Wind River sno-park access returns to normal

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

Published:

 

The Wind River Road in the southern Gifford Pinchot National Forest will be plowed all the way north to the Lone Butte Sno-Park this winter, improving access for snowmobile riders.

Larry Douglass, Skamania County public works director, said the county has resumed its normal operation of plowing road No. 30 to Lone Butte, along with the Koshko, McClellan and Government Mineral Springs sno-parks.

Last winter, to access to the upper Wind River winter recreation area yet stretch limited snow removal dollars, the county only plowed as far as Koshko Sno-Park.

Snow depths

Old Man Pass (Wind River) -- 42 inches

Lone Butte (Wind River) -- 42 inches

Cougar (Mount St. Helens) --36 inches

Marble Mountain (Mount St. Helens) -- 48 inches

Pineside (Mount Adams) -- 28 inches

SnowKing (Mount Adams) -- 34 inches

Smith Butte (Mount Adams) --Inaccessible

Atkisson (Mount Adams) -- 36 inches

Flattop (Mount Adams) -- 36 inches

That meant snowmobile riders and non-motorized users shared Koshko, with the snowmobilers then riding north to their traditional area at Lone Butte and beyond.

“We have elected to plow all of Wind River Road to Lone Butte Sno-Park so we don’t have the bottleneck at Koshko with all users competing for limited parking,’’ Douglass said.

Money for snow removal to the winter recreation areas is provided to the county through the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the U.S. Forest Service.

The county will not plow the Old Man Pass Sno-Park on the west side of road No. 30 opposite the tubing hill.

The tubing hill parking lot on the east side of the road will be plowed.

Not plowing the Old Man Pass lot saves Skamania County money and reduces its liability, Douglass said.

“The Koshko lot holds more and is easier to plow since it is an off-road lot,’’ he said. “The lot at the pass requires the plows to back around a blind corner and into oncoming traffic.’’

Skamania County and PacifiCorp will partner to keep Lewis River road No. 90 open from the Cowlitz-Skamania county line near Beaver Bay campground to the fire station at Northwoods.

However, there will be no winter maintenance on road No. 90 between the fire station and the junction with Curly Creek road No. 51, or on road No. 51 up to its junction with road No. 30.

Douglass said Skamania County’s priority following snow storms is to clear the residential roads first.

The county has a winter recreation web page where it updates conditions regarding access to the upper Wind River area.

The address is http://www.skamaniacounty.org/public-works/homepage/upper-wind-river-recreation-area

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