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pc22

Alpental winter upvalley travel restricted

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How would they tell? I suppose if you left a 4x4 parked overnight with an Access Fund" sticker on the window, it'd be a giveaway, but unless they have someone posted to watch the parking lot, and you're a bit discreet, it shouldn't be much of a problem.

If someone sees you walking away from the parking lot heading up the Snow Lake trail and challenges you, just point to the nearest Land Cruiser and say "that's my car, give me a ticket if you want. No, I don't have any ID, it's locked in the glove compartment."

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I will be writing a letter to Alpintal to see exactly what the policy is. I will say something about how much I enjoy skiing at Alpintal and the Nordic Center, however, I will think twice about spending any more money there.

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Dave: just be sure to spell Alpental right in your letter, else they may not take you seriously...if they take you seriously at all. tongue.gif

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I just sent a letter to the Access Fund Regional Coordinator, Andy Fitz, asking the A.F. to keep a close eye on the situation.

 

Thanks. This is a huge deal for WA climbers. As big as any I can think of in recent times.

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It's probably all Pope and Dwayner's faults for bitching about those bolts on the Rapp Wall yelrotflmao.gif

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My letter to larry donavan at USFS... and his response. I'll save my opinion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Lots of information and misinformation being spread among the climbing and backcountry community about the closure of Alpental parking lot and access to Source Lake / Snow Lake for winter recreational users. Whatever the truth is, it seems that decisions have been made in a vaccuum without any public forum or hearing. What is the USFS statement on this issue? What

are the proposed solutions and compromises offered by USFS and/or the Alpental ski area? Has a web site or other forum been dedicated to FAQ's regarding this issue? Will rumored enforcement begin before information is disseminated? Who will be enforcing the rules and what are the consequences?

 

The community needs answers, please advise.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

below you will find an explanation as what will be happening at Alpental and why. This is a ski area closure that we are approving and as such the ski area will be enforcing it.

 

Alpental has a return trail at the upper end of the Alpental Parking lots that is used by Alpental skiers that they use to return to the base area.

Over the past few years, more and more people (snowshoers, cross-country skiers and back-country skiers have been using the return trail at the

upper end of the Alpental Parking lots as a means of access to a variety of areas outside the permit boundary. With the increased use by snowshoers,

cross-country skiers and backcountry skiers, a safety concern has developed as the people accessing the backcountry from the parking lot encounter alpine skiers returning to the base area.

 

As result of the near misses, the ski area, through their Rules of Use in their annual operating plan, will be closing the trail to up hill traffic (i.e. snowshoers, cross-country skiers and back-country skiers).

 

This closure will not affect the parking on National Forest land at Alpental or access to National Forest land. People will be able to access areas they have traditionally used, but they will not be able to use the

routes that they have in the past.

Larry Donovan

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

21905 64th Ave W

Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

(425) 744-3403

E-Mail ldonovan@fs.fed.us

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Hopefully the parking lot situation works itself out...what a pain in the ass.

 

I guess I don't understand the big deal about the trail being closed, though. Resorts have always had policies controlling the use of property where they are held liable - that's just responsible risk management. If you want to access backcountry at White Pass, Stevens or Crystal, you're allowed to skin up through the area as long as you're out of the way of downhill skiers. In Alpentals case, that trail is way too narrow for people walking upvalley to do so. You've all seen the cluster that trail turns into when the family of 12 goes in there for their annual snowshoe trip. I'm guessing this is all a result of a rash of skier/other user collisions back there.

 

What's to prevent another trail being put in on the other side to access Chair?

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If all that comes out of this is that you have to park at the lower lot and take the trail on the opposite side if you want to access the valley when the lifts are running, then I can deal with that.

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If all that comes out of this is that you have to park at the lower lot and take the trail on the opposite side if you want to access the valley when the lifts are running, then I can deal with that.

 

That's what I got out of that response letter.

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This will change the first time someone gets mowed down while walking 2 miles up the road from the south side of I-90 at 4:00 AM, or the first time someone falls in the creek and drowns because a public trail was closed to non-paying customers.

 

They've really gone too far this time- the Forest Service is showing what spineless minions they are.

 

-CC

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I'll bet that in practice you'll be able to park at the lower lot by the defunct bridge in the wee hours and have no problems.

 

The only time I can see this being a problem is if it's snowing heavily and they need to plow, but if it's snowing that heavily I'll be riding the lifts rather than attempting to climb anything.

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I received a reply from Trevor Kostanich, director of planning for Summit-at-Snoqualmie. Here is his reply:

 

Hello Steve,

 

Thanks for checking with me as this is in contradiction to what we (USFS &

Alpental) agreed upon. It was agreed that there will be no uphill travel on

the south side. Uphill travel is allowed on the north side of the river

(opposite of the ski area).

 

Thanks again Steve for your intent to clearly understand this change.

Sincerely,

Trevor Kostanich

So, it appears that Alpental does not intend to allow people to walk up the south side of the valley, regardless of whether they avoid the official "backcountry return trail".

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So that is all well and good, but I still don't understand how they intend to prevent uphill traffic, even on the south side of the valley, at 4:00 or 5:00 in the am when many climbers head off. Sounds like this will more effectively prevent snowshoers, and parents with kids from accessing the trail.

