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CBAlliance
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Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« on: 10/07/17, 10:07 AM »

Hi All,

After much backroom discussion, Western Washington is finally getting its own backcountry ski and snowboard advocacy group. Myself and other members of the CBA have watched backcountry usage skyrocket in recent years, as good winters and improved gear have fueled a renaissance all along the Cascade crest. Along with more crowded skintracks, attendant access issues have started to plague our community: difficult parking situations, conflicts with other snow travelers, and reduced uphill travel options at our local resorts.

Currently, there is no united voice for skiers and riders to speak with land managers, resorts, and fellow winter recreationalists. While backcountry users generally seek a solitary experience, our lack of organization has begun to hurt us. A trend of reduced access and diminished user experience is the fate of every recreational group that fails to organize once it hits a critical mass.

We believe that the time has come to present a united voice in addressing these issues. However, we want to hear from the TAY community about what issues they feel are of greatest importance. Beyond simply getting our name out and establishing relationships, our #1 priority for this year is to plow the PCT trailhead at the commonwealth basin. We have ideas and things we hope to address in many areas- time will tell what is feasible for us and what our priorities should be. The point is that we are a new organization and now is the time for YOU to have your voice heard.

Check out the website at cascadebackcountryalliance.org and let us know what you think. For projects in your area, look in the current projects tab and then give us some feedback. What issues do you think are important? What should we focus on as an organization? You can email us, or comment here-- we'd like this thread to be a place for some productive conversation.

Lastly, if you enter your email into our mailing list, we will keep you informed on our events and projects. We are excited to hear from the core community before we gain a more public face, and we appreciate your time and your words.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #1 on: 10/07/17, 11:07 AM »

Welcome!
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #2 on: 10/07/17, 12:34 PM »

It would be important to me to know who at least the key organizers are and if the organizers and the alliance have any affiliations outside of other non-profit public service groups.† Thanks, abc† :-)


I do think it is well past the time when such an alliance should have been formed--thanks for forming one.  I look forward to updates.
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #3 on: 10/07/17, 02:51 PM »

Hi All,

our #1 priority for this year is to plow the PCT trailhead at the commonwealth basin.

This seems like an interesting priority to me, given that backcountry skiers have been parking for free at the Snoqualmie Summit/Summit West lots for at least a half century.

Can you illuminate the factors that where used to identify this as a top priority?
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #4 on: 10/07/17, 03:07 PM »

It would be important to me to know who at least the key organizers are and if the organizers and the alliance have any affiliations outside of other non-profit public service groups.† Thanks, abc† :-)

Andrew,

Thanks for the response. The CBA has no affiliations besides the Winter Wildlands Alliance, which is a national nonprofit group that has helped us organize and get our paperwork in order.

As far as the primary members: I currently work for International Mountain Guides. The past 4 winters you may have seen me at Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, where I worked in the shop. Some of our key members are also in the industry, and work for guide services such as Mountain Madness and Alpine Ascents, as well as Ascent Outdoors in Seattle. Others work at resorts, other retailers, and at gear companies.

To be very clear: we do not represent the interests of any of these institutions as the CBA. We are all avid recreational skiers who want to help address the needs of the recreational community. While obviously the industry benefits from more skiers and more backcountry users, the point is that we as recreationalists have a political voice- for-profit entities already have the means and resources to advocate for themselves.

I should have signed the first post, apologies.

Cheers,
Conrad Wharton
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #5 on: 10/07/17, 03:36 PM »

This seems like an interesting priority to me, given that backcountry skiers have been parking for free at the Snoqualmie Summit/Summit West lots for at least a half century.

Can you illuminate the factors that where used to identify this as a top priority?

Hi Randy,

There were a few things that went into this decision, and it is by no means set in stone. First, to your question about why this is even a concern: Snoqualmie Pass is the closest and easiest access to touring from Seattle. The status quo of resort parking use, which is taken up not only by touring folks but snowshoers and other user groups, has a few problems. First, the increasing number of free-riders cannot continue forever- the competition for resort parking will eventually become a serious issue. Second, the number of people wandering under the overpass to access the commonwealth is a safety concern.

The large number of public land users and the presence of an existing parking lot means that it is in everyoneís interest to plow this lot: the resort wins because more parking spaces are freed up for paying customers, the forest service is better able to serve the demands of its users, the DOT has fewer concerns about pedestrians and illegal parking, and we as a user base gain easy access to a popular touring area without being beholden to the generosity of the resort.

In other words, this seems like a logical project with clear benefits and† a reasonable scope. We certainly are aware of many other pressing issues, and are open to pursuing as many as we can.

Cheers,
Conrad
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Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #6 on: 10/07/17, 04:16 PM »

Hi Randy,

without being beholden to the generosity of the resort.


Given that the resort and parking lot are on USFS owned land and the area operates on a special use permit from the USFS.  I think it is the public that is granting the resort a favor...

Would plowing the PCT lot be paid for using sno-park funds and require a sno-park permit to be displayed?  Seems like this would be only partially effective in freeing up space at Summit West  -- unless Washington adopted the Oregon model where *all* skiers/riders are required to display a sno-park permit - even when parking in "ski area" lots.  I would think would be strongly opposed by ski areas -- even though it seems sensible to me.

If not where would plowing funds come from? 

Perhaps the USFS special use permit could be ammended the next time it is renewed to require plowing of the PCT lot for backountry users without a fee.

This would benefit the resort on "peak days" when close to the resort lots fill up early and resort skiers need to park in the silver fir overflow lot and ride the shuttle to reach Summit West or go home sad (and with money in their wallets)
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kthack
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #7 on: 10/07/17, 06:50 PM »

Nice Conrad, great idea. Look forward to helping support
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #8 on: 10/08/17, 10:14 AM »

Would plowing the PCT lot be paid for using sno-park funds and require a sno-park permit to be displayed?† Seems like this would be only partially effective in freeing up space at Summit West† -- unless Washington adopted the Oregon model where *all* skiers/riders are required to display a sno-park permit - even when parking in "ski area" lots.† I would think would be strongly opposed by ski areas -- even though it seems sensible to me.

If not where would plowing funds come from?†

Perhaps the USFS special use permit could be ammended the next time it is renewed to require plowing of the PCT lot for backountry users without a fee.

This would benefit the resort on "peak days" when close to the resort lots fill up early and resort skiers need to park in the silver fir overflow lot and ride the shuttle to reach Summit West or go home sad (and with money in their wallets)

Randy,

Your point about the paid vs. free parking is well taken- if there is free parking people will obviously go there first. The Oregon sno-park system is a bit more fair to all users in that sense, although Iím sure some oregonians could point out flaws. The main point here is that it takes money to make these things happen. At this point, we donít know exactly how much funding would be required, nor how much would be available from the fs/dot/etc. In an ideal world, we as the CBA will be working to close a potential funding gap through events and fundraising efforts. We will keep you posted on where our talks with the FS go.

To add on here: another big part of our mission is to help distribute user impact to different areas outside of the current overworked spots. I would love to hear from people about access points that are currently underutilized or not available in the winter that we might advocate and fundraise for plowing.
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #9 on: 10/08/17, 10:28 AM »

To publicly answer some questions we have received by email:

What about carpooling?

Sure, weíre all for it. Obviously carpooling would go a long way towards improving congestion at crowded trailheads- Stevens Pass is the most clear example. We would love for more people to carpool.  Thereís basically two ways to get people to carpool: a carrot or a stick. Carrots being better parking, faster traffic lanes, etc. We donít have much control over these sorts of big infrastructure projects, although we can certainly help resorts develop these incentives. We also might be able to partner with private companies that offer group transport to help them get the word out about their services. The only stick we have is shame: we can basically try and guilt people  into carpooling more. However, thereís only so far that goes , as people are free to ignore you and drive separately. Carpooling and transportation in the Cascades is a huge issue, and we simply donít have the tools to address such big systemic issues- although we will do what we can.

Why donít you have any projects  in the (Olympics, White Pass, Fill in the blank) area?

First, we only have the resources do so much. Second, some areas of Washington already  have non-profit advocacy groups, such as El Sendero in Wenatchee. In the Olympics, the Hurricane Ridge Winter Access coalition made a big push for opening the road more, to limited avail. If you feel you have the time and resources to make a difference in a place we havenít identified, or even in a place we already have, please let us know.

Thanks for all the responses thus far.

Cheers,
Conrad
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Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #10 on: 10/08/17, 03:10 PM »

Randy,

 . I would love to hear from people about access points that are currently underutilized or not available in the winter that we might advocate and fundraise for plowing.

One access point that was recently lostvwas the East Bound Price creek rest area.   When it was open it was underutilized,   I think because only the very ancient Prater snowshoe book mentioned it and because of snowmachine usage.

Expanding the sno-park at Gold creek would help as well.
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Skier of the Hood
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #11 on: 10/08/17, 10:17 PM »

Hi Conrad,

I think a page detailing the members of your board of directors would be huge, similar to the winter wildlands alliance <https://winterwildlands.org/board/>. Speaking of which, I think it would also be telling to know how the CBA is to be structured. How will the board of directors be chosen? Do you have an executive director? Obviously you are probably still working out the details but I would be curious to know if you do have a plan.†

If you can gain statistical information about backcountry users you may be able to leverage that information into getting a piece of the pie provided by Washington's Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. I know little about the grant agency but have always been curious if we could shift a bit of the pie our way. Currently we have no representation on the Recreational Trails Program Advisory Group <http://www.rco.wa.gov/grants/advisory_committees/rtp.shtml> The pie is sure tasty if we can get a piece of it <https://secure.rco.wa.gov/prism/search/projectsnapshot.aspx?ProjectNumber=14-2094> <https://secure.rco.wa.gov/prism/search/projectsnapshot.aspx?ProjectNumber=14-1833> <https://secure.rco.wa.gov/prism/search/projectsnapshot.aspx?ProjectNumber=14-2104>. If you don't know you can search for grants using prism, you will find mucho funds appropriated to snowmobiling and cross country skiing with zero for backcountry skiers.

A whole other lift is getting state parks or the forest service to support backcountry skiing like they support cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. If you have any intention of accomplishing this lift you will have to bring in the other winter advocacy groups into the discussion.

Thank you for doing the heavy lifting of getting an advocacy group going, hope you enjoy politics (;
« Last Edit: 10/08/17, 10:20 PM by Skier of the Hood » Logged

"As we all know, the true driving force behind every early morning wake up is not necessarily safety, but the overpowering drive to be sitting on a patio by 1 pm, intoxicated, and spraying loudly about the morning's adventure."

