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2013 Winter 2013-14 supplement to The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle

Area trails require constant maintenance The Chronicle

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undreds of miles of trails throughout North-Central Washington provide entertainment to countless snowmobile enthusiasts, both local and from out of town. But the trails don’t become pristine roads for riding on their own. Snowmobile clubs, advisory committees and trails associations organize volunteers groups to clear brush and maintain the trails and paths for riders to enjoy. One such group, the Mountain Trails Grooming Association, regularly grooms more than 200 miles worth of trails in the Methow Valley

area. “We’re ready to groom any time we get enough snow,” past president Jim Vannice said. The maintained trails are also used by cross-country skiers, dog-sledders and hikers with snowshoes. The grooming effort is quite an endeavor, Vannice said. From December to the end of March, the Mountain Trails Grooming Association typically spends three days a week, eight to 10 hours a day, maintaining trails. Even long before snow starts falling, members take time using power saws to clear brush from the trails, Vannice said. The group is made entirely of volunteers, but does receive

some funding from Washington State Parks and the Recreation and Conservation Office. Okanogan County Public Works also receives money for trail maintenance from Washington State Parks. The county maintains trails based on how much state funding it receives and recommendations of the Okanogan County Snowmobile Advisory Board, JoAnn Stansbury of the Public Works Department said. The advisory board, which features eight members, meets at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of every month from November through March at the Okanogan County Public Works Building, 2886 U.S. Highway 97. Meetings are

Roger Harnack/The Chronicle

open to the public. In the past, the county has often groomed trails in Conconully and Tunk Creek.

A rider inspects a snowmobile before taking a trip through the Okanogan County backcountry, which features hundreds of miles of groomed trails.

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509-826-2947 • Downtown Conconully

Okanogan Country 2013-2014 Snowmobile Guide ©2013 The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. Roger Harnack, editor and publisher Garrett Rudolph, managing editor Lynn Hoover, advertising manager Katie Montanez, project designer P.O. Box 553 • 618 Okoma Drive, Omak, WA 98841 509-826-1110 • 800-572-3446 • fax 509-826-5819 www.omakchronicle.com Special thanks to Washington State Parks and Gary Allard for providing beautiful maps and helpful input for this project. Cover photo: T.J. Gilman at Loup Loup-South Summit Sno-Park taken by Roger Harnack, Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle

Bonaparte Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 52 miles of groomed trails.

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Highlands Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 18 miles of groomed trails.

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Sweat Creek Staging Area Groomed Trail System Area has 63 miles of groomed trails.

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Kerr Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 128 miles of groomed trails.

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Come warm yourself by the fire!

CONCONULLY LAKE RESORT Cabin Rentals 509-826-0813 102 Sinlehekin Rd., Conconully, WAy

North Summit Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 34 miles of groomed trails.

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Crawfish Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 33 miles of groomed trails.

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Yellowjacket Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 100 miles of groomed trails.

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Snowmobiles act as a rescue tool The Chronicle

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side from the many recreational uses of snowmobiles, law enforcement and rescue agencies around the region are also taking advantage of their ability to trek through tough terrain. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office has three snowmobiles it uses, both for routine patrols and search and rescue, Sheriff Frank Rogers said. “During the winter time, they’re great,” he said. Meanwhile, Ferry County Search and Rescue also has snowmobiles available to use, President C.M. Sam Jenkins said. This year, two snowmobiles were donated to

Roger Harnack/The Chronicle

Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Blake, left, speaks during snowmobile training. the group. It also has use of several snowmobiles owned by individual members. Plus, the U.S. Border Patrol has assisted Search and Rescue

by loaning its snowmobiles when needed. Jenkins said in the two years he’s been the president of Ferry County Search and

Rescue, there have been only two instances where snowmobiles were needed. “I don’t think anybody would be stupid enough to go very far on an ungroomed trail,” he said. Rogers said his deputies routinely use the snowmobiles for checking camp locations and assisting Forest Service rangers. Rogers said needing snowmobiles is not common for Search and Rescue, but every year the vehicles are put into use. “People get broke down or lost,” he said. “Most of the time it’s over in the Methow.” In addition to the county’s three vehicles, there are several Search and Rescue volunteers who have snowmobiles that can assist when needed.

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Twisp River Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 58 miles of groomed trails.

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24 HOUR FUELING

Black Canyon Sno-Park Groomed Trail System Area has 100 miles of groomed trails.

Road number and mileage labeled between junctions.

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2013 okanogan county snowmobiling guide