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Legislature could raid Sno-Park funds from snowmobilers, nordic skiers

WINTER SPORTS — The Washington Legislature is toying with proposals that could divert dedicated gas-tax funds from established and popular Sno-Park programs. These are the programs, such as those at Mount Spokane, that plow parking areas and groom trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other winter recreation.

Some recreation groups say there's nothing to fear from the proposals, but the issues should be carefully followed.

See the latest on what some contend is an attempt to raid an important winter recreation component of the state's economy in this story by Scott Sandsberry of the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Mount Spokane nordic trails to be groomed for Friday

NORDIC SKIING — Mount Spokane State Park's snowcat groomer is set to roll on the 30-mile nordic skiing trail system starting Thursday night, park manager Steve Christensen said.

A snowmobile groomer has been used to pack many of the trails and a good base is set for the big groomer to pretty up.

“We need more new snow to work with, but it should be good for this weekend,” he said.

A Washington Sno-Park Permit ($40 annual) is required as usual on vehicles for parking in the three Sno-Park lots used at Mount Spokane by snowmobilers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. 

A Grooming Sticker (additional $40) must be attached to your Sno-Park Permit for parking at the Selkirk Lodge Sno-Park lot where nordic skiers take advantage of the excellent groomed trails.

A Washington Discover Pass ($30 annual) allows parking DURING WINTER only at the limited pull-out spots along the road that are not supported by the Sno-Park program, such as at the vault toilets just inside the park entrance.

Daily permit users beware:  Quirky language in the legislation that created the Discover Pass requires state park visitors who buy daily $20 Sno-Park Permits to ALSO have a daily $10 Discover Pass on their vehicles.  Park rangers are not happy with that deal, but that's the law they have to enforce until it's changed.