Home > Trip Reports > April 26, 2003, Crystal Mtn.

April 26, 2003, Crystal Mtn.

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by wolfs on 4/26/03 9:49am
New snow! Snowing even before the 410 turnoff. Is this really late April? The road up was even a little slippery.
We went up to the top of the King, screwed up a little bit trying to get on to the ridge but eventually got it right. Despite seeming quite warm air temp, it snowed almost the entire time we were up there.
Snow was 3 to 8 inches fresh, which hadn't really gotten too mushy. We slid most of the new off our descent route, because on that exposure the underlying layer happened to be pretty icy and slippery, but it was still a fine descent.
Snowmobiles there again highpointing, only two of them managing to thrash the lower parts of lines in three different basins plus countless wintertime skiruns. What is the deal with that? Even if it isn't illegal, it is plenty rude and annoying. Worth a call to USFS to find out if it is illegal, tho not like anything they are gonna do about it. Can you imagine how many growing treetops those things are shearing off when the snowpack is like it is currently up in the subalpine?
USFS is not going to do anything, I think they are beholden to them, as I found out after inquiring with Pinchot-Gifford why snow mobilers are allowed to motor all the way to the highest crater rim of St Helens, and they don't even have to pay the climbing fee! Seems to me the USFS is a    "for-profit" outfit, not one to protect our public lands.

Someone else recently posted here that USFS says they're not supposed to be in the closed ski areas, so it may be worth a call to them to report what you saw, if only to be sure they know what they aren't bothering to police...

Once again I contacted Larry Donovan from the Forest Service.  He was good enough to reply to my first e-mail.  He said that they had sent a enforcement officer to the area the weekend of the 19th - 20th, who talked with some snowmobilers and had also posted the area.  I was up there last Sunday but did not see any signs.  But then I didn't go looking for them. As mentioned above, the snowmobilers where out in force again.

I would suggest that all who read this, to please send an e-mail to Larry.  There is strength in numbers and if we who use the area speak with a united voice maybe they will listen and put an end to this before the snowmobiles  become "established" there.  It's twice as hard to undo something after they get their foot in the door.

Please be respectful when e-mailing and allow him to do his job first.  If that doesn't get the point across more poignant action may be needed later.  

Snowmobiles have most of the Greenwater area to use.  Chrystal mountain is a designated ski area by USFS permit.  Whether the Lifts are running or not.  So please do your part and send an e-mail to Larry Donovan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  It only takes a minute an may save your ski area for years to come. ;)

I promise not to continue violating the rules of this forum any more with non trip report info. in this spot. So this my last.  Additional Crystal Mtn. info. will be in its proper location from here on out.

I received a reply to my second e-mail to Larry Donovan, the USFS winter recreation coordinator.  He now understands the problem is bigger then he originally thought and talked with the resort managers, the White River ranger district and the permit administrator for the Forest Service.

They promise to post more signs, be a more watchful of snowmobiles useing in the area, confront those that they find and issue tickets if necessary.  So it looks like the ball is squarely in their court. Hopefully they follow through.  I don't mean to sound just a little pessimistic, but we have all seen the Forest Service looking the other way at times to "minor infractions" of rules they establish.

I would like to thank those who answered my plea to contact the Forest Service with your concerns about this situation.  It made a difference.  Larry said he had received e-mail from others. That tends to make them think its not just some crackpot who just wants to complain.  See, the squeaky  wheel does get oiled sometimes!  Lets just hope this problem now comes to a satisfactory conclusion.  ;)

Nice job, RG.

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2003-04-26 16:49:05