Activities this Summer - 2015
The Umatilla National Forest Service, Walla Walla Ranger District are planning a public meeting regarding the Tollgate Fuels Reduction project progress at the Trailfinders clubhouse, Sept. 26.
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2014 - 2015 Season Groomer Reports
March 3rd, 2015
We did not groom at all this month due to warm weather conditions, rain. We did do about 3 hours of maintenance on the snow-cats.
The higher elevation trails still have from 2-4 feet of snow, but there are bare spots on south facing slopes. The snow is hard on the trails, and smooth. We had a little fresh snow this last week which improved the trail conditions.
The lower elevation trails are bare and closed. Ruckle Shelter is closed as there is no snow at that elevation.
Loggers have opened up Balloon Tree road and are logging on the north side of highway 204, and continue to log on the south side from Woodland Snow-Park towards Spout Springs. The snowmobile trail through there is closed.
February 16, 2015
We are still not grooming due to warm conditions. It is freezing at night, but without any new snow it is hard as a rock. One of our groomer drivers went out Saturday on his snowmobile and said trails out towards Bone Springs and Skyline are smooth and hard. The snow does soften up towards Jubilee to Bone Springs, with some new snow out there last week. He reported bare spots around Baldy on both sides as well as on Skyline Road where the sun is shining onto the trail. Depending on where you look, there is 2-4 feet of snow in the high country. At the grooming shed, the snow stake is on bare ground. There is barely enough snow to cover the trail. Up towards Spout to Woodland, the trail has been washed out and a logging operation has moved in to begin thinning trees between Spout and Woodland. The trail is very rutted and unsafe for snowmobiles to use at this time. Consider this trail closed between Spout and Woodland unless we get significant snow to stop the logging operation and fill the water holes. The 4X4s have been using the trail to Ruckle, so expect rutted trails and remember the shelter at Ruckle is locked until we get significant snow. Water has also washed out the elk trail completely, so this trail is not usable at this time, either. Jubilee Rd has some areas where water is eroding the road, so be aware and careful if you are snowmobiling out that direction. Expect water holes anywhere and everywhere as the snow is melting and water is running.
February 7, 2015
It is not a surprise we did not groom this week, as we have had some slushy wet snow the first of the week, and towards the mid-late week, rain and really warm temperatures. I went up Thursday to do some work on the Sno-Cats. We have lost another 6-8 inches of snow, we only have about a foot of snow left at the grooming shed, and it was 45 degrees Thursday. We drove up and checked Spout Springs to Woodland, the trail is starting to wash out at Spout and is washed out between Spout and Woodland. The highway crossing at Woodland has just a tiny bridge left but will be washed out soon. We will not be grooming until we get a significant amount of snow and cold temperatures. In the lower country to the Chalet area, we will need 18 inches of snow or more to get re-started grooming down there, as all that snow is pretty well gone.
Here are the January final grooming stats:
473 miles total miles groomed
82 hours spent grooming
414 gallons diesel burned
18 hours maintenance on groomers
43 trees removed from the trail
16 hours groomer operators driving to and from the mountain
760 miles driven by operators to and from the mountain
February 1, 2015
I did go out and groom on Friday January 30 to Baldy and to Morning Creek SnoPark. The snow is hard as a rock and doesn't smooth up well. I don't know if we will be able to groom much this week. The forecast says rain/snow mix with warm temperatures day and night.
One of our groomer drivers got a tip that 4X4's were driving through Ruckle from Summerville up Dry Creek, so he went in to investigate and found 4X4 tracks all over the meadow near the shelter. He also found some wood outside the shelter on the ground, so he went ahead and locked the shelter until we get enough snow to keep the 4X4's away. He said there was only about 4-6 inches of snow left at Ruckle. When we get more snow, we will reopen the shelter.