-Andrew Wexler 2011
BRSmith
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #12 on: 10/09/17, 01:36 PM »

Super excited to see this project start to come to fruition - establishing a more unified voice to advocate for BC ski community seems long overdue in my mind and will only become more important as use increases in the years to come.

That being said, it's a big range an pretty clearly there's also a big range in opinions about where priorities stand / what the best way to increase access to the backcountry is. I would certainly be interested in hearing more folk's ideas about where and how this organization could make the most difference for our community of human-powered backcountry users.

Thanks for leading the charge on this bear of a project, Conrad.

-Brendan Smith
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kamtron
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #13 on: 10/09/17, 02:28 PM »

Excellent initiative to get this thing going!
Let us know about meetings, fundraisers, etc.
See you in the snows soon, Conrad ;-)
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #14 on: 10/09/17, 05:55 PM »

Hi Conrad,

I think a page detailing the members of your board of directors would be huge, similar to the winter wildlands alliance <https://winterwildlands.org/board/>. Speaking of which, I think it would also be telling to know how the CBA is to be structured. How will the board of directors be chosen? Do you have an executive director? Obviously you are probably still working out the details but I would be curious to know if you do have a plan.†

If you can gain statistical information about backcountry users you may be able to leverage that information into getting a piece of the pie provided by Washington's Recreation and Conservation Funding Board. I know little about the grant agency but have always been curious if we could shift a bit of the pie our way. Currently we have no representation on the Recreational Trails Program Advisory Group. If you don't know you can search for grants using prism, you will find mucho funds appropriated to snowmobiling and cross country skiing with zero for backcountry skiers.

A whole other lift is getting state parks or the forest service to support backcountry skiing like they support cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. If you have any intention of accomplishing this lift you will have to bring in the other winter advocacy groups into the discussion.

Thank you for doing the heavy lifting of getting an advocacy group going, hope you enjoy politics (;

Thanks for the response. The website is a little light on details right now, sorry. We are incorporated in Washington, which requires fairly limited disclosure of internal structure in the incorporation process. I am trying to get our internal governance documents fully in line with Washington State law before we publish them. If you are a lawyer or know one, let me know. We will work on adding a "Who we are" page to the website as well.

I greatly appreciate the heads up on the recreational trails program- that is potentially an excellent source of project funding. I note that the grants require matching, but that is hopefully within our reach for a good cause.

Your point about our relative invisibility to the Forest Service, as well as to the Washington RCO and other entities, really gets at what we are trying to accomplish: give this entire group of people with a shared set of interests a political voice. No one likes politics, but everyone like policies that benefit them, so hopefully we can keep our focus there.

An interesting note about the Forest Service in particular is that if you dig deep into the Mt. Baker/ Snoqualmie forest plan, which dates back to 1990 at this point, Backcountry skiing isn't even a named activity. Here's some of the relevant bullet points from the "Winter Recreation" section:

1. Each major winter recreation activity (Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, and snow play) will have areas designated and managed to accommodate them. Other activities occuring within these areas should be limited or prohibited if they conflict with the primary activity, or if overcrowding develops.

On the other hand, the section also notes that

4. Different skill levels of users shall be provided for and considered when designing trails and related facilities. A spectrum of opportunities for winter recreation will be maintained, including primitive dispersed opportunities with no facilities.

and

6. Alpine ski permittees will be encouraged to integrate winter dispersed recreation into their operations if and when the opportunity and demand exists.

Here's the link to all that.
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #15 on: 10/09/17, 05:56 PM »

Excellent initiative to get this thing going!
Let us know about meetings, fundraisers, etc.
See you in the snows soon, Conrad ;-)

Thanks Kam, we will hopefully be e-mailing folks soon about fun things like beer and stoke, and not just plowing through legal documents!
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #16 on: 10/10/17, 06:37 AM »

Conrad, thanks for the reply and info :-)
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #17 on: 10/10/17, 09:52 AM »

Here is a link to another human powered winter recreation advocacy group -- consider coordinating with them

https://www.snowrec.org/

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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #18 on: 11/02/17, 05:29 PM »

Hi All,

Some further updates on project priorities and feedback we have received:

One of the areas folks have been most responsive about is Mt. Baker and the 542 corridor. A recurring issue that folks have mentioned is the contentious relationship between the BC community and the resort. While we are familiar with the problems that have occurred in the past (e.g. accosting BC users trying to park at the area), we are also sympathetic to the concerns of the resort. If anyone has further productive input on this, or some means of extending the olive branch and starting a productive dialogue, we would love to hear it.

Another park of relieving some of the pressure on the Bagley Lakes/Table area would be to improve access to backcountry areas along the highway, either by plowing parking for sled access or plowing the roads far enough for reasonable skinning. To that end, we've identified two key roads that the motorized community and hopefully you all are interested in: Twin Lakes/Winchester mountain road and Skyline divide road. These are obviously great options in the shoulder seasons when access is feasible, and would be great alternate options during winter. We are hoping to hear back from the Forest Service soon, and will update you all when that happens.

Thank you for all the input thus far.
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flowing alpy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #19 on: 11/03/17, 11:57 AM »

hey conrad,
do you have any plans to help regulate the Lot4 dog park trail @Alpental.
parking, uphill traffic and dog poop are a real problem for avid downhill users of this recreation area.
 asking for a friend.
Thanks in advance and good luck with parking
 on a new snow day any weekend this winter.

may we be blessed by UllR
bobby
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #20 on: 11/03/17, 12:26 PM »

hey conrad,
do you have any plans to help regulate the Lot4 dog park trail @Alpental.
parking, uphill traffic and dog poop are a real problem for avid downhill users of this recreation area.
 asking for a friend.
Thanks in advance and good luck with parking
 on a new snow day any weekend this winter.

may we be blessed by UllR
bobby

Hi Bobby,

Glad you asked (for a friend)-just had some great conversations with folks about this.

Ah, yes, lot 4. You only dig a snow cave there once. While the dog poop and general rodeo are unpleasant, I think the central concern here is the downhill/uphill travel conflict. The resort obviously has a permit area and paying guests that suffer from clueless uphill travelers, and one collision is probably enough to threaten access for all. The resort has been exceedingly generous in its handling of the traffic lot 4 receives from non-paying customers.

Currently, we are at the stage of reaching out to the resort to see what their perception of the issues are, and areas we think we can collaborate on. Some solutions we hope to bring to the table are discussed on the snoqualmie pass projects page on our website. To elaborate further: managing the movement of people in highly traffic areas basically requires infrastructure and education. Parking has been discussed above, and some other elements we would be reliant on the resort for: creation of a dog-walking area, grooming an exit trail, etc. However, we as an uphill travel community also need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as be respectful of ski area operations. To that end, we are hopeful about signage and designating different travel areas, whether that be a marked snowshoe area, a set skintrack, an informational kiosk in the lot, or other outreach and education efforts.

As far as the dog poop: is there a doggie-bag dispenser at the trailhead? or anything about dog waste? My memory is failing me here.

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #21 on: 11/03/17, 10:25 PM »

Thank you for taking concrete steps on advocacy. It's a comparatively thankless job -- thank you.

I'm not certain that we need representatives to speak for us, but we absolutely need catalysts to get everyone to speak and advocate in a timely fashion as backcountry usage grows.

Looking around the CBA website, I don't see anything relating to the leadership, structure, bylaws, and financial statements. Transparency may be of critical importance when inspiring solitude-seeking skiers to coalesce as a group.

In particular, before donating to any such group, I absolutely need to know what that money might do, how decisions are made, and who is making those decisions. Such documentation needn't be complex, just clear and accurate.

Thank you again!

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mbravenboer
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #22 on: 11/04/17, 02:30 PM »

It would be great if the CBA would also include backcountry snowshoeing. They face the exact same issues with access and parking, so interests should be pretty well aligned. The typical dont-destroy-my-skin-track problem is often more front country problem with novices and hopefully those minor issues with each others mode of transportation can be overcome in the alliance. The good thing is that the 'mission' page of CBA is neutral on the mode of travel, but in the announcement here you wrote "Western Washington is finally getting its own backcountry ski and snowboard advocacy group", so I'm concerned it will mostly be for skiiers. Might be nice to also ask for feedback in places like NWHikers where many avid snowshoers hang out.
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rlsg
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #23 on: 11/07/17, 10:35 PM »

some of us would rather you walk on skin track rather than hambergering precious snow fields ...


It would be great if the CBA would also include backcountry snowshoeing. They face the exact same issues with access and parking, so interests should be pretty well aligned. The typical dont-destroy-my-skin-track problem is often more front country problem with novices and hopefully those minor issues with each others mode of transportation can be overcome in the alliance. The good thing is that the 'mission' page of CBA is neutral on the mode of travel, but in the announcement here you wrote "Western Washington is finally getting its own backcountry ski and snowboard advocacy group", so I'm concerned it will mostly be for skiiers. Might be nice to also ask for feedback in places like NWHikers where many avid snowshoers hang out.
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vogtski
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #24 on: 11/08/17, 11:52 AM »

Thanks for all your work and time!  I think your group is correct to focus initially on USFS, where the chances for skier-friendly access improvements seem greatest.
   
I don't care much for the aroma, but I smell changes coming in our National Parks' winter operations from Zinke's latest scam.  I'd expect additional fees for plowing, parking, and other traditional basic services fairly soon.  It looks as though motorized recreation advocacy groups will dominate his process, so it could lead to snowmobile tours, winter RV & sled camprounds, who knows, maybe even renting buildings out and cat-skiing at Paradise (Edith Basin & Paradise River headwaters are gerrymandered out of the official Wilderness):

"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is moving to form a Recreation Advisory Committee to develop suggestions not only on how "public-private partnerships" can improve access and infrastructure on public lands, but also on how to generate more user fees to support sustainable operations."

"We used to have a Bureau of Recreation ‚Äď we're bringing recreation back," Secretary Zinke said. "So I've hired a former Navy SEAL captain to evaluate our public lands and look at the recreation opportunities, so the American public can enjoy our lands.
"

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/11/interior-secretary-create-public-lands-advisory-committee-one-might-suggest-new-user-fees

https://themontanapost.com/2017/11/02/the-case-against-ryan-zinke/
« Last Edit: 11/09/17, 06:43 AM by vogtski » Logged

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #25 on: 11/08/17, 04:04 PM »

and one collision is probably enough to threaten access for all.

