Kittitas Grooming Council
November 12, 2012
Meeting called to order at 7:05pm by Kevin Merrell, Grooming Council Chair
Introductions of those in attendance: sign the new sheet, make corrections. Add your name and info if New.
Guest Speaker: Ellis Nale. Is a Corporal with the Sheriff's Office and has been a Search And Rescue (SAR) Coordinator for about the past 8 years. He will touch on SAR in general, what they do, and then get into specifics for winter recreation, especially motorized; safety, preparedness, SAR response, etc.
They do Search and Rescue on Land as well as Water. Air resources are used when appropriate. There are over 100 SAR members in Kittitas County including horse teams, ATV teams, canine units are well trained, 14 back country skiers, and 21 certified snowmobilers. All are trained and certified in Avalanche rescues and hours of classroom teaching as well as on the ground training. Response times take practiced organization. He said that SAR will not send people out if the avalanche danger is High.
They have 4 snowmobiles and 2 tracked ATVs stored in both upper and lower County. Life Support has just donated monies to upgrade the equipment. He requested we support the Kittitas Life Support Events.
On November, 15, 2012, SAR will hold an Orientation Meeting at the Upper Kittitas County Senior Center at 7:00pm. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.
In 2011 there were 15 Search and Rescue missions, which was down from previous years. The economy may have played a part. However, it may be that snowmobilers today are better educated in Avalanches and Safe Riding Techniques.
SAR uses a radio frequency that is monitored at their Command Post. Ham Radio Operators play a big part.
Mr. Nale suggested that everyone know where you are when you are snowmobiling.
Kevin Merrell related a personal story of his rescue by SAR two years ago.
Groomer Operators Report:
U.S. Forest Service Grooming: Pam Novitzky, USFS Recreation, filled in for Tim Foss. She announced that Table Mountain will be open for limited riding. No grooming will be done during high winds. They plan to groom out to Haney Meadows and across to Naneum Meadows; then across the 3500 Road and the 3507 Road and continuing down Snowshoe. They will need Volunteers to ride in or behind the groomer to help cut fallen trees on the trail. Dickey Creek and North Fork will have some logging, but USFS plans to groom every 2 to 3 weeks after 1 ft of snow has fallen.
They are also ready to groom the Kachess area of I-90 in the Snoqualmie
R&R Grooming: Ron Lind is ready and waiting for snow. Crystal Springs Sno-Park will soon be open.
Boulder Creek Grooming: Tim Penelerich says he is waiting for 10 inches to be on the ground. The road at 29 Pines has been brushed and trees cut out.
Land/Tec Grooming: Nick Whitman is ready and waiting to begin grooming in the Taneum/Manastash.
Nominations for Dist 5N Position on WSSA Board. Election to be held at 6:30pm on Jan. 14th before the Grooming Council Mtg
Winter meetings: Grooming Council meets 2nd Monday each month @ USFS Mtg Rm. @ 7pm. Please bring a guest with you to the Dec. 10th Grooming Council Meeting.
Action Items from Oct. Mtg:
- Update on Table Mountain: fire, clean up, snowmobiling – Pam Novitzky, USFS
Gates will be installed until grooming begins. Please be aware of compression in meadows and any mudding. The USFS will be posting signs talking about the hazards after the fire for the next 7-8 years. There will be two new Law Enforcement Offices by the end of the year.
- Update on Bear Creek Loop cleanup out of Last Resort – Tim Penelerich
Tim reported that vandals had not only cut the gates down, but had cut them up in pieces and left them lay. However, the land owner will allow the Loop to be groomed…should be a great area to ride.
- Update from on lawsuits in the Crystal Springs area - Pam Novitzky, USFS
The Fire District 8 lawsuit has been dismissed. State Parks has allowed the Fire District to cross State Parks property. Concern was expressed about 5480 Road being plowed and the disruption to the groomed trail. Beasley has a court date pending on a Citation he received relating to his activities on the 5480 Road.
- Blewett Pass Sno-Park expansion: – Pam Novitzky, USFS
The NEPA document is being updated. Contractors have been out to look at the area and have given bids.
- Snowmobiling on Manastash Road
The road has been fixed where it was washed out. Obey the sign “Parking this side only on County Road”. A berm will be put at the Bridge. There is NO turnaround beyond the end of the County Road. The USFS will post a Bulletin Board at the County Road to stop large trucks from thinking it is a shortcut.
- Work party on Beeler Pass – Dan Johnson
There was a work party this past weekend to work on mud slides, fixing culverts and regraded the road to make it wider.
- Update on the progress of 3 snowmobile issues moving thru Olympia - Sandy Sternod
There was a meeting at the Washington State Snowmobile Expo to update the letter to be sent to the Director of Washington State Parks concerning funding issues. It noted that there were three legislative items: 1) Continue to work on getting the Fuel Cap removed; 2) Request a Registration Increase of $10 for each of the next two years in the Snowmobile Registration Fee; and 3) Request legislation to change the RCW to allow for the Washington State Parks Commission to establish a fee for the Snowmobile Sno-Park Permit. The first two are currently moving forward. Addition funds are needed to provide adequate funding for the Snowmobile Grooming Program to continue.
- Report on WSSA Snowmobile Expo at Puyallup Fairgrounds – Wayne and Florence Mohler
Attendance was reported to be 8108, which is up 6.7% from last year. This includes all paid attendees, volunteers, Swap Meet and 263 vehicles in the Blue Lot. Wayne explained the method used for estimating total attendance.
- Report on Salmon la Sac Road Sno-Park – Pam Novitzky, USFS Recreation
The Cle Elum Valley Sno-Park on the Salmon la Sac Road has been scrapped by the USFS. Even though money has been allocated from Federal Highways, it is being returned. It was requested that Pam come next month and explain why the Forest Supervisor denied the building of the Sno-Park. Now, where is Kittitas County on this issue?
- Club Meetings attended – Kevin Merrell
Kevin reported that he had attended the Cascade Drift Skippers, Snomads and Teanaway Trail Twisters meetings.
Other business issues:
Florence Mohler presented a sheet on Snowmobile Program Funding 101. This is information we need to use to educate all snowmobilers on Funding. She asked that each Club pick a Sno-Park and a date to hand them out.
Ron Lind from the Snomads picked Jan 5, 2013 for Crystal Springs.
Reminders of upcoming events:
SAR Orientation Meeting Thursday, Nov 15, 7pm, at the Upper Kittitas County Senior Center.
WSSA Leadership: November 17th @ Last Resort
Snomads – Handouts -Sno-Park Saturday, Jan 5, 2013 at Crystal Springs Sno-Park
All Trails Day to Olympia: January 29th
WSSA Rendezvous in Yakima: February 15-18, 2013
Fun Run Feb 2, 2013 UKC Rotary out of the Last Resort
Kay Lloyd, Secretary