Photo Credit: Jason Hummel
From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (12/22/2021)
“It’s been a slow start to winter across most of the country (except those lucky Alaskans) but the temps are dropping and snow is starting to pile up. With snow comes an uptick in activity across our grassroots network, and for this last policy update of 2021 I wanted to share a few of the awesome things the WWA network has accomplished of late:
- Both Tahoe Backcountry Alliance and Wasatch Backcountry Alliance will be running shuttles this winter to relieve traffic congestion and get skiers to the skin track.
- The Teton Backcountry Alliance Teton Pass Ambassador program educates skiers about backcountry (and parking!) etiquette and plays a critical role in ensuring continued skier access to Teton Pass.
- Meanwhile, in the eastern Sierra, Friends of the Inyo has launched their 3rd season of Winter Trail Ambassadors. They provide friendly outreach on recreational opportunities and etiquette, and collect data on recreation and user interactions to inform winter travel planning.
- After 20 years of dogged advocacy from Friends of the Routt Backcountry, the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District just announced a newly designated non-motorized area and other improvements to winter recreation on the Routt National Forest. Head out to Steamboat next month for FRB’s Wooden Ski Rendezvous to explore the new non-motorized area!
- Matt Williams, Executive Director at Catamount Trail Association recently moderated a Backcountry Impacts Forum featuring scientists from across Vermont with expertise in forest recreation, ecology and conservation science. The crux of the discussion focused on how to balance increasing participation in backcountry skiing with the need to protect the plant and animal communities that depend on ridgelines and other mountain environments in Vermont. The forum’s conclusion? Create sanctioned backcountry ski zones to limit human disruption in natural spaces. This supports the work that CTA, Granite Backcountry Alliance, and Superior Highlands Backcountry are pursuing in their respective hardwood ecosystems.
- And, it’s grooming season! Here’s a big shout out to all of the groups that groom Nordic and multi-use trails all winter long. I’m sure I’ll miss a few, but this list includes Beartooth Recreational Trails Association, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Tsalteshi Trails Association, and Teton Valley Trails and Pathways!
That’s just a sampling of all that our grassroots network does to protect, improve, and support quiet winter recreation.
Join the Alliance and help support this, and other work, to keep winters wild!