How so ?  Plenty of collisions and injuries happen every  weekend at Alpental and the other ski areas.  Also Washington state law explicitly makes the descending skier responsible for any collisions.

Quote
The resort has been exceedingly generous in its handling of the traffic lot 4 receives from non-paying customers.

Huh?  The land is USFS public land.  If the resort were to try to exclude the public from using that route (which has been in use since before Alpental existed) they would need to get the forest service to agree to changes in their special use permit.
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Chuck C
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #26 on: 11/08/17, 09:37 PM »

How so ?  Plenty of collisions and injuries happen every  weekend at Alpental and the other ski areas.

There really aren‚Äôt too many collisions/injuries at Alpental, especially compared to the other areas up there. But I‚Äôve accosted numerous people skinning up the middle of the runs on weekends, a few times with their unleashed dogs. Once they told me they didn‚Äôt know the area was open.  The spandex must‚Äôve been too tight.
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Randy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #27 on: 11/08/17, 10:19 PM »

There really aren’t too many collisions/injuries at Alpental, especially compared to the other areas up there. But I’ve accosted numerous people skinning up the middle of the runs on weekends, a few times with their unleashed dogs. Once they told me they didn’t know the area was open.  The spandex must’ve been too tight.

Point is people get hurt pretty frequently at lift served ski areas -- Those sleds get used with some frequency -- more frequently at Summit West and Central than Alpental I would agree.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #28 on: 11/09/17, 08:07 AM »

Awesome! Thanks for all the work in getting this going. I'm in full support of the projects outlined on the site. Especially the ones related to some of the "arbitrarily" locked gates around the state. What are some good ways for us to get involved and help out?
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #29 on: 11/10/17, 11:24 AM »

Thank you for taking concrete steps on advocacy. It's a comparatively thankless job -- thank you.

I'm not certain that we need representatives to speak for us, but we absolutely need catalysts to get everyone to speak and advocate in a timely fashion as backcountry usage grows.

Looking around the CBA website, I don't see anything relating to the leadership, structure, bylaws, and financial statements. Transparency may be of critical importance when inspiring solitude-seeking skiers to coalesce as a group.

In particular, before donating to any such group, I absolutely need to know what that money might do, how decisions are made, and who is making those decisions. Such documentation needn't be complex, just clear and accurate.

Thank you again!



Charlie,

Thanks for the input. You raise some good points. Regarding someone speaking for you: I really want to emphasize that we are not trying to dictate an agenda or speak arbitrarily. We want to serve as a mouthpiece and a conduit. You tell us what to say, we try and pass that message on to other organizations. The key here is that we present a somewhat organized and united front on different issues. It is much easier to engage with government entities and advocate when we act as a legitimate group. That said, we also want to encourage people to provide their own direct input during e.g. public comment periods and other times when more voices are better. To this end, we hope to keep people informed about when they should speak up, and provide tools (contact info, etc.) to do so.

Regarding the website and transparency: we've built a "who we are" page which you can check out here. Both you and Andrew suggested this, and it wasn't our intention to be obscure- we're just small and new, and have day jobs. If you'd like to view our articles of incorporation, you can look at them here.

As far as our bylaws: as I said to Andrew, I don't want to publish them until I am certain they are correct- we have a draft but are still trying to ensure they are fully compliant with Washington State law. Believe me, I would love for this documentation to be clear and simple. It inherently isn't, due to the legal requirements of the document. We will not be asking anyone for money until this document is out. We also hope to finish electing an official board soon, but we want to make sure that we get a effective and representative mix of people to serve. Our budget is also a bit of a cart and horse problem right now- we don't know exactly what projects will cost because we are still talking to the Forest Service and other entities. Any project we solicit donations for will have a published budget estimate.

Anyways, it is all a bit of a slog, but we are striving hard for legitimacy, and advocacy isn't thankless: you just thanked us!

Conrad
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #30 on: 11/10/17, 11:36 AM »

It would be great if the CBA would also include backcountry snowshoeing. They face the exact same issues with access and parking, so interests should be pretty well aligned. The typical dont-destroy-my-skin-track problem is often more front country problem with novices and hopefully those minor issues with each others mode of transportation can be overcome in the alliance. The good thing is that the 'mission' page of CBA is neutral on the mode of travel, but in the announcement here you wrote "Western Washington is finally getting its own backcountry ski and snowboard advocacy group", so I'm concerned it will mostly be for skiiers. Might be nice to also ask for feedback in places like NWHikers where many avid snowshoers hang out.

Hi,

Our primary concern is the ski and snowboard community, simply because snowshoers are somewhat under the wing of the WTA and the Mountaineers. However, we do recognize that we all use much of the same  terrain, and generally the same trailhead. I think that the issues of conflict are much less than what we share together in the grand scheme of things, and we want to have room to advocate for our shared interests. We are still working out how representation of the snowshoe community will work, whether that be a board seat or simply some tweaking of our messaging and outreach efforts. I will post on NW Hikers as well.

As a comment above makes clear, areas of conflict definitely do exist, and we do want to work to resolve them. Some positive steps here will be looking for ways to mitigate front-country conflict, hopefully through emphasizing that everyone is basically out to have a good time in the snow. You aren't alone leaving the parking lot anymore, and if ten minutes of chewed up skintrack, or downhill skier dodging is required, we want to make sure friendship and politeness rules the day. That said, we also want to implement as much infrastructure as we can (e.g. marked or suggested travel routes) to help mitigate conflict. We have to get land managers on board with this before we go around sticking signs in the snow.

Thanks for speaking up for your mode of travel!
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #31 on: 11/10/17, 11:54 AM »

Thanks for all your work and time!  I think your group is correct to focus initially on USFS, where the chances for skier-friendly access improvements seem greatest.
   
I don't care much for the aroma, but I smell changes coming in our National Parks' winter operations from Zinke's latest scam.  I'd expect additional fees for plowing, parking, and other traditional basic services fairly soon.  It looks as though motorized recreation advocacy groups will dominate his process, so it could lead to snowmobile tours, winter RV & sled camprounds, who knows, maybe even renting buildings out and cat-skiing at Paradise (Edith Basin & Paradise River headwaters are gerrymandered out of the official Wilderness):

"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is moving to form a Recreation Advisory Committee to develop suggestions not only on how "public-private partnerships" can improve access and infrastructure on public lands, but also on how to generate more user fees to support sustainable operations."

"We used to have a Bureau of Recreation ‚Äď we're bringing recreation back," Secretary Zinke said. "So I've hired a former Navy SEAL captain to evaluate our public lands and look at the recreation opportunities, so the American public can enjoy our lands.
"


Thanks for your input. We hope the Forest Service will be responsive to our efforts. In general, the Forest Service has a bit more of utilitarian mandate, which means that speaking up can produce results. Both the Forest Service and the Park Service face the same problem, however, of being perpetually underfunded and under-resourced.

Currently, the Park Service is proposing a massive fee increase for many parks, including Mount Rainier. Single-vehicle entrance fees would be $70 under this proposal, although only during 5 peak travel months starting June 1st, 2018. You can read about the proposal on the NPS website here.

Generally, the CBA agrees with the following statement from the Winter Wildlands Alliance:

"The Park Service is proposing this fee increase, which is projected to generate $68 million, in order to address an $11 billion maintenance backlog. We accept that fees increases are appropriate or necessary in some limited circumstances but we cannot and should not address a multi-billion-dollar maintenance backlog on the backs of Park visitors. This fee increase strikes us as unreasonably high, particularly when proposed in conjunction with overall Department of Interior budget cuts to the tune of $1.5 billion, including a $380 million cut to the Park Service budget."

The public comment period is open until November 23rd. You can comment directly by going to this NPS planning site. If you join our mailing list (on our website, we will not spam you), we will send out an email reminder about this a few days before the comment period closes. We will keep an eye out for other proposed changes at MRNP.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #32 on: 11/10/17, 12:11 PM »

Awesome! Thanks for all the work in getting this going. I'm in full support of the projects outlined on the site. Especially the ones related to some of the "arbitrarily" locked gates around the state. What are some good ways for us to get involved and help out?

Appreciate your support and encouragement. Do you have specific gates in mind? We have some ideas, but want to hear from folks. Beyond that, a big priority for us is building relationships. If you or other people have contacts with the DOT, Forest Service, ski areas, or any other entities, awesome. We want to reach out to them and ask what their concerns are with skier usage and traffic, and establish ways to advocate for what we want as well.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #33 on: 11/10/17, 04:29 PM »

Appreciate your support and encouragement. Do you have specific gates in mind? We have some ideas, but want to hear from folks. Beyond that, a big priority for us is building relationships. If you or other people have contacts with the DOT, Forest Service, ski areas, or any other entities, awesome. We want to reach out to them and ask what their concerns are with skier usage and traffic, and establish ways to advocate for what we want as well.

Sounds good! 

Here's a little list of gated areas that have frustrated me over the years. Many of these have already been mentioned. Of course some of those might have legitimate reasons for being locked, and many are probably outside the realm of immediate possibility. One can dream though, right?

Gates on Cascade River Road. I can't even count the number of times I've walked the last few miles on dry pavement. Also, plowing that road would be incredible.

Mowich Lake road: often gated until well after the snow is gone on the road. I've ridden my bike up there several times when it was gated, and there was no snow in sight.

410 gate and sunrise road

Skyline divide road

Twin lakes road: Not sure if this is the case anymore, but it when I lived in Bellingham a few years ago it often had a big snowbank plowed in front of the road entrance. The road would often be clear for several miles other than that. I asked the forest service and DOT about the snowbank, and if I remember correctly they said it was more of just a convenient place to put the snow. They said it was fine for me to go and shovel it out and drive over it, which I did a few times. Even if the snowbank isn't an issue anymore, getting some plowing up that road would be absolutely amazing.

It'd be great to get the paradise gate unlocked a few hours earlier in the morning, and maybe stay open later at night.

Twin sisters road (from the northern side). I know this is more of an issue with the logging company than a governmental agency. However, Having that road open would open up a pretty incredible area for skiing and other recreational opportunities.

It'd be cool to have the west side of HWY 20 gated higher up. Probably fairly unfeasible due to avalanche danger and other reasons. However, it'd be pretty rad to have snowmobile access to Washington Pass similar to what the east side has.

Colchuck lake road.
« Last Edit: 11/10/17, 04:36 PM by Ldawson » Logged

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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #34 on: 11/15/17, 06:23 AM »

Excellent!

