Who Plows Your Trailhead?

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 18, 2009      
Backcountry Skiing

Our new sticker from the local snowmobile club helps fund trailhead.

Snowplowing can be fun. Really. Ever tried it? When I was a teenager we lived for a few years in a mountain valley where my dad had to plow a 1/2 mile driveway. He mounted a tiny plow on a Jeep CJ, chained all four corners, and chiseled away at the white stuff with that underpowered truck like a farmer plowing with one mule instead of a team. I remember ride-alongs, snow flying over the roof as the blade bounced over rocks and sparked in the night, me wiping our breath fog off the windshield with a rag I found on the floor. It was great.

Yeah, snowplowing can be fun — in small doses. But what would it be like if we had to plow our own highways every time it stormed, and what about our favorite trailheads? Thankfully, our trail parking gets opened by various entities. Some t-heads here in western Colorado, such as McClure pass, get hit regularly by CDOT plows. Other access zones, such as the Quarry Road out of Marble, receive attention from private concerns (who we should be ever so grateful to and accommodating of). Still others get attention from snowmobilers. In fact, dozens of trailheads throughout our state get maintained by a snowmobile fee program administered by Colorado State Parks. More, our own local snowmobile club (Mt. Sopris Recreational Riders) leases and maintains the Marion Gulch parking area, one of our nicer nearby trailheads.

Paying our snowmobile registration helps fund the state program. But our local club also needs funding for trail and trailhead maintenance. To that end they have a membership and sticker program. Thus, the latest sticker to grace our Silverado’s back window: snowmobile club. It’s a nice sticker, with our iconic Mt. Sopris rising up from the club motto “Respect Protect Enjoy,” surrounded by tiny graphics depicting the mix of outdoor recreation we enjoy around here — including human powered sports.

Yeah, snowmobilers hike too, but my main point? Figure out who maintains your favorite trailheads. Write them a check or at least bake them some cookies — and above all know that it takes all kinds of workers, organizations and backcountry users to keep our access open.


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7 Responses to “Who Plows Your Trailhead?”

  1. Dostie February 18th, 2009 11:27 am

    Indeed. I don’t like the sound or smell of two-stroke smoke but realize I’m indebted to my fellow slednecks for creating some awesome kick-n-glide trails in the woods behind our house. With the usual two foot dumps the Sierra drops on us, XC skiing can be a pain until the trail is set. Snowmobiles do a great job on that.

    Not sure what the snow mobile contribution is on trailhead maintenance here in the land of nuts-n-fruits (California). I do know most bc skiers dislike ’em, although there is a growing endorsement since a lot of bc skiers now use sleds themselves to extend their range of access for day trips.

  2. ThomasB February 18th, 2009 12:03 pm

    can’t see trailhead….too much 2 stroke smoke!

    You could just vote to pay more taxes and have the representative of all the people take care of trailhead maintenance..( sorry just stirring the pot…cynical mood this morning)

  3. ScottP February 18th, 2009 1:41 pm

    A similar relation usually exists between mountain bikers and dirt bikers for trail maintenance. Sure, we’ll head out and do trail maintenance, but it’s a lot harder to haul a chainsaw for downed-tree clearing on a non-motorized machine. I think there’s room for us all to get along.

  4. Ryan Guthrie February 18th, 2009 2:57 pm

    If it is one thing I can’t stand, it is intolerant people.

  5. BillB February 18th, 2009 3:45 pm

    Aren’t these all gong to be taken care of in the stimulus plan?

  6. Lou February 18th, 2009 4:36 pm

    Bill, yes we can, I think it’s in there somewhere.

  7. Pat February 19th, 2009 8:16 am

    You might want to speak your mind and mention this on today’s tetonat. Thanks for being honest even when it isn’t the popular thing to say.

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