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Mon., March 12, 2012, 7:32 a.m.

Snowshoers getting snubbed at Mt. Spokane ski area

George Momany of Spokane uses the stable platform of snowshoes for winter exercise on Mount Spokane as he recovers from fractures to his neck and back suffered in a bicycle crash. (Rich Landers)
George Momany of Spokane uses the stable platform of snowshoes for winter exercise on Mount Spokane as he recovers from fractures to his neck and back suffered in a bicycle crash. (Rich Landers)

WINTER SPORTS -- Signs have been poking up on Mount Spokane warning snowshoers they're no longer going to be tolerated hiking popular routes up to the mountain summit.

Indeed, the signs let snowshoers, hikers, backcountry skiers and others who want to access the summit of Mt. Spokane that they're not allowed to go up through the downhill skiing concession area.

This rule has been enforced against snowmobiles for many years. But now it's getting personal with one of the newest and fastest growing state park user groups.

Local snowhoer Chris Bachman contacted Randy Kline, Washington State Parks environmental program manager in Olympia, and asked him who is responsible for the signs and why.

Below is Kline’s reply. Note that if the ski area's planned expansion on the backside of the mountain goes through, even more access will be lost to the non-downhil public.

Greetings Chris,
 
As I understand it, hiking up the mountain on groomed trails in the concession area at Mount Spokane is not currently permitted – in speaking to the park manager, this is a State Parks decision related to safety and risk management. Snowshoe folks and backcountry nordic skiers currently use an alternate route that is outside the improved concession area that gets them up to Vista House. However, the proposed expansion area will occur within a portion of the area currently used by snowshoe folks and nordic backcountry skiers so – if they will not be allowed on groomed trails - we should begin looking at alternative means to accommodate these users in their desire to get up to Vista House. Thank you for the letting me know that this is an issue of concern .
 
Randy Kline, Environmental Program Manager
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road SW, Tumwater, WA 98501
PO Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504
Phone: 360.902.8632



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Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.