Thanks for the efforts to those involved. I would think that being a collective of various industry professionals only adds to the legitimacy. And possibly makes it easier to gain the ears of those that need to listen.

I predominantly ski Stevens pass area through out the winter. I've racked my brain over the years on what possibilities there where for access. Other then creating a few winter parking areas as mentioned, not much you could do with a plow truck.

The underutilized areas might be Martin Creek drainage, nason ridge(a mile long ridge that rarely sees tracks east of the first lump). The low elevation start at the west side train yard. Cascade meadows. I frequent all these places, and only see Chris and Radka.  And that snowshoer guy up there. Wink..

The minor issues seem to be parking, and the occasional legal snowmobile mixing in. overcrowding of slopes and areas doesn't seem  to be a problem. I could be wrong though.. I'm sure the more astute gentlemen of the pass can or already have weighed in.

Thanks again, best of luck, and I hope I'll somehow be able to collectively chip in and do my part.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #35 on: 11/15/17, 10:51 AM »

How so ?  Plenty of collisions and injuries happen every  weekend at Alpental and the other ski areas.  Also Washington state law explicitly makes the descending skier responsible for any collisions.

Huh?  The land is USFS public land.  If the resort were to try to exclude the public from using that route (which has been in use since before Alpental existed) they would need to get the forest service to agree to changes in their special use permit.

Hi,

Sorry for the delay in reply- I wanted to take the time to dig up some actual documentation on this. Access at ski areas is a big discussion flash point, and often generates confusion.

The scenario I was envisioning would be an uphill traveler skinning to Source lake, but within the ski area permit boundary and on a groomed exit track. In other words, a collision between a paying downhill skier and a nonpaying user. This would be a bad deal for us uphill folk, because it would create a crystal-clear public safety reason to limit access. Basically, ski resort on FS land, as dictated by their permit, have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the public. You can read a blank version of their permit by clicking
 here. The relevant language is "The holder has the responsibility of inspecting the area authorized for use under this permit for evidence of hazardous conditions which could affect the improvements or pose a risk of injury to individuals." Secondary to this, the resort is required to create an operating plan which takes safety into account, carry an insurance policy which may further dictate their operations, etc. So they have a safety mandate dictated to them.


The resorts also have a set of rights which are available to them, which are laid out in the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act (SAROEA). This act was updated in 2014, and the update includes some information on access to ski areas by the non-paying public. I have uploaded it to our google drive, and you can read the entire document by clicking here. The relevant section is on page 20.

Basically, resorts have the right to charge for their facilities, including plowed parking lots. They also have the right to limit access for public safety reasons. However, they cannot fully restrict access by charging an "entrance fee", and they cannot "charge for the use of National Forest System lands in which they have made limited or no investments.  Holders may not charge for use of non-motorized or motorized trails that are constructed and maintained by the Forest Service." Additionally, "Authorized Officers should strive to ensure that, to the extent possible based on public safety considerations, some portions of the permit area remain open to the public without charge, so that the holder’s charges do not constitute de facto entrance fees."

Basically, the resort has a general directive to allow access by the public, but the right and in fact the responsibility to limit access in specific cases where there is a threat to public safety. In the case of the Alpental valley, there is some ambiguity. It would seem that the resort couldn't limit access to the summer trailhead for Source Lake, as it is a FS facility. On the other hand, they could easily be able to justify limiting access to Lot 4 on the basis of e.g. unsafe parking lot conditions, or on uphill travelers using their groomed trail out of the lot. It is my understanding that a similar situation exists at Baker, where the resort could technically not charge everyone for parking (as was apparently threatened), but could charge or limit access to some specific areas. This is also why Crystal now makes some provisions for uphill travel, but Silver Basin is permanently closed.

The ambiguity of the language in these documents is what leads to a lot of confusion in these discussions. However, the point I'd like to convey most clearly is that we as a community will get a lot farther by working with resorts to achieve their public safety goals. Yes, in general, we can't be barred or required to pay a private entity for access to the backcountry. However, in almost any specific case, we have a lot to lose. Acting in good faith and being understanding of the position of the resort is imperative to avoiding situations like what happened at Crystal.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #36 on: 11/15/17, 11:22 AM »

Sounds good! 

Here's a little list of gated areas that have frustrated me over the years. Many of these have already been mentioned. Of course some of those might have legitimate reasons for being locked, and many are probably outside the realm of immediate possibility. One can dream though, right?

Gates on Cascade River Road. I can't even count the number of times I've walked the last few miles on dry pavement. Also, plowing that road would be incredible.

Mowich Lake road: often gated until well after the snow is gone on the road. I've ridden my bike up there several times when it was gated, and there was no snow in sight.

410 gate and sunrise road

Skyline divide road

Twin lakes road: Not sure if this is the case anymore, but it when I lived in Bellingham a few years ago it often had a big snowbank plowed in front of the road entrance. The road would often be clear for several miles other than that. I asked the forest service and DOT about the snowbank, and if I remember correctly they said it was more of just a convenient place to put the snow. They said it was fine for me to go and shovel it out and drive over it, which I did a few times. Even if the snowbank isn't an issue anymore, getting some plowing up that road would be absolutely amazing.

It'd be great to get the paradise gate unlocked a few hours earlier in the morning, and maybe stay open later at night.

Twin sisters road (from the northern side). I know this is more of an issue with the logging company than a governmental agency. However, Having that road open would open up a pretty incredible area for skiing and other recreational opportunities.

It'd be cool to have the west side of HWY 20 gated higher up. Probably fairly unfeasible due to avalanche danger and other reasons. However, it'd be pretty rad to have snowmobile access to Washington Pass similar to what the east side has.

Colchuck lake road.


Louis,

Thanks for laying out a sweet "wish list." Many of these areas are on our radar already.

From north to south:

Twin lakes and Skyline divide road are our main priorities on the 542 corridor. The local sled groups feel similarly, and we are trying hard to get the attention and engagement of the FS and hopefully the DOT. If you're interested in supporting this project, send an email to Erin Uloth, the District Ranger for the area, at euloth@fs.fed.us. I'd welcome any users here reaching out to her and letting her know that you use these areas and access there is important to you. I would say that these roads are probably the most likely places for us to change the status quo, maybe in the entire state.

Twin sisters road I will look into a bit more, I am familiar with the area but we hadn't put it on our list yet.

West Side highway 20 is unfeasible to due to avalanche hazard- it has actually been moved further west in some years due to avalanche and rockslide hazard.

Cascade River road: We (the various CBA founders) have also spent much time walking on this dry road. Basically, the park doesn't have the resources to even closely monitor it, much less plow it, so it is often arbitrarily closed. This is extremely frustrating, and we are hopeful we can make some headway on this road in particular because of the incredible nature of the terrain up there. It is an underutilized resource for sure. Odds are this will be a long, uphill battle involving high-level funding problems, which is depressing.

Colchuck lake rd: I walked this entire road, dry, the day before it opened last spring. Brutal timing. We met a FS crew that had driven up there and talked to them about the road a bit. Apparently opening that road is bureaucratically very dense- I think local law enforcement is involved, many papers have to get signed, etc. We are planning to weed into that thicket a bit more next spring, as I think winter plowing of this road is threatened by avalanches and a huge long shot. Expediting the opening, or moving up the gate to temporary higher spots as the snow melts, would be more of a priority here.

MRNP roads: Again, lack of funding and resources at a high level. Right now, we really are hopeful to just get some better information out there about the state of these roads. It is often unclear which gates are locked and which are not. hopefully more to come on this soon.

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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #37 on: 12/08/17, 12:09 PM »

All of the areas that you mention are already accessible, and have been for years, by snowmachine, or walking. The problem is not lack of access points. The problem is soft backcountry users.

If you are trying to start a backcountry alliance, that means making a voice for skiers, and splitboarders, and bootpackers, and snowshoers, and xc skiers, and snowmobilers, not just the lycra clad rando community of guides. WWA is an inclusive voice for all winter land users, not just the high-brow seattalites that want access for their 2 days off work from amazon. Start hiking earlier, stay out later, quit your job. All of these solve the problem of getting to places you can already get too.

-Twin lakes road crosses incredible slide paths. That is why it is closed by the DOT. If your alliance 'opens' that blockade and someone dies, it would be libel

-Skyline rd is already accessible to within a few miles of the TH all winter, get there earlier

-All of your other goals are trivial and unrealistic. You are addressing the problem of overpopulation in the ski community by outsourcing the problems rather looking at the source

How about access off the mountain loop? That whole highway pass gets shut down and is way closer to all of the arc'teryx techies crowding every mountain pass and dead end road. What about those gates? What about access off the newly paved m. fk snoqualmie?

Or just buy a $500 snowmobile and $500 truck to carry it and get out there, like everyone who enjoys the areas you are trying to ruin already does.
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #38 on: 12/08/17, 12:43 PM »

NB: I'm not involved with the CBA.

How about access off the mountain loop? That whole highway pass gets shut down and is way closer to all of the arc'teryx techies crowding every mountain pass and dead end road. What about those gates? What about access off the newly paved m. fk snoqualmie?

Aha -- herein lie some shared goals among essentially all recreationalists.  For the Middle Fork, we're gonna need a lot more lowland snow.

Regarding the winter-user population growth: I don't think anyone can stop that, nor would we want to. Every winter traveler, sled, ski, or snowshoe, is someone who will vote to keep our mountains and forests undeveloped. We all feel the pressure of increased use across the Cascades, even in hidden stashes. Federal and state lands are everyone's, including each of us.

A lot of us would love to have the time to spend making multi-day jaunts deep into the Cascades, but it's also good to be able to put food on the table and spend time with our families. Indeed, the only reason I don't do more multi-day trips is the simple fact that I like my job. There are a lot of very "hard" skiers who can't free up enough time to fully utilize their skill, talent, and fitness.

If every ski-touring Seattleite turned up at a trailhead with a snowmobile and a trailer, snowmo access issues would be far, far worse, Parking in Sno-Parks would be impossible.

Crowding is becoming a safety issue of its own. The impact of density grows like the number of interactions, which is roughly the square of the number of people. It is starting to impact skiers and snowmobilers alike, as seen in the Hawkins Mountain accident, the Baker near miss, and the Kendall Peak accident.  One of the several ways to mitigate that hazard is simply to spread people out.

