Sno-Parks open, passes now on sale

  • Sharon Wootton / Special to The Herald
  • Friday, December 9, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Downhill skiers and snowboarders have had the spotlight in this gloriously early snow season. Now it’s the turn of cross-country skiers and snowmobilers, because Sno-Parks are officially open, according to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

They include the popular Marble Mountain and Cougar Sno-Parks on the south side of Mount St. Helens, closed last winter because of eruptions.

Evacuation plans are in place, but until told otherwise, feel free to explore the mountain.

A far iffier location is at Lake Wenatchee State Park, where groomed ski trails may be closed from late December to March because of a project to reduce fire hazards.

It will affect ski trails, snowshoe trails and sled hills in the north and south areas of the park, but usually only one at a time.

For more information, call 509-763-3101.

Snowmobilers must register their snowmobiles and buy Sno-Park permits at more than 125 retail dealers or at a state park. It’s a good idea to buy them ahead of time because dealers are not always near a Sno-Park area.

One-day Sno-Park permits are available for purchase online at

There are more than 80 Sno-Parks designated for snowmobile use at $30 a year per sled ($12 per vintage sled).

Non-motorized Sno-Park permits allow visitors to park in about 40 cleared, designated parking lots as well as snow parks in Oregon and Idaho. The seasonal Sno-Park permit costs $20, or $8 for a one-day permit.

A groomed-trails permit costs $20 and must be used with a non-motorized seasonal Sno-Park permit for the following areas: Hyak, Cabin Creek, Crystal Springs and Chiwawa; and Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee and Mount Spokane state parks.

All Sno-Parks honor a one-day permit, and an additional groomed-trails permit is not required.

Don’t forget that when buying from a dealer, it will cost an additional $1 for the dealer/ For more information, email or call 360-586-6645.

Tag sale: Washington’s National Park Fund’s recent online auction for 25 special low-number vehicle license plates honoring Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks raised $23,612.

License plate NP00001 brought in $3,000.

The same style of license plate can be bought by the public starting Jan. 3. A plate costs $40 in addition to your regular license fees, and an additional $30 when registration is renewed.

Either way, $28 is tax-deductible and goes toward preservation projects in the state’s national parks.

Animal tags: Bald eagles, orcas, elks, mule deer and black bears will be showing up on Washington license plates next year.

More than 7,000 people applied for the right to buy the first of each series, and a drawing decided the winners.

Ken Fortune of Bothell won the drawing for the plate with the mule deer background.

The public can purchase the wildlife tags starting Jan. 3. The initial cost is $40 more than a regular plate, and $30 extra when the registration renewal comes due.

Money from each style of plate is earmarked for a different program run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Book shelf: Ross Reynolds’ “Guide to Weather” ($20, Firefly) is a step above a beginner’s weather book, with excellent color illustrations and graphics to complement the text. “Weather” has global coverage, so don’t expect a tidy Northwest focus.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or

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