Five projects in Okanogan County have been awarded grants to fix backcountry trails — all of them affecting the Methow Valley in some way — by the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).
The grants are intended to help pay for repair of backcountry trails, grooming mountain trails for snowmobilers and restoring trails for off-road vehicles. RCO awarded more than $1.3 million to 31 projects in 17 counties.
“These grants help get trails ready for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, off-road vehicle riders, and others in the summer and for snowmobilers in the winter,” said Kaleen Cottingham, RCO director. “Without these grants many trails would be closed because of fallen trees and hazardous conditions.”
In Okanogan County, the projects are:
• $10,678 to the Back Country Horsemen of Washington to produce materials to support its low-impact camping education program, called Minimum Impact Recreation. The organization will contribute $5,000 worth of labor.
• $24,109 to the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association for grooming of 175 miles of Methow Valley snowmobile trails. The association will contribute $32,000 including labor and equipment.
• $12,050 to the Methow Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service for maintaining about 45 miles of trails adjacent to the Lake Chelan/Sawtooth Wilderness Area. Crews will remove fallen trees and overgrown brush, repair trail surfaces and remove rocks. The ranger district will contribute $8,250 worth of labor and equipment.
• $75,000 to the Methow Valley Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service to maintain trails damaged by fire and avalanches, including 325 miles of trail in the Pasayten and Lake Chelan/Sawtooth wilderness areas and the North Cascades Scenic Highway corridor. The district will contribute $75,000 worth of labor and equipment.
• $49,613 to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to plow snow at seven Sno-Parks and groom about 557 miles of snowmobile trails in the Okanogan Highlands, from Loup Loup summit to Sherman Pass. State Parks will contribute $49,613.