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Backpacker Joe
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 5:18 pm 
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Smithbrook IS A ROAD!  Why is this even a conversation?  Now, if you were on the PCT and had this issue Id support you.  But this is a road, they are certainly allowed there.

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CC
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Schroder wrote:
Snowmobiles used to be prohibited west of the pass between the Rainy Creek and Smithbrook drainages and there were plenty of signs to that effect.  It used to be illegal to unload snowmobiles on Highway 2 at Smithbrook.  I was also surprised to see the change last time I was there a couple of years ago.

That must have been a long time ago. I have been skiing that road for 20 years and don't remember ever not seeing snowmobiles or ever seeing any signs prohibiting them.  That said, there are a lot of things I don't remember nowadays.

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radka
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 8:43 pm 
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christensent
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 9:34 pm 
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radka wrote:
They do not stay on roads. They rip through meadows and forests, cut switchbacks, high mark every slope. At the end of the day we ran into a friend. He said he was skiing in the trees and they were ripping through there also. They have zero respect.

I don't think they're really breaking any rules here. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie national forest specifically excludes snowmobiles from the requirement to stay on marked roads (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/learning/safety-ethics/?cid=stelprdb5160280). Additionally there are federal rules that snowmobiles are allowed on grasslands and forests as long as there is at least 24" of snow (and thus they do no damage), although it does not specifically call out the Snoqualmie-Baker forest.

If these people are breaking no rules and enjoying the mountains, I see no lack of respect here.


I participate in winter motorized recreation as well as hiking, climbing, and skiing. I wish we could all just be friends!

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RandyHiker
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Most of my experience with snowmobile riders has been OK.  90% operate safely and courteously,  slowing down to pass and sometimes stopping to chat.  There are always outliers,  like the jerk that passed me on Lost Lake Road, swerved in front of me and then high reved the engine,  spraying me with the "rooster tail".  But I've also had riders tell me of XC skiers attempting to stab them with their ski poles as they pass.

Skier / snowmobile conflicts have been going on here since the '70s  and the current layout of XC exclusive areas , voluntary non motorized areas and groomed snowmobile trails are the result of years of negotiation and cooperation.

Personally I loath the sound and used to be one of those skiers thinking that a ski pole would make a good spear.  But antagonizing other user groups, particularly other user groups with a lot more industry money behind them doesn't really help things.

Snowrec.org is worth checking out.
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hikersarenumber1
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PostSun Mar 05, 2017 10:53 pm 
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radka wrote:
We were there yesterday too and they were absolutely awful, the worst I have seen in my years of skiing Smithbrook. We had to cut over to Lichtenwasser to save any remainders of sanity.

They do not stay on roads. They rip through meadows and forests, cut switchbacks, high mark every slope. At the end of the day we ran into a friend. He said he was skiing in the trees and they were ripping through there also. They have zero respect.

This is what needs to be addressed.  Just a couple of snowmobiles can completely destroyed an area that 10 or more times that number of skiers/snowshoes would barely leave a mark on.

My idea is divide all the terrain they are allowed in into zones and make only certain zones legal on certain days so there is always plenty of no snowmobile area...

I know that woukd never happen, but I just wish they would realize how detrimental their recreation choice is to virtually everyone else out there.
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treeswarper
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 6:40 am 
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hikersarenumber1 wrote:
radka wrote:
We were there yesterday too and they were absolutely awful, the worst I have seen in my years of skiing Smithbrook. We had to cut over to Lichtenwasser to save any remainders of sanity.

They do not stay on roads. They rip through meadows and forests, cut switchbacks, high mark every slope. At the end of the day we ran into a friend. He said he was skiing in the trees and they were ripping through there also. They have zero respect.

This is what needs to be addressed.  Just a couple of snowmobiles can completely destroyed an area that 10 or more times that number of skiers/snowshoes would barely leave a mark on.

My idea is divide all the terrain they are allowed in into zones and make only certain zones legal on certain days so there is always plenty of no snowmobile area...

I know that woukd never happen, but I just wish they would realize how detrimental their recreation choice is to virtually everyone else out there.

Please tell us what they destroy?  They ride on top of snow.

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SKS
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 6:59 am 
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According to the new secretary of the dept of the Interior, snow is a renewable resource.
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KekistaniProphet
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LOL I WIN
PostMon Mar 06, 2017 9:15 am 
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Destroying the area? Guys it's snow it's going to melt and some more will fall next year. If they are running across bare meadows it's obviously bad but to claim they are "Destroying" areas covered in snow is twisting language to try to make your point seem more potent. So what if they "high mark" a slope? Its snow!

Smithbrook is a road, plenty of non-motorized areas available. Lanham Lake, the other access to valhalla, tunnel creek, ect....
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Jim Dockery
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 10:25 am 
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I've ranted against snowmobiles on TAY over the years, esp. when they were ferrying snowboarders up onto Skyline ridge up the service road/skin track. Luckily they tired of that and haven't been there (at least when I was too) for years. Of course my thread turned to the same argument as this (there are sled-head BC-skiers too - infact some of my partners!) "it's legal, so quit yer bellyaching and lets all learn to live together." I have a feeling that most of you saying that here aren't X-skiers who have tried to share a track with many snowmobilers - it isn't that they hurt the snow, or the plants under it, just the noise and stink pretty much ruin the quiet fresh air experience of skiing for most of us.

