Forum Index > Trail Talk > USFS closes some areas along SR 20 to motorized winter use
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Randito
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 8:42 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Snowmobiles cover much more ground than X skiers so obviously they will need more space. Where I snowmobile up around Priest Lake, there are over 200 miles of groomed trails. There are also X country ski only trails and some where each occasionally co-exist. Can't we all just get along? hockeygrin.gif

Snowmobiles not only travel more miles in a day of fun, but they also consume a much larger space around the rider than other users.  The sound of the engine disrupts the experience of other users for typically a half mile around the rider.

IME most Snowmobile riders I've interacted with on roads careful and considerate of other users.  A small percentage are jerks that harass other users.

Traveling on avalanche potential terrain,  such as the slopes popular with backcountry skiers that have been closed to machine usage by the OP forest service order is distinct problem.   Snowmobiles activity on those types of slopes is "high marking".   "High marking" a slope that also has back country skiers posses substantial risks.  1) Not infrequently Snowmobile riders lose control of their machines at the top of the "high mark".   High marking is all about pushing the machine and the rider to the limit.   Sometimes the rider falls off and the rider and machine tumble a long way down.   When backcountry skiers are also present on the same slope they are put at risk by a collision with an out of control machine.  2) High marking Snowmobiles are much more effective at releasing an avalanche than skiers, endangering anyone else on the slope.

Also just so you understand,  99% of the backcountry skiers using these slopes traveled on HWY-20 from the closure to the Washington Pass area by Snowmobile.   

So it's not really a conflict between anti-snowmobile groups and snowmobile users.   Rather it is a conflict between different snowmobile user groups
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asdf
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 10:33 am 
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Can someone educate me on why there are conflicts?  There is so much space and land.  Surely some could be designated human powered only, and others designated for free use.
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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 11:12 am 
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Yes, some like to go off trail and do the high marking thing, myself I am risk aversive and older so I stick to the groomed trails. There are also dog sleds that sometimes share the trails.

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Randito
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 11:24 am 
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asdf wrote:
Can someone educate me on why there are conflicts?  There is so much space and land.  Surely some could be designated human powered only, and others designated for free use.

For the same reason the Snow Lake trail parking lot fills to the brim on sunny Sundays in the summer, some locations are appealing to everyone.

But back in 1976 motorbikes where banned from using the Snow Lake trail and while the motorbike users were pissed,  hikers rejoiced.

The OP new regulation is to reduce conflict,  since without regulation,  ALL snowmobile users aren't going to look up on a slope, see backcountry skiers already working their way up it and say, well I better find another slope to high mark.  Some will go anyway and distrupt the skiers experience and subject them to more risk.
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treeswarper
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 12:40 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
Is there any user group back country skiers don't have a conflict with?

Thanks for making me laugh.  Need more of that...

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Cyclopath
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 1:07 pm 
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Randito wrote:
Also just so you understand,  99% of the backcountry skiers using these slopes traveled on HWY-20 from the closure to the Washington Pass area by Snowmobile. 

My doctor was telling me about doing this.  She had a big smile on her face when she talked about it.
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Randito
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PostThu Dec 31, 2020 9:40 pm 
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HWY-20, NF Teanaway RD, White River RD, Mowich Lake RD, NF-13 and Glacier Creek RD make me think about buying a snowmobile.    I could tow one sled on a light trailer with my CRV -- but from friends I know that have gone that way -- It's hard to resist the urge to get a second sled, then you need a double sled trailer, then a pickup truck to tow it, then a camper, then more sleds and a four sled trailer and a 40 foot motorhome to tow it.   dizzy.gif
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rossb
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 9:39 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Snowmobiles cover much more ground than X skiers so obviously they will need more space.

That's ridiculous logic. Just because your appetite is bigger, doesn't mean you deserve a bigger piece of the pie. At worst you keep going back to the same place (just as cross country skiers keep going back to Amabalis).

Besides, if an area is groomed, then skate skiers can do miles and miles as well.

