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The Arlington Times
Marysville, Washington
January 5, 2000     The Arlington Times
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January 5, 2000

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C8 o:o The Arlington Times/The Marysville Globe The Weekender Outdoors Wednesday, January5, by Ward Norden Special to The Weekender The rain gauge on my backyard deck last month showed that it had been raining 29 of the previ- ous 31 days. That weather had been getting very tiresome even for the most hardy, water-logged, webfooted Northwesterners who usually ignore the rain. Fortunately for we mildewed outdoor enthusiasts, there are sometimes breaks between storm fronts from the Pacific when the rain slackens and the sun may even peek out. Even if these breaks are only a few hours, that may be all we need for a short outing, just enough to prevent the ravages of cabin fever. A couple hours at a steelhead fishing hole angling for one of those great game- fish may be your preferance. For an alter- native to standing hip deep in ice water, a short, two-hour hike or bicycle trip in the woods for some fresh air and exercise may be ,just the right tonic. Local books and magazines have devot- ed thousands of words each winter about local winter hiking and biking opportuni- ties. These hikes are great qutings but many of them still require hiking boots, survival gear, serious planning, and usual- ly more time than most of us have avail- able, or more time than the brief break in weather will permit. Over the years I have discovered sever- al great outdoor destinations within 30 minutes of downtown Marysville. The Special to The Weekender OLYMPIA -- Now that snow is failing with gusto in the moun- tains, cross-country skiers, snow- shoers and other wilderness enthusiasts who want to use groomed trails need to pick up their Sno-Park permits from Wash- ington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Snow parks are parking lots with access to trails in winter recreation areas. There are 120 of the plowed parking areas in Wash- ington, supported entirely by user fees through the purchase of the Sno-Park permits, from snowmo- bile registration and a percentage of the fuel tax. The Sno-Park permits also fund sanitary facilities, signs, construc- tion of parking lots, trail groom- ing, enforcement and education. The passes are $20 for the year, from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, or $8 for day use. All vehicles with Washington state licenses must have Sno-Park permits to park in best part is these outings can be done with just a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers. One such place for a quick outdoor "mental health break" between storms is a trip to Lake Fontal. Lakes Hannah and Fontal rest on a hid- den plateau about three miles southeast of the town of Monroe. Much of the plateau is part of a huge private tree farm that allows public access only by foot, horse, or bicycle. If you prefer bicycling to see a little more country, a bike .just needs to be capable of negotiating good-quality, peb- ble-covered logging roads. The shores of Lake Hannah belong to a youth camp, so it is not available for pub- lic use. Lake Fontal, however, is accessible via the excellent gravel roads that criss- cross the plateau. (Remember Lake Fontal next summer as a great place to bring an inflatable boat and fly rod for brook trout and cutthroat trout.) The Hannah/Fontal plateau, with its lakes, forests, and wetlands is the perfect place for a brisk three-hour winter walk. It is suitable for those of all abilities and ages whether on mountain bike or foot. Except for negotiating the gates that keep motorized traffic out, the excel- lent level logging roads of this plateau make this area ideal for handicapped people as well. How to get there To get to this area, follow Highway 2 to S Sno-Parks. Non-motorized users such as cross-country skiers, dog sledders, snowshoers and others who wish to use groomed Sno-Park trails are required to display a trail- grooming sticker along with the Sno-Park permit. Trail-grooming stickers cost $20 per vehicle. One- day Sno-Park permit users do not need the grooming sticker. Sno-Parks with groomed trails include Lake Keechelus/Hyak, Crystal Springs, Cabin Creek, Lake Easton State Park, Lake Wenatchee State Park, Chiwawa Loop, Kahier Glenn and Mount Spokane State Park. Snowmobilers must display a valid registration sticker on their snowmobiles. Registration is $20 per year, which includes a Sno- Park permit. Sno-Park guide The Washington Groomed Cross-Country Ski Trails and Sno- Parks guide is a 50-page, pocket- A quick safety note firearms, a good sturdy walking stick, or Winter is the time that wildlife better yet, a used aluminum ski pole move out of the high country and bought at a garage sale will also be into the lowlands. Many deer live on the effective. If you encounter a cougar at Hannah/Fontal Plateau, so cougars are close range (under 30 yards), making also found there, eye contact, speaking in loud but low . Although it is highly unlikely you will tones, and looking big is usually enough be afforded the privilege of seeing the to deter the big cat. Waving the cane or elusive, shy cougar and even less likely using the gun as a noisemaker will do that you will have a close encounter enough to spook a cat at closer ranges with one, I always recommend takingunless it is clearly starving. Don't ever precautions, run or turn your back on the cat, and These precautions are prudent at keep small children close plus quiet. any time of the year anywhere in the The key to understanding the big forested backcountry of the west cats is that, although they are a power- (except national parks where firearms ful and deadly predator that can take are not allowed), down an 800-pound adult elk, they are The basic precaution is to always be also loners that practice ambush aware of what is on the ground within attacks. They will not risk injuring 10 yards on either side, check yourthemselves unless they are on the brink backtrail every few minutes, and carry a of starvation. ",-. means of self-defense. Although I have These rules don,t apply to bears always carried either a rifle or handgun, which are usually hibernating in winter if you are not comfortable with anyway. Monroe and turn south on Highway 203mile beyond the end of the pavement. toward Duvall. About two miles south of