Pinedale Snow Explorers membership drive Nov. 12
by Pinedale Snow Explorers
November 9, 2011
November 08, 2011 update from George Pryich, President, Pinedale Snow Explorers:
Winter is here! The Pinedale Snow Explorers membership drive is this Saturday, November 12, at the Sublette County Library-Lovatt Room. A pot luck will be served, bring your favorite dish. Dinner and meeting begin at 6:30 pm.
The Snow Explorers have had a busy summer with six ATV rides, helping to put Elk Ridge Lodge back on the CDST map, talking to the Forest Service about road repairs and improvements, attending the Wyoming State Trails meetings, promoting the club through Bucky’s 50th anniversary/open houses and the SnoWest Intermountain Snowmobile Show in Salt Lake City.
Club members are excited for the owners of Elk Ridge Lodge to be back in business this winter. This is important because State Trails would have downgraded the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) even more than they have for this upcoming season without a snowmobile destination stop for locals and tourists. Elk Ridge plans to have the bar open with snacks in November and December, then be fully open December 30th through April, depending on snow conditions. Come with your tanks full, the DEQ will not allow them to sell fuel; but it will be available for emergency use only. Elk Ridge Lodge will also have 8 cabins available that can accommodate up to 24 people at $90.00 per night per cabin. The State Trails will groom the P Trail from the intersection at the CDST to Elk Ridge Lodge. You will also be able to access Elk Ridge Lodge from the parking lot by riding across the bridge. We ask the public to keep us posted on any issues about access, safety, and other concerns by attending our monthly meetings. Play local!
In August, we attended the WSSA meeting in Riverton to learn that State Trails has a deficit of $700,000 in the snowmobile program. State Trails asked the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association (WSSA) to help find a solution for the deficit. One proposal is to raise snowmobile registration to $50 per machine, along with other legislative actions. Total miles groomed will be reduced compared to the last few years. For example, in the Upper Green, trails were groomed 6 nights a week in good snow conditions. Trails will now be groomed 4 nights a week on the Upper Green trails, 2 nights a week on the CDST and side trails, and 2 nights a week on the Moose-Gypsum trail. State Trails would like one pull more per week on the CDST but that has been cut. A few years ago, trails were groomed from December through April, depending on the amount of snow. Now, grooming is scheduled from December 15 through March 5. The weeks of March 12 and March 19 will include only two pulls of grooming for the entire CDST and Upper Green. The lower half of the A Trail – towards the CDST and Lake of the Woods – will not be groomed, with limited marking. So pack your shovels! In addition, Irish Canyon to the Upper Green parking lot is no longer part of the CDST system.
There are some bright spots. The section of trail from Strawberry to CDST South across the bench will be back on the old path; the Forest Service installed the new double vault toilet; and the incorrect marking of the wildlife corridor from Kendall bridge to the Klondike bridge on the CDST towards Elk Ridge was corrected. Please help the club keep the conditions of Strawberry in great shape and pack out any debris or trash that you have. If you know of or see anyone vandalizing club, State, or Federal property, please note their identification and contact proper authorities.
The Horse Creek trail system in the Wyoming Range is in good shape. State Trails has kept the Horse Creek grooming schedule about the same, except that all trails south of Box Y to Cokeville will not be groomed. They would like to add one more pull from the parking lot to Box Y for trail grooming and safety. This would bring it back to the original 4 pulls per week, rather than the 3 pulls scheduled.
With the downturn in the economy, and with the oil and gas fieldwork slowing down and shifting to the south country, tourism again will be the key to holding up the area businesses and lifestyle in Sublette County. Sublette County, the Town of Pinedale, and the Snow Explorers will be key groups in keeping the snowmobile trails and safety shelters in place for future years. The State Trails program is undergoing a restructuring and they are counting on state clubs to provide support. The Explorers have already voted to help State Trails and our club is responsible for the maintenance of Strawberry safety shelter. State Trails will continue to be responsible for cooperative agreements with the Forest Service and insurance.
If we do not get involved and keep a voice in the trail system, we could lose more trails, safety shelters, parking lots, and plowing. Our club is a key voice to the survival of our sport, tourism, and business survival in Sublette County. If you would like to help with these tasks, please consider membership. The WSSA and club officers throughout the state will have a heavy responsibility with their positions to keep our sport and passion alive. We need more commitment and participation from more club members for all activities. Participation of more club members spreads out the work so we don’t lose members to "burn-out."
To all of you, thank you, register your machines, good riding, and be safe.
-George Pryich, Club President
For more information contact:
George Pryich, President
Pinedale Snow Explorers