Thanks for being fired up about access. I think all of us are.
« Last Edit: 12/08/17, 12:49 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged

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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #39 on: 12/09/17, 02:21 PM »

Expect passive aggressive like calling you whiny (sp?) or saying you are not being cool..not fun.. ...
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #40 on: 12/09/17, 03:07 PM »

Not saying you are being p.a.
..
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #41 on: 12/09/17, 06:09 PM »

CBAlliance,
First off thanks for stepping up to try and build a collective voice to support access to our mountains.  I am for this completely and am willing to assist with my time, energy, and money.
It seems to me that your view of the permit holder's ability to restrict access is much more liberal than mine.

I'm curious how you interpret the following language of the SUP:

E. Nonexclusive Use. This permit is not exclusive. The Forest Service reserves the right to use or permit others to use any part of the permitted area for any purpose, provided such use does not materially interfere with the rights and privileges hereby authorized.
F. Area Access. Except for any restrictions as the holder and the authorized officer may agree to be necessary to protect the installation and operation of authorized structures and developments, the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes. To facilitate public use of this area, all existing roads or roads as may be constructed by the holder, shall remain open to the public, except for roads as may be closed by joint agreement of the holder and the authorized officer.

And from "Additional Seasonal and Year-Round Recreation Activities at Ski Areas" 2343.11, specifically the part about season long closures being inappropriate, which is what Crystal Mt. Policy specifically states.


6.  Ensure that holder operations comply with Forest Service regulations (36 CFR 251.55(b)) and permit terms and conditions for non-exclusive use and that the ski area remains open to the non-paying public for all lawful uses that are not inconsistent with the holder‚Äôs rights and privileges and public safety.  Document in the operating plan authorized restrictions on use by the non-paying public, and require the holder to post these restrictions in locations where they would be effective in informing the public, for example, on the ski area‚Äôs website and on site at a primary entrance or public information facility.  In most cases, it would not be appropriate for restrictions to preclude all public use during the ski season other than by those purchasing a lift ticket or paying for other services.
Thanks,
-Kneel
« Last Edit: 12/10/17, 10:19 AM by kneel turner » Logged

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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #42 on: 12/12/17, 09:41 AM »

"the ski area remains open to the non-paying public for all lawful uses that are not inconsistent with the holder’s rights and privileges and public safety."

Kneel,

Thanks for your support and encouragement. It means a lot. I am not a lawyer, so I don't want to say I am an absolute authority on these things. However, I think you are getting at the broad provisions for other use that affect the ski area, and wondering how they are able to regulate their terrain so tightly. I believe that the sentence above is the key point here- the permit holder does have rights and privileges, as well as a mandate to maintain public safety. This is all theoretical. I think the practical point is that ski areas absolutely have the right to close areas to travel when they have safety concerns. If they are doing avalanche control work, which they have a right to, and some unwitting traveller gets hurt, that's on the ski area. So they close it.

I acknowledge there are all sorts of things that occur in the name of "public safety" that are weak facades for access restrictions. I don't think the public safety concerns of ski areas fall into the realm of hand-waving bureaucracy. I think they are very real, and worth respecting.

Again, thanks for your input. If you feel you have a significantly different interpretation of the language you posted, I'd be curious, but I think we are probably both speculating here until we get a lawyer on the line.

Thanks,
Conrad
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #43 on: 12/12/17, 10:12 AM »


For example the Okanagan- Wenatchee National Forest just had a comment period concerning the renewal for a number of Outfitter permits including issuing  new 10-year permits to North Cascade heli ski and North Cascade Mountain guides.

I would be interested to know how the CB Alliance responded to that specific recent scoping letter detailing current special-use permit plans.

CBA the fact that you didn't respond to my contention that your organization is set up to accommodate commercial use interests, I believe serves to confirm that fact.

 I'm not sure that your Puppet Masters are going to let you respond to any of my posts.


 One of the biggest safety issues in the mountains these days are guides killing clients and themselves.

It's no secret around these parts that I have an ongoing advocacy concerning transparency, accountability and safety measures to mitigate the impact of commercial use on, well everyone else.

 And yet you remain silent on these issues, why?

Hi,

I didn't respond to you because I'm really pretty baffled about what you want me to say. It's not the mind-control drugs of my lizard-people overlords. From my perspective, some people were having a nice discussion in a room, and you barged in to insult and heckle me, and then shout about your own concerns.

I understand you think that guides are regularly either killing clients or nearly so, and then lying about it. Other than to tell you it makes me feel bad that someone would think I am an insane egomaniac, I'm not sure how to change your mind on this. You would think I am merely lying to serve my own purposes, and that the statistics don't reflect reality. I strongly encourage you to start a thread about this. Or, form your own nonprofit. There are many places in which you are welcome to lead your own discussion and espouse that viewpoint. I'm not going to discuss or debate it here with you. Our mission is not to make the backcountry safe per se. Rather, we'd like to make it easier for people to spread out (something that might be useful if you feel other parties are a hazard), and help people who are going to crowded areas have a better experience (something that civility plays a large part in).

If you can refrain from openly disparaging my profession and me (I have no interest in insulting carpenters), then I would love to have a civil discussion about the concerns you have raised. If you feel that anyone involved with the ski industry should not be involved in the CBA, I'm going to suggest to you that a)people who like skiing and are passionate about the outdoors often end up in the outdoor industry and b) repeat what I said earlier: "We do not represent the interests of any of these institutions as the CBA. We are all avid recreational skiers who want to help address the needs of the recreational community. While obviously the industry benefits from more skiers and more backcountry users, the point is that we as recreationalists have a political voice- for-profit entities already have the means and resources to advocate for themselves."

If you're unwilling to take that statement at face value, I'm not sure what else to tell you. Maybe you could come meet and talk to some of us in person, and you would be less conspiracy-minded or vitriolic towards us. It seems pretty easy to insult and dismiss people from behind a keyboard.

Let me invite you to make some relevant points:

What input would you like us to have on the scoping process happening in Okanogan-Wenatchee NF right now?

Do you think that the mere existence of for-profit entities on public lands is philosophically problematic? Should we take some sort of stand on this issue?

Do you think individual action is always more politically ideal, or would you consider that not everyone with shared interests always has the time to advocate for every single thing they believe in on an individual level?

Thanks,
Conrad

P.S. I appreciate you posting the uphill travel policy for loup-loup, and I will add it to our website as well.

 
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samthaman
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #44 on: 12/13/17, 04:20 PM »

It's kind of like an oil industry Insider who is appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency who touts the benifits to the people of piping tar sand oil underneath the Missouri River, when the reality is that the benefit is to the person who owns the pipeline.

Strawman much?

To your earlier point: yes forums are like town hall meetings. You seem to be filling the role of the angry crank who shows up to every meeting to shout people down while not offering anything constructive.
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Good2Go
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #45 on: 12/13/17, 05:26 PM »

Freeski's post reminded me of another good wish list access spot. It would be great if the CBA could convince the DOT to plow Hwy 20 from Mazama to the Cutthroat Creek turnoff all winter long.  I don't think there are any avy paths that cross the highway between those points, so it would just be a cost issue.  Maybe we could crowd source the funds for an "experimental" season of plowing?  It would provide everyday access to such local favorites as Delancey Ridge, Shangrila and all of the the fantastic skiing around Cutthroat.  It would also facilitate day trip human powered access to Silverstar, the Wine Spires and even Washington Pass.
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #46 on: 12/13/17, 05:59 PM »

Freeski's post reminded me of another good wish list access spot. It would be great if the CBA could convince the DOT to plow Hwy 20 from Mazama to the Cutthroat Creek turnoff all winter long.  I don't think there are any avy paths that cross the highway between those points, so it would just be a cost issue.  Maybe we could crowd source the funds for an "experimental" season of plowing?  It would provide everyday access to such local favorites as Delancey Ridge, Shangrila and all of the the fantastic skiing around Cutthroat.  It would also facilitate day trip human powered access to Silverstar, the Wine Spires and even Washington Pass.

A local told me that this is already going to happen this year? That's all rumor, if someone has more concrete info please let us know.
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swaterfall
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #47 on: 12/13/17, 09:52 PM »

Excessive or highly repetitive "ranting" or "venting" post will not be tolerated and may be deleted without notice.
As a member of this community you agree to post relevant topics.
As much as possible, your topics should be backed by facts, photographs or URL's where additional information can be found.
Excessive posting on similar topics, or excessively "calling out" others in this community are actions that are likely to have your posts or your membership deleted.
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rlsg
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #48 on: 12/14/17, 08:51 AM »

Now let's be niceūüėč
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samthaman
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #49 on: 12/14/17, 11:24 AM »

and you seem to be filling the role of the a******

don't like the argument?  fall back on ad hominem! (yes, I did also, so don't call me a hypocrite).

To be clear, I'm trying to help create space for a serious discussion between reasonable people. IMO your unhinged conspiratorial arguments drive people away from the discussion and the site in general. You clearly care about access and related issues, so why not allow for the possibility that someone who has devoted a lot of unpaid time to the issue might not be working for "big outdoor"?
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Beardedclam
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #50 on: 01/03/18, 07:56 PM »

Of course some commercial guide is going to be against snowmo only access. The access is already there, perhaps if you want to drive your prius/subaru to every trailhead, move to SLC and go guide there. Or the front range, plenty of access. It would be good if more soft backcountry users left.

Ubering from amazontown to rei to pick up your arc'teryx for a trip then taking the light rail to snoqualmie isn't an option? Deal with it. Buy a snowmobile. Hike further. Take your sierra club pandering elsewhere.

I missed that quote from earlier about guides nearly killing clients and then lying about it. How many have you almost killed?
« Last Edit: 01/03/18, 09:15 PM by Beardedclam » Logged
snoqpass
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #51 on: 01/04/18, 07:01 PM »

Keep up the good work CBA
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samthaman
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #52 on: 01/05/18, 02:16 PM »

Of course some commercial guide is going to be against snowmo only access. The access is already there, perhaps if you want to drive your prius/subaru to every trailhead, move to SLC and go guide there. Or the front range, plenty of access. It would be good if more soft backcountry users left.

Ubering from amazontown to rei to pick up your arc'teryx for a trip then taking the light rail to snoqualmie isn't an option? Deal with it. Buy a snowmobile. Hike further. Take your sierra club pandering elsewhere.

I missed that quote from earlier about guides nearly killing clients and then lying about it. How many have you almost killed?

