Grooming on cross-country ski trails at Mount Spokane State Park is scheduled to end Sunday, the victim of too much early snow.
Relentless snowfall in December drained the fund for plowing 125 Washington Sno-Park areas throughout the state.
“All the Sno-Park areas were directed to cut their budgets by 20 percent because of the increased costs of plowing statewide this year,” said Pete Wood, park manager.
The money will be returned to the state Sno-Park Advisory Committee to cover cost overruns, Wood said.
The cut doesn’t affect maintenance of the Mount Spokane alpine ski area, Wood said. Only the cross-country ski area, with 12 miles of groomed trails, is served by the Sno-Park fund.
Washington’s Sno-Park areas involve 125 plowed rural parking lots across the state, about 250 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and about 2,500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails.
Funds for the program come from sales of $20 annual Sno-Park permits.
“We had to turn back $4,400 of our season’s $22,000 grooming grant to the state Sno-Park Advisory Committee,” Wood said. “That means we run out of money at Mount Spokane on March 2.”
The Washington State Parks Department has no reserve money to make up for the shortfall, Wood said.
Area skiers are circulating a plea for donations to continue limited grooming through the month.
“It’s a shame,” said Sam Schlieder of the Inland Empire Nordic Club. “The mountain has the best snowpack in years.”
“There’s no time to start baking cookies and selling T-shirts,” said Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit, who describes herself as an optimistic spring skier. “I hope people will be willing to contribute what they can toward this fund.”
About $2,000 would be needed to groom through March. But Bob Holcomb, a Sno-Park advisory committee member from Spokane, said any money raised could help extend the grooming beyond this weekend.
Contributions to extend grooming at Mount Spokane must be made by checks made out to “Washington State Parks, Sno-Park.” The checks must be designated for “1996-97 grooming at Mount Spokane.”
The money is being collected at Fitness Fanatics, 12425 E. Trent, Spokane WA 99216.
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