Blowdown trees from the Nov. 17 windstorm are affecting roads and trails throughout the region’s forests as well as Mount Spokane State Park.
“Across the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, nearly every road and trail has been impacted by downed trees at some point along the route,” said Jason Kirchner, Forest Service spokesman in Coeur d’Alene.
Forest Service crews are working to clear roads and trails, focusing on arterial routes and snowmobile trails before moving to clear less-traveled routes, he said.
Mount Spokane park staff also is working to clear roads and routes used for winter travel and rescues.
Meanwhile, volunteers have been focusing on the cross-country trails, where hundreds of trees have fallen on the routes that will be groomed for nordic skiing this winter.
Inland Empire Paper Co. is clearing the roads on its lands that are used during winter for cross-country skiing, said Todd Dunfield, Spokane Nordic Ski Association executive director.
“It’s up to park staff and volunteers to deal with clearing the portion of the trail system that’s within the state park,” he said.
Volunteers led by the association’s Brian Hawking cleared miles of ski trails last Saturday from Selkirk Lodge to the Nova Hut area, Dunfield said.
“It was a huge effort by a lot of people, including Leif Semar, a skier and salvage logger who brought up his Bobcat and moved debris we couldn’t have handled by hand,” he said. “Watching him work was like poetry in motion.”
Panhandle Nordic Club members also have been clearing trees from the ski and snowshoe trails at Fourth of July Pass.
Ski resorts opening
Lookout Pass will open for skiing on Thursday and Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint will open Friday, becoming the first of the Inland Northwest’s five ski areas to start up the lifts for the 2015-2016 season.
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