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DPS,

 

Good point, it will be hard to enforce. But it sets the stage for access conflicts between the ski area and non-lift-served forms of recreation. Alpental is trying to restrict what you can do on your public land. It is one thing for them to restrict who can use the "return trail", which is important for the safe operation of their lift-served backcountry ski area. As I understand it, their lease probably gives them specific control over, and right-of-way for, this trail. But to prohibit altogether any upvalley travel on the south side of the valley is overreaching. Walking an extra mile, or taking the north side trail won't actually prevent me from enjoying the Source Lake area in winter. But despite that, I don't think Alpental has the right to do this, and that is reason enough to fight it. That said, I intend to be very polite to Alpental. If the ski area were not there, the road would probably not get plowed as far as it does, we would probably not have any winter parking there, and who knows if Source Lake would be accessible as a one-day outing. My rage is mostly directed at the Forest Service, for just rolling over on the issue.

 

Just my $0.02.

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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It seems like the good Messers Kostanich and Donovan are not on the same page about this, as the statement from the Forest Service clearly states that Alpental is "closing the trail" to uphill traffic. I find it hard to believe that the definition of trail includes the entire south side of the valley. Does this mean that uphill traffic into Great Scott Bowl is also banned?

 

This is a poorly considered, poorly communicated, poorly executed plan, which sure looks a lot more like a response to the unfortunate snowshoer avalanche fatality than any recent increase in incidents between lift skiers and uphill traffic.

 

My money says some lawyer far away from the situation and people involved instigated this. The area has a long, long history of amicable relations between lift skiers and backcountry users. The potential loss of that relationship is what upsets me most about this.

 

Hopefully wiser, saner heads with a good sense of the 'real' situation will come together to resolve this before it gets unpleasant.

 

-L

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For those who want to make their opinion heard, enclosed is some contact information for people pertaining to this issue. Polite snail-mail letters are generally the most likely to have a positive effect.

 

==========

 

Andy Fitz [Regional Coordinator for Washington State, Access Fund]

 

3807 S. 9th St.

Tacoma, WA 98405

 

e-mail: fitlan "at" attbi.com

 

==========

 

Trevor Kostanich [Planning Manager, Alpental Ski Area, Booth Creek Corporation]

 

Ski Lifts Inc

P.O. Box 1068

Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068

 

tkostanich.sl "at" boothcreek.com

 

==========

 

Larry Donovan [Team Leader, Snoqualmie-Mount Baker National Forest]

21905 64th Ave W

Mountlake Terrace, WA 98403-2278

 

ldonovan "at" fs.fed.us

 

==========

 

Rob Iwamoto [Acting Supervisor, Snoqualmie-Mount Baker National Forest]

 

21905 64th Ave W

Mountlake Terrace, WA 98403-2278

 

riwamoto "at" fs.fed.us

 

==========

 

Chris Ryman [President & CEO, Booth Creek Corporation (parent corporation of Alpental)]

 

12257 Business Park Drive, Suite 8

Truckee, CA 96161

 

==========

 

Dan Brewster [General Manager, Summit at Snoqualmie]

 

Ski Lifts Inc

P.O. Box 1068

Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068

 

dbrewster.sl "at" boothcreek.com

 

==========

 

Shawn Tierney [Acess and Acquisitions Director, the Access Fund]

 

The Access Fund

P.O. Box 17010

Boulder, CO 80308

 

shawn "at" accessfund.org

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I think it's mighty unfortunate that a lease supercedes the individual's right to access to public land like this.

 

That said, without knowing the terms of the lease for the land, all of this is mere speculation.

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I think it's mighty unfortunate that a lease supercedes the individual's right to access to public land like this.

 

That said, without knowing the terms of the lease for the land, all of this is mere speculation.

 

Read carefully, marylou, nothing that is going on is preventing your access to public land. You can still park in the parking lot, you can still head up the valley. All Alpental is saying, from what I've read, is that they want to keep the trail THEY groom free of uphill traffic to avoid potentially dangerous situations due to collision with skiers coming down said trail. The USFS trail, or the "summer trail" is still accessible; some say it is better from an avy-exposure standpoint anyway.

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I posted this in the thread in the Alpine Lakes forum:

 

The ski area folks will not return my calls, but somebody at the North Bend ranger station did, and she said that the new policy is that backcountry users are to park in the lower lot, by the broken bridge, and start up the trail at the Summer trailhead, just beyond. She indicated that part of the area, and perhaps part of the back parking lots, may be private property owned by the ski area, and she also ventured a guess that this new policy was probably adopted in response to the avalanche accident from a few weeks ago. In any event, we now have two or three different people who are telling us that it will be OK to park at Alpental and head up the Alpental Valley, with the change being that you are now supposed to park in the lower lot which is a couple hundred yards below where most of us used to park, and we are now supposed to travel upstream on the right side, rather than on the ski area's trail on the left side.

 

I think it would be a good idea to make our opinions known and I intend to follow up with letters indicating that I am unhappy with this new restriction, but the reality is that our access is not really limited very much. It will take maybe five minutes longer to get to Chair Peak.

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All Alpental is saying, from what I've read, is that they want to keep the trail THEY groom free of uphill traffic to avoid potentially dangerous situations due to collision with skiers coming down said trail. The USFS trail, or the "summer trail" is still accessible; some say it is better from an avy-exposure standpoint anyway.

I'd advise you to read better then:

"Thanks for checking with me as this is in contradiction to what we (USFS & Alpental) agreed upon. It was agreed that there will be no uphill travel on the south side. Uphill travel is allowed on the north side of the river(opposite of the ski area)."

That isn't a "plowed trail"

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