Depending on which gate is locked the Skykomish River bridge you will come (there are two), Lake Fontal lies about a to an intersection where High Rock Road mile and a half or two miles from the tree goes up the hill on the left. Follow High farm gate. Assuming that the first gate Rock Road to its end at Lake Fontal Road: after the end of the pavement is locked, Turn left on Lake Fontal road and follow it proceed on the gravel road about a half bypassing the Kayak Lake Road turnoff, mile straight across a three-year old The first gate is about three quarters of a clearcut to a four-way intersection. On sized booklet on Washington's groomed cross-country ski trails. It includes trail maps and informa- tion on commercial cross-country ski areas and Sno-Parks. The booklet also includes avalanche and safety information, snow report phone numbers, per- mit information and ski-area ser- vices. It is available from outdoor retailers, Sno-Park permit vendors, the Snohomish County Visitors Information Center and by mail from Washington State Parks, for $4.50. To order materials by mail, send checks payable to Washing- ton State Parks, and send them to the Winter Recreation Program, Washington State Parks and Recre- ation, P.O. Box 42662, Olympia, WA 98504-2662. Roads closed for snowmobiles Certain roads in the Mount Baker Ranger District are closed to wheeled vehicles during the snow season and open only'to snowmo- biles. The following roads are sub- ject to closure during the winter: Loomis Nooksack Road #12, Schriebers Meadows Road #13, Anderson Creek Road #1107, Canyon Creek Road #31, Glacier Creek Road #39, Finney Creek Road #17 and Segelson Road #18. These roads are part of the Washington state Sno-Park system and require a permit for parking. The proceeds from the permits are used for funding grooming opera- tions and related expenses. Snow- mobilers receive a free Sno-Park Permit when they register their snowmobiles in Washington state. Other winter enthusiasts, including cross-country skiers and snowshoers can purchase Sno-Park permits at outdoor sports outlets throughout the state, from Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Ranger Stations or from the forest service head- quarters in Mountlake Terrace. For information call (360) 902-8552 or (800) 627-0062. Planning your weekend? read Winter Trails 2000 SEATTLE -- Washington Trails Association is planning its third annual Winter Trails Days for Jan. 15. The day of free snowshoeing is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Center at The Summit at Snoqualmie Pass, South of Interstate 90. The event offers an opportunity for people to get outdoors in the winter and to try a variety of the latest snowshoes. Snowshoes are an easy and affordable way for the general public to experience the beauty of winter, with no special skills and no on-going costs like lift tick- ets. The event is cosponsored by The Summit at Snoqualmie ski area and Mountain Safety Research (MSR). For more information check the internet at the left you will see another yellow across a road. That is the one you About a half mile beyond gate you will find another road to the right into another valley. This slightly rougher (but still road climbs slowly up a hill along a marshy valley for another half mile ! When you reach the end will arrive at another new clearcut left and through it you will Fontal about 300 yards away. The l goes through the clearcut and lake to a picnic area and rough launch. Spectacular views of the lake, homish Valley, can be found if you continue on past the east end of the lake hill. For bicyclists, the trip to great fun for the whole family and, excellent place to introduce to backcountry cycling. a short ride -- only about 20 from the gates. For more of consider turning right at intersection. That road takes you! way around the plateau to more spectacul mountaintops. Some almost roads can lead you back to your out having to retrace your tracks, IJ will leave those for you to discov~ your own. tion form, call Everett Parks and! anothe; challen, (425) 257-8300. J stual', guid -- EVERETT -- Snohomish ~ C|ty: Parks and Recreation has pu~ "The Snohomish River Estuary! ation Guide" for outdoor enthU~ want to hike, canoe, camp, hI the Everett area. I l The guide includes maps of! / homish River estuary and dra~- local fauna. The guide sells fot~ the Snohomish County Visitor ( just off I-5 at 128th St. in south For information call q 4437. Birding Larsen : p i lead a bird watching excursion Winter cam ng bey lsland Tuesday, Jan. 11.b EVERETT -- A seminar on winter 7:30 a.m. at the state park in camping will be offered by Everett Parks just south of the ferry dock. and Recreation and the Mt. Baker Scout Plan for the whole day and Council Wednesday nights through Jan- waterproof footwear. uary at Mariner High School. Participants ~ For information must be 14 by Jan. 1 if they are scouts (206) 546-6141. or non scouts must be 16. Anyone from 14 to 17 years of age must have parental permission. The month of evening classes culmi- ARLINGTON -- Play nates with a night of camping on Mt. Stillaguamish Senior Center, Rainier Feb. 5 and 6. Smokey Point Blvd., every For information and a registra- 11:30 a.m. and Fridays at 7 f Page [] swimming [] youth sports [] childcare [] confidence Join the YMCA by January 3I and save 5o~ on the joining the. Off& available at Everett Family Y (425-258-92H), Marysville/North County Y (36o-653-9622), Mukilteo/Paine Field Center Y (425-7m-9622), Southeast Family Y (425-337-o123) and other select locations. Call or drop by and learn how we build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. to participate in the for your Snohomish County PUD. In 2001, our contract with the Bonneville Power Administration expires, whlc n r - swo. means that we need to start reviewi g ou resource portfolio: ;o foS;i;ci " mmS:jfr Ura P [lSppU: ch2 stude' ;U;:surce ....... ii {~t ;~n;l~ U: nguSrej; 7 ~o~ c2 ~ls l~g nC;~sml~ss ~2i 2~;7~i g$ i ~ We have discussed background about power resources set up decision-making criteria, as well as reviewed the and cons of various resources. The next step in the meetin is to evaluate specific resource portfolios. This process is expected to continue through the first quarter of 2000. We hope to see you at the January 2000 meetings! U/ Kath s, t-- i;t ras'ff tt ill :i Se Secretary 8:30 - 10:30 AM each day Commission Meeting Room 2320 California Street in Everett 425-783-8611