I totally agree with your one point where you encouraged everyone to get snowmobiles! Everyone knows a REAL cascade hardman drives a snowmobile, not a cowardly little foreign car. If i'm not mistaken, most of Fred Beckeys first ascents involved a snowmobile approach up a logging road, and everyone knows he NEVER simply parked his car at a trailhead and started hiking. I did hear that he rode in a helicopter a few times in Alaska though, so I'm unclear on how that plays into his hardmanly-ness. Please advise on that distinction. 

I'm slightly unclear on your other point though: since everyone in Seattle is super rich and will now be buying snowmobiles to access skiing(per your recommendation), do you think it might lead to more people skiing your stash?  I'm worried that the people that already snowmobile might get frustrated when they encounter all the new snowmobile owners riding in spots they've ridden for years. I know that crowded parking at snow parks has NEVER been an issue, so even though my gut tells me to advocate for more parking to spread people out , I've now learned (thanks to your salient points above) that things are perfect as they are and must never change. The more experienced sled skiers that don't like the new crowding will surely be amenable to your solution of simply uprooting their lives and moving out of state. I bet Alaska isn't too crowded yet, but maybe you have a better place in mind?

Thank you for your thoughtful and considered response earlier, it really helped get this discussion back on track.

BTW, are you still selling those arc'teryx jackets you had listed over on TGR? Was it too late to just return them to REI? https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/314039-BNIB-Arc-teryx-Mens-Cerium-LT-XL-Womens-Nuri-L-both-Charcoal-color

« Last Edit: 01/05/18, 02:58 PM by samthaman » Logged
samthaman
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #53 on: 01/05/18, 02:39 PM »

When you move access directly into avalanche terrain you invite unsuspecting users to exposing themselves to the unforeseen hazards , usually nordic skiers and snowshoers , fatbikers ,etc. with no rescue equipment or knowledge of the mountain environment. Therefor you are raising the number of people out there who unwittingly become a liability and not an asset to others. X

Finally, someone is willing to advocate for the safety of helpless snowshoers and nordic skiers! Though I'm sure it bothers you that they haven't yet thanked you for the work you do, your handle indicates that you understand that, like a skiing Batman, it's best if you remain anonymous. Take a bow hero, though no-one can know your name, tales of your good deeds will surely be handed down through the ages.
« Last Edit: 01/05/18, 07:52 PM by samthaman » Logged
Beardedclam
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #54 on: 01/06/18, 06:59 PM »

To be clear, I'm trying to help create space for a serious discussion between reasonable people.
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kamtron
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #55 on: 01/13/18, 01:59 PM »

Heli-free, you might find a better audience for these rants on 4chan

Keep up the good work, CBA
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Jim Oker
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #56 on: 01/13/18, 05:04 PM »

Hey CBAlliance - thanks for  reaching out to  the  community here and giving us a chance to have input. Like a few others  here, I find myself questioning the choices for  priorities  on the  "plowing" part  of  your projects  plan.

Frankly while I think it's great and  important to have some organized effort on  access hereabouts, I'm  finding it hard to get excited about pitching in given those  stated priorities. It might help me if I could see a little past them - for instance could you  share any sort of  "grading rubric" you  used for stack ranking the great many possible "plowing" projects one could imagine in  our region? I  think it might be  quite  helpful  to expose that  and have a robust community discussion  about it, which would also let folks like me think  out what  additional ideas to contribute along with deciding whether we want to  contribute more  in terms  of time and energy toward your mission. I don't think this would need  to be a time-consuming thing for you to put out there, assuming you guys did have some method to how you  winnowed to your current  list.
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #57 on: 01/13/18, 06:39 PM »

Hey CBAlliance - thanks for  reaching out to  the  community here and giving us a chance to have input. Like a few others  here, I find myself questioning the choices for  priorities  on the  "plowing" part  of  your projects  plan.

Frankly while I think it's great and  important to have some organized effort on  access hereabouts, I'm  finding it hard to get excited about pitching in given those  stated priorities. It might help me if I could see a little past them - for instance could you  share any sort of  "grading rubric" you  used for stack ranking the great many possible "plowing" projects one could imagine in  our region? I  think it might be  quite  helpful  to expose that  and have a robust community discussion  about it, which would also let folks like me think  out what  additional ideas to contribute along with deciding whether we want to  contribute more  in terms  of time and energy toward your mission. I don't think this would need  to be a time-consuming thing for you to put out there, assuming you guys did have some method to how you  winnowed to your current  list.


Hi Jim,

Thanks for your response. Let me say right up front that there's no formula here. I wish we had one- I'd share it in a second! We lack the resources to even put together data. I understand that the project selection seems a little haphazard, and that is in large part because we are really shooting for things that are feasible and that we have resources and connections to maybe make happen. I will acknowledge that there isn't one obvious project for us to be throwing all our time and money at, such as the Hurricane Ridge road in Olympic NP. So, what's the point? And why the current plowing priorities, which are Twin Lakes/Skyline on 542 and the Kendall/Commonwealth TH?

Our plowing priorities are based on reducing pressure on the two most heavily accessed backcountry areas (anecdotally), which are Snoqualmie Pass and Mt. Baker. Lot 4 at Alpental and the Table Mountain/Bagley Lakes area are under huge pressure from backcountry users. These areas face the greatest potential user conflicts, present the largest issues to resorts, and also frankly just offer a crowded scene that bums everyone out. You can read flowingalpy's dispatches from the front, if you want. Steven's Pass also obviously has issues,* but to my point above has far fewer plowing-related solutions. But to make it simple: where there are too many people trying to go to the exact same place through resort infrastructure, they need to have options to spread out. Otherwise, we stand to lose access as resorts become fed up. We can either argue amongst ourselves about the theoretical legality of these losses (e.g. Crystal), or we can try and do something productive about it. Plowing is a thing we can do.

So, let's say you're not too thrilled about these plowing projects because you feel they don't represent a great way for the BC community to access anything cool. As you might have read, many people feel that the huddled masses (or just insert some insults for whatever group you don't like) should continue to plague the easy front country, while they ski their secret stash in relative peace. To that point, I would say that making access more straightforward or plowing a part of a road for parking just ups the standard. There's plenty of places to go out there (as in, millions of acres), and no one is stopping you from walking farther. The "don't blow up the spot" debate has been hashed to death. It happens every time a guidebook comes out, or someone posts a TR of a "stash," ad nauseum. If we start to lose access to places, no one will be there at the TH to check whether you are a super-rad local or not. We will simply be banned. With that said, many places that people are dreaming of getting to are low on the feasibility scale. That's not to say we will never try. It's just that it's hard and we'd rather start with some easier wins and establish good relationships so that we can then go push on agencies for bigger goals that we all might share.

We have talked about putting out a poll to folks to see what they are most interested in, which would provide the objective process you're looking for. We might still do that in some form in the future to help determine what these next steps for plowing might be.

Honestly, I think it's more transparent and fairly useful right now to just have a discussion about it. Maybe I will compile a list of ideas and shape that into a poll. I'd still like people to have space to question the premise. Plenty of people have spoken up about their priorities. What do YOU want to have plowed? Nothing? A berm in front of every skiing house in Seattle? A road to the top of Rainier? Let's hear it.

-Conrad

*If any of you have particular concerns about Stevens, feel free to message Rowan Stewart directly.
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flowing alpy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #58 on: 01/14/18, 05:05 AM »

there are rules for parking at the source lake dog park trail head
that are not being followed nor enforced. security clean up in LoT4
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alecapone
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #59 on: 01/14/18, 07:20 AM »

Is there more then one Rowan Stewart? I just hung out with him at Stevens over new years, and he made no mention of being involved.

I have suggestions, but most are providing more day and overnight parking.
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scott
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #60 on: 01/15/18, 06:00 AM »

LoT4 paid parking should be mandatory on weekends.
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flowing alpy
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #61 on: 01/15/18, 12:07 PM »

what does the local health authority have to say concerning this obvious health concern? What does the local water authority say?
Well that’s a good question that i’m afraid will not be answered,
concerning the most shithole parcel of land in the Alpental Valley.

to combat the poop accumulation
i’ve considered tossing em to LoT3
there are ZERO waste receptacles
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Jason4
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #62 on: 01/17/18, 09:29 AM »

Thanks Conrad for continuing to engage the community publicly!

As a long time Baker local I have seen the massive growth in backcountry use in the Bagley Bowl area.  I fluctuate between distress at the crowding and pride in the local community when I see a dozen tracks in the NW Coulior on Shuksan.  Either way, more people are getting after it and we have less access points.  This last Sunday was a prime example, I took 3 runs in the ski area and had to go home because I was too stressed out about the crowds.

Based on my interactions with CBA they seem to respond well to reasonable input.  I suggested improving human powered access to Twin Lakes and Skyline Divide even though I have a sled and can get to those two places easily enough when I want to.  They started a conversation with our local FS land manager and I don't expect much to happen this winter but it's proceeding better than I expected with the FS.  Maybe next year we'll have reasonable access on skis outside of the ski area.

It's only going to be a good thing to spread people out.  More rad lines will get skied, it'll push our sport a little further, and a new secret stash will be discovered 30 minutes further out than the last one that is now a named run in a guide book.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #63 on: 01/17/18, 01:03 PM »

Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my query. To be clear, I'm not looking for a "formula." The sort  of "grading rubric"  I'm thinking of is more along  the  lines of a way of making  goals clear to  a group  of people. IME this is very useful to do  well at the start of this sort of venture, or else you'll  have people talking at cross purposes w/o really knowing why. Better to be able to say "that project idea doesn't do  nearly  as well on fulfilling  goals #1 and 2 than these  others on our idea list, but is there  some other important goal that you  think we're missing that your suggestion hits on, or do you  think we're wrong that  it  wouldn't meet these goals as well as those other  projects?"

And yes, talking it out is good - that's exactly what I tried to suggest.