January 30th, 2015
This week has been way too warm to groom. I did go out briefly today (Friday) and cleaned up some inner trails to Morning Creek Sno Park to Baldy Mountain. By the time I got back it was already above freezing. Most of the trails are in good shape anyway. Water is flowing in ditches, it has washed out the trail above Spout Springs towards Woodland, the Woodland crossing is beginning to wash out. We really need new snow and cold temperatures. The lower trails are bare dirt now, so we are starting over waiting for 18 inches of snow to restart. The trails on top are rock hard as they thaw in the day and freeze at night. We will see what we can do next week.
January 23rd, 2015
It got cold enough to groom Wednesday and Thursday of this week. We groomed McIntyre, Coyote, to the store, Target Meadows, Jubilee Lake Rd to Bone Springs, Skyline, up through Spout to Woodland, Andes Prairie Sno Park to Ruckle Shelter. We also groomed the pole trail. It will be warm and rainy this week-end, so no grooming. The weather forecast for this coming week is warm day and night. We don't know if we will be able to do any grooming until towards the end of the week.
January 16th, 2015
We had a good week of grooming this week, as we had temperatures in the low 20's in the morning and mid to upper 20's during the day. We have groomed out Jubilee Rd to Bone Springs, Skyline, Elk Trail, and also opened up the Timothy Loop, where we removed 22 trees. We also removed 2 trees off of Skyline Rd. We groomed McIntyre Loop, Coyote Loop, and out through Spout Springs to Woodland to Andes Prairie Sno Park and back Gordon Creek Loop and Balloon Tree Loop. I removed snow today from around the clubhouse, as temperatures are climbing for the week-end to the mid to upper 30's, which will prevent us from grooming over the week-end. We are in great shape for now, except the lower trails, which are hurting for snow and have bare ground and rocks showing through.
January 8th 2015
I was on the mountain yesterday with 4 other drivers to work on the SnoCats. We replaced the track belt on the 08 that was broken in 2, repaired a cleat, greased both machines, worked on a lighting issue and speedometer drive with the 98. The temperature was 45 degrees, sun was shining. Larry came up from Elgin and said the water had cut through the trail at Woodland again, and water was beginning to cut the trail at Spout Springs. It does not look good for any grooming as temperatures are above freezing night and day. The snow is slushy, it looks like spring.
For Month of Dec. 2014
261 total miles groomed
53.3 hours grooming
260 gallons diesel burned
158 trees removed from trails
1 hour maintenance
7 hours groomer drivers time driving to and from the mountain
420 miles driven by groomer drivers getting to the mountain
The groomers have been grooming since Friday, we have opened most trails up around the highway, out to Bone Springs and Ruckel shelters, we still have 2 trails in the Balloon tree area to open but should get to that Friday. There are a few outer trails past Bone Springs and towards Timothy/Troy that won't be done until next week as we have concentrated on the closer to Tollgate trails. With the help of Tollgate Trailfinder members helping us cut trees, we have removed 158 trees from the trails so far. Thanks to those people that volunteered their time to help with this big trail clean up.
Dec 27th 2014 -
We took both groomers out Friday December 26 and made it to Bone Springs and back Skyline, Elk Trail, and went to Morning Creek SnoPark. Between the 2 groomers we cut about 100 trees from about 2-3 inch size to up to 2 feet in diameter. Thanks to Jay and Amy, Sam, Dino, and Jimmy T for helping by cutting trees in front of us. Otherwise we would have been out there for a couple of additional hours clearing trails. [ALSO- Thanks to the anonymous riders going out with chain saws - we have heard of several]
We opened Bone Springs Shelter. There is still water running in the ditches along Jubilee Rd, and also on Elk Trail. We filled in a water ditch on Elk Trail, but we don't think it will last. There is water running across Tenyke Meadow and on the trail to Morning Creek SnoPark. We were down in the dirt several times pushing trees, especially near Tollgate. With new snow coming and colder temperatures I am hoping we can start filling in water holes and building trails at Spout Springs too.
Sno Park Permits
Washington Sno Park permits will NOT be honored in Oregon Sno Parks this year according to the Oregon Forest Service. An Oregon Sno Park permit can be purchased at the DMV (maybe Stateline Polaris also).
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