Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Northwest Avalanche Center to Close Doors?

Idiocity, pure and simple. After the record avalanche dangers of the recents weks . . . the backcountry deaths and accidents from slides and they want to save a little bit of money and close the premier source of avalanche information?

Below is a recent posting from
WTA's online blog called The Signpost.

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Jan 25, 2008 02:40 PM

I meant to blog about a recent Seattle P.I. article on funding cuts to the Northwest Avalanche Center, and I'm just now getting around to it. To sum it up: it's crazy that the center is possibly faced with closure. Remember, this season is on pace to be Washington's most deadly avalanche season in modern times. Nationally, too, deaths from avalanches are way up.

The NW Avalanche Center is an absolutely crucial resource for safe winter recreation, whether you cross-country ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile. Its daily reports offer critical advice. With even better funding, it could offer more specific, targeted reports.

What's on the table isn't expansion but the possibility it could be shut down. From Tom Paulson's article, it sounds like the U.S. Forest Service wants to reduce its commitment to the center because guessed it...lack of funds. Last year, the state legislature provided some stopgap funding to keep the center open, but it's uncertain if additional funds will come through.

Want to keep this essential safety resource? Find and e-mail your state legislators here. Write the regional Forest Service office here. And contact your Congressional representative and senators Cantwell and Murray and urge them to properly fund the U.S. Forest Service and the Northwest Avalanche Center.

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