Safety at the Loup
Ten years ago, if someone was seen “skinning” uphill at The Loup, they would have drawn stares and ribald comments. Today, the sport of ski touring has become very popular, with skiers climbing mountains and hills wherever access is available and the snow is good, for both the great exercise of the climb, and the exhilaration of the well-deserved ski down.
The Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation recognizes the enthusiasm of the public to be outdoors enjoying the mountains while participating in different activities. In fact, the “Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation exists for winter sports education for our community through the operation of a safe, affordable, family-friendly mountain destination for today and future generations.” That is our stated mission.
The Loup Loup ski area has experienced a rapid increase in winter snowshoeing, snowboard hiking and the use of alpine touring equipment as a means of uphill travel to access terrain in and outside the resort’s permit area. This type of recreational use raises safety concerns during operating hours and during off-hours maintenance operations. Not only is there the obvious concern of skiers encountering grooming machines, or other maintenance activities necessary to keep the mountain safe and in good shape, but there is also an aspect that may not be apparent to all skiers.
The grooming of the mountain is time-consuming and expensive, but well worth the effort. However, when “off-hours” skiers enjoy the freshly groomed runs, those beautifully carved turns become frozen and entrenched, leaving grooves to catch other’s edges until the next grooming. This is a safety issue. The need to keep uphill traffic separated from downhill skiers should be self-evident.
The Ski Patrol and other volunteers have developed an interim safe uphill route to keep skiers and climbers as separated as possible until a new uphill track can be completed in the near future. It is the sincere wish of the foundation that the Loup Loup Ski Bowl can accommodate both downhill and uphill skiers, but we have a responsibility to provide a safe skiing experience for all.
Please read and respect our uphill policy, developed in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.
Board of Directors, Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation
Thanks to tree sellers, buyers
Thank you once again to the volunteers who bought and sold Christmas trees this year. The proceeds benefit the Methow Valley Community Center, and have been earmarked for gym and kitchen improvements. We are so grateful to Larry Smith, Keith Strickland, OK Cascades, Hank Konrad, Michael Dunn, John Doran and Keith Rowland for another successful year. We are especially grateful to all of you that purchased trees this year. On behalf of the community center board, have a safe and blessed holiday.
Kirsten Ostlie, Methow Valley Community Center
Foster parents needed
There is a growing crisis in Washington’s foster care system.
There are currently more children entering foster care than the present number of foster homes can handle and the need for more homes is urgent!
Sadly, due to the shortage of homes, many of the children from Okanogan County end up being moved to other counties in the state. This can seem like light years away from everything familiar to a child! (The outcomes for children in foster care are much better when they are maintained in their home community.)
Brothers and sisters are frequently separated because a relative cannot be found and there are not enough foster homes that can accommodate sibling groups. Lastly, a handful of children are placed in homes with families who do not speak the same language as them because there are few Spanish-speaking foster families in our area. Imagine being a 1-year-old child, separated from your siblings, placed in a home with complete strangers where no one speaks your language and you can’t understand where your parents have gone. A scenario similar to this one is not uncommon in the world of child welfare.
FosteringWA works very hard to ensure that the aforementioned scenarios do not come true and that all children can have a safe, nurturing, home. FosteringWA is a program of eastern Washington University’s College of Social Sciences. FosteringWA has a contract with the state Department of Social Services to recruit foster parents in eastern Washington. Everyone is welcome to apply to become a foster parent, but FosteringWA is especially looking for people willing to care for sibling groups, children age 12 and older, infants exposed prenatally to drugs/alcohol, and Spanish-speaking families.
FosteringWA always looks for ways to reach potential foster parents. Please consider inviting FosteringWA to your church, organization, etc., to talk with prospective foster parents about how to get licensed. Or, if you own a business, please consider posting a recruitment flyer somewhere in your business. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent, please call (509) 322-1191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hayley Stoebner, Recruitment Coordinator
The process works
When it comes to a new water use application process for the Methow Valley, it is not needed. The current process works.
The Supreme Court stated anyone planning a new use of water first must “show the water is available and it does not impair senior water rights.”
The reason the Methow Valley need not concern about the ruling is that we have done extensive studies of the Methow Basin as a whole and also the separate reaches. The studies have more than addressed the concern, and there is an existing summary of the information the county plans to collect in the new proposal. These studies were completed to promote development of the Methow.
Firstly, the monitoring system developed in the 1980s and1990s and adopted by the county provided baseline data for the quantity and quality of the basin water. The county sold $250,000 in bonds to provide for the monitoring wells and the associated study. Once it was completed the county said, “We have the right to develop” because we complied with ruling of the DOE. I remember this clearly because of the lawsuit of which I was a party to the plaintiff and I also had to pay for a portion of the bond debt retirement.
Secondly, the U.S. Department of the Interior under the U.S. Geological Survey completed The “Water- Resources Investigations Report 03-4244” in cooperation with Okanogan County in 2003. This study involved nearly 800 wells in the basin and contains more data than the anything the county could afford to collect today. Fortunately, this study was completed and it more than addresses the concerns of the Supreme Court ruling.
The question before us now: Will the county accept the existing studies and defend our rights to develop, or will the attorneys and county officials fall prey to the creation of more excessive bureaucracy?
Paul E. Christen, Winthrop
Appreciation to the community
As the holidays are now behind us, we have a moment to sit back and reflect on the incredible generosity of this community. Neighbors Helping Neighbors was able to provide food baskets to 138 households, which fed at least 429 people in our valley. The Manger Mall provided 92 families with Christmas gifts for over 244 children. Both of these programs would not be possible without all of you.
Monetary donations, in addition to toys, pillows, blankets and food, came from businesses, organizations and individuals both locally and outside the Methow Valley. Our donation jars, which are scattered throughout the valley, were emptied weekly and every penny made a difference.
A huge thank you needs to go to Hank Konrad and his employees. Hank endlessly pours his heart and soul into this community and Neighbors Helping Neighbors is no exception to his generosity. We take over his storage room for an entire week, his loading dock for an entire day and what we hear in return is, “What else can I do for you?” Thank you, Hank and Jimmy Gariano, for your support and assistance year, after year, after year! Okanogan County Fire District 6 also blessed us again by collecting food during our Porch Night Pick-Up and made a monetary donation from collections. Thank you to our heroes who are there for us in innumerable ways. We cannot forget our local radio stations and the Methow Valley News, who continuously help us to spread the word about registration and donations.
It is not possible to list all of the wonderful individuals, organizations and businesses who volunteer, contribute their time and donations to make these programs possible. You know who you are, we know who you are, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope your hearts are full and your holidays filled with love as you have embraced your Methow Valley neighbors once again this year.
Jennifer Elden, program manager, Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Wendy Braden and Kathryn Eisenhauer, co-chairs, Manger Mall