Sno-park permits needed for Mount Baker-Salmon Ridge snow fun

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 18, 2013 

Cars park at the Mount Baker-Salmon Ridge Sno-Park. The Salmon Ridge winter recreation trail system is maintained by volunteer efforts of the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club.

GAIL GARMAN — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Why buy a sno-park permit for Mount Baker-Salmon Ridge Sno-Park? Why not, it is a small price to pay to have access to over 45 Washington state sno-parks designated for non-motorized winter recreation. The money for the permit 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 marker 46 on Highway 542) is right here in our own backyard in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest area and is one of the most scenic sno-parks in the state. Salmon Ridge winter recreation trail system is maintained by volunteer efforts through a local cross-country ski club, the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club.

Non-motorized sno-park permits are available Nov. 1 through March 31 annually. To purchase online, go to parks.wa.gov/permits or to a local vendor. There are over 100 retail locations throughout the state. All permits must be displayed in the lower left of the windshield. Check the parks.wa.gov/winter for current locations of local vendors near you. One of the closest to Mount Baker is Crossroads Grocery in Maple Falls.

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 non-transferrable 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 for locations and more details on this.

Why buy your sno-park permit? Tickets are costly and Discover Pass 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 the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club in a sno-park grant to help pay trail-grooming expenses. When you buy 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 to help in the fall with brushing and work trail parties. Go to the club website for dates and more information, nooksacknordicskiclub.org.

The Salmon Ridge trail system has over 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails and three miles of snowshoe trails. There are three distinct areas to ski or snowshoe, each a different winter recreation experience.

To learn more about Salmon Ridge trail system, the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club and Mount Baker Club, mountbakerclub.org, are hosting a community forum on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Mount Baker. There will be information available on equipment, local trails, trail etiquette and winter safety tips. The event is being held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Bellingham Public Library lecture room, 210 Central Ave.

Sharon Robinson Holmes is publicity chairman for Nooksack Nordic Ski Club. Sharon has also been a member of Mount Baker Club for more than 15 years and is an avid cross-country skier and snowshoer.

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