The past month has been very eventful. Not much snow, unfortunately, but lots of wind! The wind event/s have kept the grooming crew quite busy trying to keep the trail systems opened. But special thanks needs to be made to Dwight McCain, who single handedly took on the windfalls on the snow shoe trails before the grooming crew got to them. After working into the early evening he accomplished a lot and save the sawyers on the crew a great deal of time and effort. So if you see him on the trails skate skiing express your gratitude. Thanks Dwight!
Regarding the current condition of the trail systems a lot of work has been completed, but a lot remains. In addition to trying to stay current with the grooming of the snow that is there, the crew has been able to keep the inner loop, about half of Elderberry and Skywalker (Road 614 from the barrier to Eagle Run) logged out. But there is a lot of work left to do on Eagle Run, Elderberry and probably the rest of Skywalker out to Rose Saddle. Hopefully by early February these trails will also be cleared of windfalls, for a while, and finally get their first grooming.
Base on the days I have been up to 4th of July the ski and snowshoe trails are pretty popular with folks other than club members and other local users. There have been recreationists parked at both the upper and lower parking areas every time I’ve gone up. Many are from out of state, and when visiting with some of them they mentioned they based their visit on seeing the club WEB site. It appears the WEB site must be working and 4th of July is getting regional if not national notice.
Educating the users regarding the protocols while using the ski trails has always been an issue when people new to the area visit 4th Of July. Nancy Lewis and Karen Williams have made a valiant effort to educate users when their on patrol, and Skip and Goeff put up information signs every season. But the issues related to snowshoe use, hikers, bikers and dogs on the groomed inner loop ski trails still occur from time to time. To address this, the Board has decided to try the idea of placing information cards on car windshields. Possibly late this season or next season these cards will be placed on out of state vehicles and cars that are not known to be members of the club. One hundred cards will be produced and used as an experiment to see if it makes any difference in how the inner loop is being used, and/or if we end up picking up a lot of discarded cards in the parking area. So Nancy and Karen have agreed to take the lead on designing and getting the cards printed, and getting them distributed in the future.
Last month it was mentioned that the Board was making an effort to put together some group ski or snowshoe events. Unfortunately the ideas proposed for January fell through due to unexpected weather and logistics issues. But if anyone is interested in getting together in February and March there will be events to participate in. The calendars and descriptions of these events will be posted on the WEB site very soon. Event leaders will post a message in advance of the scheduled date to let interested folks know if it has to be canceled due to lack of snow. But we will try to stay optimistic that good conditions will prevail.
As a preview, the first February event is scheduled for the 13th. In order to keep it close to home it will be a ski trek from Fernan Saddle to Burnt Cabin Summit. It consists of approximately two miles on
the groomed snowmobile trail out of Fernan Saddle and approximately one and a half miles of non-groomed trail to the north of the snowmobile trail. If you’re interested in participating take a look at the full description posted on the WEB. Even though we will be outside, having face masks with you and maintaining social distancing while gathering for breaks is encouraged.
In closing, let’s all hope a big snow storm arrives in February! Without it the season on the lower trails at 4th of July might be coming to an end by the end of the month.