I also used to often X-ski on Smithbrook and still use it to approach BC skiing at times. In the past most snowmobiles seemed to just do one pass on the first few miles where most skier/snowshoers make it, so the trail didn't get too humped out, and the stink/noise was manageable, although I sure didn't like it much when a bunch of old 2 strokes (BTW modern 4-strokes are much better in both respects) would pass and leave a pall of fumes that seemed to sit in the valley floor for a long time (esp. annoying when you are breathing hard) so I quit going there years ago. I just wish they would run up over the pass then play on the long road down the other side which goes all the way to Lake Wenatchee. I guess there are many times that the traverse to the pass is too dangerous so they are restricted to Smithbrook. It also seems that this must be one of the closest access parking spots for them from the west side of the mountains to higher altitude easy access consistent snow (which is why skiers flock there too) so you can't blame them for wanting to take advantage of it.

While I agree with the OP that it would sure be nice if they left the first few miles to us hiker types I wouldn't count on it, and don't see much chance of working out any thing with the forest service either. Like many rants on NWH this is us blowing off steam to each other, and wishing for a perfect world that isn't realistic.

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John Morrow
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 10:26 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Just_Some_Hiker wrote:


RandyHiker wrote:
Snowmobiles have been using Smithbrook for decades

That fact was not in dispute.

Right, but it seems you are relatively new in this area and are pontificating on a multi-use issue as if was something new and you have some novel insight.


It's been changing Randy.  Dramatically increasing.  Used to be snowmobiles came in from the Lake Wenatchee area snowparks.  Smithbrook rarely saw snowmobile trailers partly because the DOT vertical snowblower wall prevented access.  They have been consciously creating/maintianing a ramp over the last 5 to ten years to gain access.  It was a defacto non-motorized parking prior to that due to limited parallel parking.
The DOT plows it regularly for whatever reason.  Snowpark funds do not pay for that plowing.  The DOT could decide to restrict it at any time ( I doubt they will though) like they have the west portion of Ventilator.

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John Morrow
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 10:38 am 
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Bootpathguy wrote:
Is Smithbrook a official SnoPark?

Doesn't look like it is. No permits in any form needed. For anybody!

http://www.justgetout.net/Wenatchee/post/Smithbrook-Road

Lake Wenatchee has "rules", "fees" and is "crowded"

If I were a snowmobiler, I'd head to Smithbrook.

Seems like a no brainier

There are no fees for snowmobilers at Lk Wen.  By law all snowmachines must be registered in WA.  Snowpark permits are free with registration...ie. "no fee".  More crowded than 75 skiers and snowshoers per mile on Smithbrook?  I don't think so.  What rules do you speak of that don't apply across the whole landscape including Smithbrook?

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
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John Morrow
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 10:45 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
hikersarenumber1 wrote:
radka wrote:
We were there yesterday too and they were absolutely awful, the worst I have seen in my years of skiing Smithbrook. We had to cut over to Lichtenwasser to save any remainders of sanity.

They do not stay on roads. They rip through meadows and forests, cut switchbacks, high mark every slope. At the end of the day we ran into a friend. He said he was skiing in the trees and they were ripping through there also. They have zero respect.

This is what needs to be addressed.  Just a couple of snowmobiles can completely destroyed an area that 10 or more times that number of skiers/snowshoes would barely leave a mark on.

My idea is divide all the terrain they are allowed in into zones and make only certain zones legal on certain days so there is always plenty of no snowmobile area...

I know that woukd never happen, but I just wish they would realize how detrimental their recreation choice is to virtually everyone else out there.

Please tell us what they destroy?  They ride on top of snow.

Fair question Treeswarper.  The 3 foot deep, road width, moguls in rapid succession they create are dangerous for skiers.  The high marking track gouges, across whole bowls, are impossible to ski through/across/down.  Separating the users are best in that instance.  They destroy quiet and clean air and a sense of winter wildness.  Snowmobiles are a valid use of NFS lands, just should be planned for in conjunction with nonmotorized users needs, too.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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treeswarper
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 11:06 am 
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John Morrow wrote:
Fair question Treeswarper.  The 3 foot deep, road width, moguls in rapid succession they create are dangerous for skiers.  The high marking track gouges, across whole bowls, are impossible to ski through/across/down.  Separating the users are best in that instance.  They destroy quiet and clean air and a sense of winter wildness.  Snowmobiles are a valid use of NFS lands, just should be planned for in conjunction with nonmotorized users needs, too.

Sounds the same as what little kids on short skis do. smile.gif

Nobody has mentioned what apparently actually impacts nature--the tracks allow predators to travel and gain access to catch and eat prey a bit easier--  Like snowshoe hares.

Since evil unleashed dogs learn to follow in ski tracks, I can only assume that wild animals also would learn to walk on the snow packed by snow shoes and skis and snowmobiles.  Everybody is making some kind of impact.  All are guilty of some kind of destruction.  The pot calling the kettle gray?

There may be a bit more snowmobile use in other areas until our 23 road and others are repaired.  Access to a well used snowmobile area has been cut off until the roads are repaired.

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DIYSteve
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PostMon Mar 06, 2017 11:06 am 
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John Morrow wrote:
Separating the users are best in that instance. *  *  *  Snowmobiles are a valid use of NFS lands, just should be planned for in conjunction with nonmotorized users needs, too.


ditto.gif Smithbrook sets up well for a separate use plan. Works other places, e.g., Blewett/Tronsen plan works well notwithstanding the occasional poacher. FS Road 800 voluntary plan seems to be working too. Many others.
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