cat to not be required to have the special haul truck commercial license.
Cabin Creek Sno-Park was funded for a gate to install at the bottom of Amabilis. Goal is to keep early season grooming in good shape by eliminating 4WD driving attempts.
Towards the bottom of the list, was a wayfinding upgrade for Erling Stordahl out of Crystal Springs Sno-Park. You might see signs this season that say “To Parking” from the trails and signs that say “To ski trails” from the parking lot – gee, about time…… among a renovation of existing wood signs and some trail maps out on the course. This project is on partial hold as of this writing since we are waiting on USFS confirmation.
The two projects not funded were expanded grooming at Cabin Creek Sno-Park and a new side by side and attachment for use by Lake Easton State Park for early season grooming (intent is grooming Hyak going east with low snow and an expanded season at Lake Easton State Park). I think we will see plenty of 5 days a week full season grooming at Cabin Creek (depending on snow conditions) this season with the 12% increase. If we have a good permit sales season, maybe we will see that side by side purchased in the future with a longer season at Lake Easton State Park.
Easton Reload Sno-Park will have a permanent non-motorized area - well, due to potential muddy areas, it will be a mixed use parking. Staff are hoping to map out and mark a snowshoe route.
Crystal Springs “sled dog lot” will be expanded and trail exits reconfigured, and while we will not see the full expansion this season, there will be some work completed.
We have a tremendous boost to the STATEWIDE non-motorized program for this season.
New projects funded in the order of ranking and amounts are rounded:
· Denny Creek new Sno-Park – 24k
· MTTA trail grooming – 5K (previous grooming came from their organization)
· Visitor Center at the Pass – staffing salary cost adjustment - $800
· Snoqualmie RD for E& E for new Denny Creek Sno-Park $6k
· Crystal Springs Sno-Park - $4k
o Culvert on Sled Dog trails
o Washout repair on Crystal Dog Trail / DP-100
o Dave’s Trail (Sled Dog Trail) – culvert
o Parking lot expansion – back “sled dog lot”
· Methow Valley USFS – snow rangers - $7k
· Lake Easton Haul Truck - $148k
· Naches RD salary increase - $5k
· Marble Mountain Sno-Park trail grooming (Mt St Helens) - $5k
· Fields Spring Sno-Park (SE WA) Park Aid - $18K
· Mt Spokane Sno-Park additional grooming - $6k
· Pearrygin Lake Sno-Park (North of Winthrop) snowmobile for grooming - $14k
· Cabin Creek Sno-Park Gate - $4k
· Loup Loup Sno-Park (South Summit, SR20, ) additional grooming - $5k
· Crystal Springs 420 road (Mountaineers access) weekend grooming - $1400
· Highlands Sno-Park (near Republic) snowmobile for grooming- $14k
· Naches RD New track setter groomer and trailer - $14.5K
· Erling Stordahl sign replacement - $1300
· Naches RS Truck mounted plow v blade - $7500
· NWAC new hire - $10k
State-wide trail etiquette signs will be out of main signage budget – this is for a universal trail etiquette sign to be put up as you exit the parking lot onto the trails or at strategic intersections. I am hoping these will be ready by January.