What I infer from your reply is that you have some goals that could be used for at least roughly ranking plowing project ideas that are along  the lines  of the following:
1) will provide handy parking to a big population  of  skiers
2) will provide access to a significant amount of desirable touring  terrain, allowing a fair number of skiers to  coexist as happily as can be reasonably hoped for (no one can cure surfer-like localism so that shouldn't be a goal)
3) is a feasible project - e.g. doesn't require major $$$ or lengthy enviro reviews or so forth. This may be eased over time but it's important to start  with some  lower-hanging fruit to  gain  some "wins" early on

I¬† also see that you are putting¬† a focus on¬† relieving potential conflicts¬† at ski areas around both parking and¬† sidecountry access from¬† parking and the lease areas. I didn't list this¬† as I'm not sold yet¬† that¬† it¬† should be¬† a goal in and of itself. I think that¬† succeeding on¬† the¬† 3 goals I listed is¬† sufficient; if this¬† happens to¬† yield projects that¬† relieve some potential¬† conflict, great. But¬† the win should be succeeding at increasing access to good terrain¬† for significant population(s) of skiers. By the same token, I'd be wary of using the fact that¬† many skiers go to¬† Baker and¬† Alpental to start tours as an¬† indicator of where the¬† best projects¬† might lie, unless in fact you¬† do¬† want an explicit goal¬† about¬† reducing ski¬† area conflicts¬† (at which¬† point I'd love to¬† know¬† more about why this should be an explicit¬† goal - hence my wish for discussion¬† about such a¬† goals list!). E.g. I'd want to¬† know that potential Highway 2 projects and notions  like  expanded plowing along the road by  gold creek or opening up other parking a little  further east along the highway have been¬† properly ranked on¬† these sorts of goals versus the Commonwealth lot (particularly given that, as of now, tourers are successfully parking at both Summit West and Alpental¬† to access Source/Snow/Commonwealth/Kendall/Etc. - but if you¬† have some inside knowledge that¬† this¬† is¬† at serious risk, versus just being concerned based on trends elsewhere, now might be a good time to¬† share that fact; or if you¬† have a goal around "scoring points" with¬† ski area management in¬† hopes of maintaining parking and¬† sidecountry access via a good relationship, it would also¬† be good to¬† articulate that as a clear goal to¬† any community you¬† want to¬† engage for their energy,¬† ideas, or $$!!).

I could type more, but perhaps this will  give you a  better  idea of what  I was driving at. I'd love to  see some good community discussion  about such a goals list, and see you  guys take a stand on  what will ultimately be the definitive list (at least for the next while...). As a project manager who  had to harness the energies of large groups  with  divergent motivations for  multiple decades, I've  learned that  this  bit of crucial foundation-laying will pay good dividends later, even though  at the  outset it may  seem to  be a "process thing" that  distracts from just getting some good work done.

Oh, and yeah. I've seen the mounting gripes about Alpy upper lot and Baker parking  and sidecountry shenanigans. Again, if relieving those issues is a primary goal of yours, it would be great  to  make that explicit and have a community discussion  about the perceived merits of that as a goal. For my  part I'd rather see the focus on  gaining new access to significant terrain for lots  of people. My strong hunch is that  no matter how many new lots you plow, the ski area pressure  will remain, given our area's mounting population and the  apparent increase in the % of folks who  are getting out  to hike, snowshoe, and ski tour (and, at least at lot 4, to sled and get the  dog out for a short poop walk), and the relative obviousness of moving into  sidecountry from that ski area you may know so well... I'm reminded of  what urban planners learned about building more highways in  traffic burdened cities back in the sixties - they'll just invite yet more developers to build housing  and thus more  traffic and the roads you  hoped to relieve will be just as bad or worse as a result.


« Last Edit: 01/17/18, 01:14 PM by Jim Oker » Logged
Jason4
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #64 on: 01/18/18, 10:18 AM »

Thanks to Jim and HFNC for pivoting this back to a conversation that might get us somewhere in the near future!

I appreciate hearing the thoughts on the grading rubric as someone who also deals in a professional environment of establishing priorities with competing requests and poorly expressed objectives.
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AlpineRose
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #65 on: 01/30/18, 03:12 PM »

It seems to me the current Jim Hill/Arrowhead access and its problematic  parking situation would be a perfect issue for the newly formed CAB to work on.  Jim Hill has been a traditional ski touring destination for DECADES, before some TAYers were even born.  In my experience, parking was NEVER an issue in the past.   In recent years, WSDOT has started throwing hissy fits about it.  Why now and not before?  A clearly defined and posted policy allowing - not prohibiting - parking by the ventilator station would be a nice accomplishment.

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Jim Hill-ish
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CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #66 on: 01/31/18, 11:03 AM »

It seems to me the current Jim Hill/Arrowhead access and its problematic  parking situation would be a perfect issue for the newly formed CAB to work on.  Jim Hill has been a traditional ski touring destination for DECADES, before some TAYers were even born.  In my experience, parking was NEVER an issue in the past.   In recent years, WSDOT has started throwing hissy fits about it.  Why now and not before?  A clearly defined and posted policy allowing - not prohibiting - parking by the ventilator station would be a nice accomplishment.

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Cross-posted from the other thread:

"Hi All,

I called and spoke to the WSDOT Wenatchee office today. They didn't have a clear or ready answer about this, after getting passed around to a few people. Jere (Jerry? Gerry?), the very nice lady who answered the phone is doing more research and will hopefully get back to me shortly. I will pass that on as soon as I hear something more. I think Clevo is basically right in what he says but it would be much better to hear it from the DOT and have a map or a stated policy.

Others have brought up this issue to us already, and we are well aware of the problem. Here's our understanding of the situation: The DOT, not unreasonably, sees Highway 2 as a transportation corridor that they are mandated to keep open and safe. Unfortunately, they also see people parking on or near the side of the highway as a threat to this mission. Parking in general along the highway 2 corridor is a big can of worms, especially with the resort. Our hope is that as we establish a better relationship with the resort, we can lean on the DOT together to create better alternatives.

The current situation of total ambiguity benefits no one, and we will keep hounding the DOT until they at least present some sort of policy or concrete information to help people. If we can work from there to make a good-faith effort to follow these rules, we will have more leverage to change them.

-Conrad"
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Micah
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #67 on: 02/02/18, 10:19 AM »

is the following sentence something you were told by the WSDOT or something you made up.

"Unfortunately, they also see people parking on or near the side of the highway as a threat to this mission."

Conrad states clearly "here's our understanding of the situation," making it obvious that he is relaying an impression he got from his phone conversation. I'm happy to have this information even if it is secondhand and even if you haven't endorsed his source. If you have a better source at WSDOT that can give a more definitive, please check with them and relay back here what you find.

I take issue with the confrontational tone you've taken with CBA. We all understand that you harbor animosity, but your criticisms of CBA are not relevant  to this discussion. At the very least you should acknowledge that Conrad's call to WSDOT was a timely gesture to address a long-standing conflict that involves almost exclusively private skiers.
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Micah
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #68 on: 02/02/18, 09:33 PM »

You can read the terms of use here. It is not OK to imply you are a serial killer. Likewise, it is not OK for you to use TAY as a forum to repeatedly impugn folks that have somehow crossed you. I appreciate your anti-commericalisim message (sincerely). I don't appreciate your personal attacks. Charles created TAY as a community, and your strident behavior is harshing our mellow. Please chill out.
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BCSchonwald
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #69 on: 02/03/18, 06:56 PM »

 
Sometimes timely jesters are just that. Especially when it involves a political organization that springs forth from commercial backing with a prime interest in public land.
Most Jesters have poor timing so they are just that.

I've asked for transparency and those transparency questions have not been answered and that makes me suspect. Yeah maybe I was a bit rude about it but I respond emotionally. It's that passion that drives my reason.

 One thing that I've tried to convey to Backcountry skiers who occupy this¬† site, is that they are free to contact and pursue public Authority on issues that directly affect them.

I do get it. You're trying to run a business here and my constant questioning of commercial interest in public land maybe upsetting some of your sponsorship, possibly including those who directly employ  members of the CBA.

 So you'll have to excuse me if I think there needs to be one place on this planet ( Nature's natural wonders) where I can get away from the commercial interest agenda.


My question with your issue with commercial interest on public lands is what about all the people that willing seek out these businesses for their services to access nature? Are they driven by commercial interest? What drives them to seek guidance? How will they find the services to access these natural landscapes safely if no one provides what they need or are willing to pay for?

Your assault on the CBA for being a tool for guide services needs facts, seems like a feeling and not actual data.

Also since when is a non-profit a business? Again needs facts to substantiate this claim.

Is transparency a judgement call based on your satisfaction with the answer or just the exchange of information? How will we know when your level of transparency is achieved?
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Jim Oker
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #70 on: 02/05/18, 12:05 AM »

Curious if any of the CBA folks, or anyone else for¬† that matter,¬† has thoughts¬† with respect¬† to the goals I tried to reverse engineer out of what I've read from CBA so far (i.e. do they seem right, is something missing,¬† would you¬† replace any¬† or all of them...?). Call¬† it¬† transparency if you like, but whatever you¬† call¬† it, having clarity on goals may help enlist energy and maybe even $ from the community. Not having them may breed one or another type of lack of trust (whether about intentions or about competency to choose projects well, or about likelihood of project choices aligning sufficiently with one's own hopes and¬† goals). Trust,  particularly among people who  don't know each other,  is typically earned  through good communication and some sense of being  "in  it for the same things."
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #71 on: 02/05/18, 07:19 AM »

My impression is that CBA is doing a lot of the right things. It's hard to get an organization off the ground, but every step taken has been in a positive direction.

I'll be excited to chip in when the Donate link goes live, and excited to chip in again when the bylaws and finances are public.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #72 on: 02/05/18, 09:14 AM »

To be clear, I agree with everything Charlie wrote in the first paragraph of that last post.

And I might even make this group  a target  for a slice of my yearly donations, as I've done for over two  decades running with a  local hiking access oriented non-profit organization (which  is the  subject of ongoing attacks on both intentions and results from  some  members of the hiking community - I think this  is inevitable for such  a group). But frankly here I differ from Charlie - I won't do so before I see some effort to better clarify goals and non-goals for their project work. And I honestly  don't believe it would be heavy lifting or very time consuming. I  think that  in well  under a  half hour one or more of them could  take a very good stab at that right now (I bet it will take less time than  making that donation  link go live  Wink ). If the group is not clear enough on their goals now to do it in ten minutes, the extra twenty (or so) would  be time well  spent for  all of them, even for the benefit of their own efforts (aside from  engaging folks  like me). For my part, based on having watched many group efforts either succeed or fail,  I see this  as an important piece of foundational  work that would  build my confidence that this group has a shot at using my $ well, and  in ways  that I'd like to  see it used.  And depending  on the need (which would of course also have  to be  clearly  articulated), I might also  be game to kick in  time.

