By Michelle McNiel Wenatchee World
LAKE WENATCHEE — Winter recreation is starting to come back as the Lake Wenatchee and Plain areas slowly emerge from last month’s damaging snowstorm.
The Fish Lake and Lake Wenatchee Airstrip Sno-Parks reopened this week to snowmobilers. The two parking lots provide access to one of the most popular snowmobiling areas in the state.
Ski and snowshoe trails in the north portion of Lake Wenatchee State Park also reopened Saturday. Just over 5 kilometers of cross-country ski trails and a 2-mile snowshoe trail have been cleared of fallen trees and deemed safe for the public.
The state park and snowmobile trails require a state Sno-Park permit to park at the trailheads.
The Sno-Park accessing the Chiwawa cross-country ski trail system off Chiwawa Loop Road is also open. However, the trails are not yet cleared of trees and are not being groomed.
Recreation in the area has been shut down since a Dec. 16-17 snow storm dumped several inches of snow that knocked down thousands of trees.
The storm cut power to nearly 4,000 homes and businesses for more than a week, and about 80 are still without electricity. Many homes were also without phone, water and fiber optics service.
Several recreation areas remain closed. Trails in the southern portion of Lake Wenatchee State Park, the sledding hill at the park, and the Nason Ridge and Kahler ski trails are all closed because of fallen trees.
It could be another two weeks before those trails reopen, said Bruce Beyerl, assistant manager of the state park. People are asked not to try and visit those areas because of the danger of leaning and uprooted trees that have not yet been removed, he said.
“There’s just a ton of work to do,” he added.
The state park is getting help from state park rangers and maintenance crews from around the state, as well as a Washington Conservation Corps crew, a state arbor crew and local volunteers.
The Wenatchee River Ranger District is asking people to be “vigilant” in the Lake Wenatchee and Plain area because there is still a danger of falling trees and branches.