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Money Well Spent

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Money well spent

The benefits of a sno-park permit

By Sharon Robinson | Photo by Brett Baunton

Costing about as much as dinner for two, a sno-park permit is a small price to pay for access to more than 45 Washington state sno-parks designated for non-motorized winter recreation, especially when you consider all that comes along with the access.

The money from the permits provides snow removal, sanitary facilities, trail grooming, signs, maps, parking lot construction and administration of the winter recreation program. Salmon Ridge Sno-Park (near Mile Post 46 on Highway 542) is in the heart of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest area and is one of the most scenic sno-parks in the state. The Salmon Ridge winter recreation trail system is maintained by volunteer effort through a Bellingham-based cross-country ski club, Nooksack Nordic Ski Club.

Sno-park permits are available from November 1 to March 31 annually. To purchase online, go to parks.wa.gov/permits. You can also buy one from a local vendor at more than 100 retail locations throughout the state. All permits must be displayed in the lower left corner of your vehicle’s windshield.

One-day permits are honored until midnight of the date written on the permit. The cost for a one-day permit is $20 online or $22 if purchased from a vendor.

Seasonal permits are nontransferable between vehicles. The cost for a seasonal permit is $40 online or $42 if purchased from a vendor. Special groomed trails permits in conjunction with the seasonal permit are required at eight sno-parks in the state. Check the website parks.wa.gov/winter for locations and more details.

Discover Passes, or federal recreation passes, do not work in a designated sno-park. Sno-park funds provide plowed parking lots with easy access and most have sanitation provided. Some of the money comes back to Nooksack Nordic Ski Club in a sno-park grant to help pay for trail grooming expenses, so when you purchase a sno-park permit you are giving back to your community as well. Another way to give back to your community is to join the efforts of the club with brushing and trail-work parties in the fall. Go to the club website for dates and more information at nooksacknordicskiclub. org.

Salmon Ridge Trail System has more than 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails and 3 miles of snowshoe trails. There are three distinct areas to ski or snowshoe, each offering a different winter recreation experience. x