I'm willing to put my time where  my typing fingers are - if you want some help articulating your goals, I'd be up for coming to  meet with your crew  to facilitate a discussion with the aim of producing such a list  to  be used internally and shared  publicly.  FWIW I have been fairly well  paid for doing such work (among other  things), and have  also very recently helped to guide such a process as a member of a volunteer board of an "adventure education" non-profit which just went through a periodic revision and renewal of its overall  strategy  (this non-profit company has been a leader in "adventure-based learning" for over 40 years and understands how important this foundational effort  is). If you have any interest, PM me and we can discuss  how long a meeting  might be worthwhile toward this end.
« Last Edit: 02/05/18, 10:51 AM by Jim Oker » Logged
CBAlliance
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #73 on: 02/05/18, 04:37 PM »

To be clear, I agree with everything Charlie wrote in the first paragraph of that last post.

And I might even make this group  a target  for a slice of my yearly donations, as I've done for over two  decades running with a  local hiking access oriented non-profit organization (which  is the  subject of ongoing attacks on both intentions and results from  some  members of the hiking community - I think this  is inevitable for such  a group). But frankly here I differ from Charlie - I won't do so before I see some effort to better clarify goals and non-goals for their project work. And I honestly  don't believe it would be heavy lifting or very time consuming. I  think that  in well  under a  half hour one or more of them could  take a very good stab at that right now (I bet it will take less time than  making that donation  link go live  Wink ). If the group is not clear enough on their goals now to do it in ten minutes, the extra twenty (or so) would  be time well  spent for  all of them, even for the benefit of their own efforts (aside from  engaging folks  like me). For my part, based on having watched many group efforts either succeed or fail,  I see this  as an important piece of foundational  work that would  build my confidence that this group has a shot at using my $ well, and  in ways  that I'd like to  see it used.  And depending  on the need (which would of course also have  to be  clearly  articulated), I might also  be game to kick in  time.

I'm willing to put my time where  my typing fingers are - if you want some help articulating your goals, I'd be up for coming to  meet with your crew  to facilitate a discussion with the aim of producing such a list  to  be used internally and shared  publicly.  FWIW I have been fairly well  paid for doing such work (among other  things), and have  also very recently helped to guide such a process as a member of a volunteer board of an "adventure education" non-profit which just went through a periodic revision and renewal of its overall  strategy  (this non-profit company has been a leader in "adventure-based learning" for over 40 years and understands how important this foundational effort  is). If you have any interest, PM me and we can discuss  how long a meeting  might be worthwhile toward this end.


Jim,

I think we would have some interest in this but I also think we are talking past each other a little bit, which is easy to do over the internet. You might want to have a look at our "projects" page here, which I think pretty clearly states the goals we have. I'll quote here for the click-averse:

STEP 1: improve the user experience at heavily trafficked backcountry access points.
-Encourage mutual respect and community by promoting some basic backcountry etiquette provisions.
-Maintain a good relationship with resorts, and make the business case for uphill travelers using resort resources.
-Limit the number of cars that take up resort parking, and advocate for and expand carpooling options.
-Help shape resort infrastructure to limit user conflict.

STEP 2: distribute the impact of backcountry users to different areas.
-Plow additional trailheads and roads.
-Improve community knowledge about what access points are available and what resources they can use to explore new areas.
-Present a united political voice to government agencies during planning processes.

Perhaps this page should be re-labeled, as I see the distinction you are making between projects and goals. Goals attempt to complete the mission, projects attempt to complete the goals. I appreciate the examples you've provided above of some more specific goals relating to the Kendall plowing project. I would be curious if you have some examples of documented goals from other organizations such as the WTA (or similar) that you could share. It would likely be helpful.

Regarding funding, which sort of ties in to all this: There's a reason we aren't asking for money.
Basically, we have a cart and horse problem. We are trying to get a sense of where the horse will go before we build the cart too elaborately. You all are understandably trying to decide how the cart looks and who is driving it before you hitch your horse up.  The transition out of this initial size-up is sort of happening right now, but it will continue to be messy as we depend on tenuous new relationships and ever-limited resources. We don't want to ask people for funding without projects that have more clearly defined budgets, outcomes, and abilities to meet our stated goals. That IS the reason the funding link isn't live yet. We get the point of doing the background work before we ask people to plunk down the money.

We also get that trust is a big thing in asking for community effort. Our bylaws, articles of incorporation, certificate of incorporation, and fiscal sponsor agreement with WWA are all now published on our website at https://www.cascadebackcountryalliance.org/governance. I'd like to note that this is pretty far beyond what you get with most other nonprofits, including the WCC, WTA, and NWAC.

Once we have a bank account (probably soon), we will start publishing fiscal information. Obviously we currently have a $0 balance.

Regarding your skepticism of our first goal: I don't think your heavily trafficked roads analogy is accurate. The solution to too many cars is fewer cars: better public transportation, carpooling incentives, and infrastructure alternatives. The solution to too many skiers isn't fewer skiers. We can't stop em. It's already an exorbitantly expensive niche sport. And yet the masses show up. We also can't just close i-90. It's a desirable transportation corridor. Similarly, I like skiing in the passes. The terrain is good, the snow is good- I don't think people want to lose that access even if they are willing to look for solitude elsewhere. So yes, we have to make it easier for people to go to different places- but we aren't going to hope that it's the stick of restricted access that drives them there.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #74 on: 02/05/18, 07:29 PM »

We also get that trust is a big thing in asking for community effort. Our bylaws, articles of incorporation, certificate of incorporation, and fiscal sponsor agreement with WWA are all now published on our website at https://www.cascadebackcountryalliance.org/governance. I'd like to note that this is pretty far beyond what you get with most other nonprofits, including the WCC, WTA, and NWAC.

Awesome -- thank you! Perhaps-important PM to follow.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #75 on: 02/06/18, 10:55 AM »

Thanks for the thoughtful  reply "CBA" (sorta wondering what *human* I'm engaging  with... but that's  OK_.

Yes,  those "steps" are a decent start - I may have glazed over them on my first view of your web site because they appeared to be "execution details"  (listed as "steps") rather  than higher level  goals,  from  which "steps" might follow. And they do mush together "goals"  and "action plan" a bit, which I  have  found is not ideal. IMO a really good set of goals would  be relatively concise (particularly  for  a new organization that will  likely have  to  pick and choose carefully  where  to  try to have  impact!!), would be very useful  for ranking competing possible projects (would plowing the PCT  TH be better than expanding the existing  Sno-Park along the road that runs past Gold  Creek, for instance), and would have  some relatively  concise backup explanation  that  helps everyone understand *why* these are the  goals as well as that helps remove some of ambiguity that tends to  be inherent in  one-line goals. And the goals would very clearly telescope into  the  organization's "mission," and reflect its "values." I can look  for some other  examples but may not get  to  it for a week or so. In the meantime, you  could do worse than emulate the  template provided by this "strategic plan" from the WTA (easy to find on  their site,  but for  the type-and-browse averse: https://www.wta.org/our-work/about/our-work/strategic-plan-2015-2020 - also note its location  under "about us"  which is relatively standard). I like the way they give  their overall  vision and mission,  and lay out three clear and concise goals, and then have  a page for  each  goal on which they dive a bit deeper into what they call "objectives"  (I think of them as sub-goals) and some explanation of the thinking behind the  goals.  Very good public format for this sort of strategy plan document. And there's very little there about actual execution plan, but there's enough detail to  be able to infer a fair bit about likely  execution steps. And it looks to  me as if it will  be a very  good tool for prioritizing possible work  streams.

With respect to my traffic analogy, ¬†those ¬†"solutions" ¬†to ¬†too ¬†many cars have almost never reduced the number of cars on any ¬†given road/highway and that's my point. Neither ¬†does building more roads or highways. What ¬†I learned while studying urban planning is that the roads will stay full so ¬†trying to reduce the congestion ¬†there ¬†is a fool's game. ¬†Doesn't mean you ¬†shouldn't do things like build mass transit infrastructure if you want to ¬†allow *yet more* people to ¬†transit through an urban region; but it does mean that reducing congestion on key ¬†roads is rarely a project success ¬†metric (with the exception of certain types of road revisions that resolve heinous and typically archaic designs of things like urban highway interchanges that are dangerous and for which much better designs exist that could fit into roughtly the same footprint; Boston's "Big Dig" was ¬†a good example and relates to our on ¬†viaduct which ¬†is of the ¬†same construction as the road that tunnel replaced - putting ¬†the through-traffic on ¬†a tunneled highway has kept within-city travelers off the road and ¬†on ¬†surface streets so now the ¬†highway ¬†flows much better ¬†through the ¬†city w/o so much on-off traffic). If you ¬†think I'm ¬†advocating ¬†for a strategy that tries to limit numbers or restrict access, we are indeed talking past each other. ¬†I'm simply suggesting that, whatever you ¬†do, recreationalists are STILL going ¬†to park at Lot 4 and over at West (unless and until the ski area implements some sort of restrictive policy which may or may not violate their lease ¬†or tax arrangements). Trying to stop ¬†that through extra lots ¬†will at best offer very transient wins given the continuing and somewhat striking growth ¬†of outdoor recreationalists hereabouts. So if plowing the PCT lot nets more overall ¬†"new ski tourer days" possible on great terrain which ¬†has ¬†capacity for that ¬†load than any of the other ¬†similar-cost options around the Pass area, great. It's number one then. I'm ¬†simply suggesting that proximity ¬†to the ¬†ski ¬†areas shouldn't nudge that project any higher in the rankings (and in ¬†fact, the fact that "access" already exists for that ¬†terrain, one might argue for nudging it downward a bit). I ¬†hope that ¬†helps clarify what I ¬†meant with ¬†that ¬†analogy. And I'd also hope that having opened a ¬†new lot there wouldn't make it *easier* ¬†for ¬†the ¬†ski ¬†area to ¬†start restricting parking access to non-lift-holders (this is coming from ¬†someone who has a seasons pass up ¬†there most seasons, fwiw). Perhaps I'm missing some value to "buidling goodwill with the ski area" but I'd be very wary of overly banking on that for any project that isn't both a "give" and "take"  there, and which wouldn't persist past a change of corporate intention  or ownership.
« Last Edit: 02/06/18, 11:01 AM by Jim Oker » Logged
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Re: Introducing Cascade Backcountry Alliance
« Reply #76 on: 02/12/18, 07:18 PM »

We will be holding our first event on Wednesday, February 21st at Ascent Outdoors in Ballard. If you'd like to show up, make your voice heard, and drink some free beer, we'd love to have ya. Click on the photo to RSVP.


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