What makes more sense is to look at the prospective users of an area, as well as the environmental impact. There are definitely places where the number of potential skiers/snowshoers is so small that it makes sense to dedicate the land to snowmobiles.

On the other hand, there are areas where it is the opposite. For example, I've long argued that the road to Park Butte (13) should be set aside for non-motorized travel. That would be the only place in the area where folks could escape the noise and exhaust of snowmobiles. Highway 12 (to Blue Lake) would continue to be groomed for snowmobiles, as would Anderson Creek/Watson. This would eliminate the poaching problem for the Mount Baker Wilderness (or at least making it more obvious). It would eliminate the need to measure the snow depth, and ban snowmobiles at a particular time of year from Shriebers Meadow (and above). This again means less poaching (accidental or otherwise). When there is snow at a low elevation, it means skiers/snowshoers share the road for a segment, but the non-motorized set get to access the meadows and spectacular areas above. Most of the time it would be a fairly straightforward, manageable trip for snowshoers to the meadows, and skiers to the high country above.

This would be extremely popular for backcountry skiers, snowshoers and cross country skiers, even if it wasn't groomed (they groom it now). Way more people would benefit than get hurt, while those that lose access still have way more miles set aside for them (in that area or in general). At the same time this would benefit land that is clearly special and should have had wilderness protection a long time ago.
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rossb
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 9:49 am 
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Randito wrote:
Also just so you understand,  99% of the backcountry skiers using these slopes traveled on HWY-20 from the closure to the Washington Pass area by Snowmobile. 

Or ski it as soon as the road opens in the spring (or before it closes in the Fall). A quick glance at Turns-All-Year suggests that way more people ski the area when the road is open, than when it is closed. My guess is the ratio is somewhere around 10 to 1.
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Randito
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 9:57 am 
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rossb wrote:
Randito wrote:
Also just so you understand,  99% of the backcountry skiers using these slopes traveled on HWY-20 from the closure to the Washington Pass area by Snowmobile. 

Or ski it as soon as the road opens in the spring (or before it closes in the Fall). A quick glance at Turns-All-Year suggests that way more people ski the area when the road is open, than when it is closed. My guess is the ratio is somewhere around 10 to 1.

The skiers that travel by snowmobile to Washington Pass and other areas in the Methow,  etc don't tend to post about their exploits on T-A-Y
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Randito
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 10:02 am 
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An account of a contributing incident to the closure decision

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asdf
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 10:24 am 
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F***.  Why are people such jerks.
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rossb
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 10:34 am 
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Randito wrote:
The skiers that travel by snowmobile to Washington Pass and other areas in the Methow,  etc don't tend to post about their exploits on T-A-Y

And yet the folks that do exactly that same thing without a sled all post on Turns-All-Year? Sorry, I don't buy that. In both cases you have a small subset -- a sampling if you will. It is common to see reports like this as the only report from the area:

Quote:
Woke up at 3:45 in Wenatchee to go skiing on the North Cascade Highway for the first time. ... 15 cars on return. Probably twice that at the Blue Lake Trailhead.

That means that of the 20 or so cars there, there was only one report. If you look at the first nice spring weekend, this is common. Only one report, but the reporter mentions lots of other skiers.

In contrast, the reports from folks that access the place using a sled don't mention crowds (other than other sleds, on the main road). The ratio might not be 10 to 1, but I still contend more people ski the area when the road is open than when it is closed.
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Randito
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 10:48 am 
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rossb wrote:
I still contend more people ski the area when the road is open than when it is closed.

This is certainly true -- but it isn't particularly relevant to managing the conflict during the winter between land users that want to ski the slopes around Washington Pass and those that want to high mark them on their snow machines.

When the road is open for vehicle traffic, the snowmobiles are no longer interested and there is no conflict between user groups.
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Jan 01, 2021 10:56 am 
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What do you mean by ski 20 when the road is open?
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > USFS closes some areas along SR 20 to motorized winter use
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