Good-neighbor warming hut dedicated |

Good-neighbor warming hut dedicated

In an effort to bridge the gap between two types of recreational users, the Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Association dedicated a warming hut Sunday in Hope Valley for all snow enthusiasts to use.

The 8-by-12 warming hut was erected last fall and has already provided shelter for hundreds of visitors who signed the club’s book with thanks for the warm respite from snowstorms.

Located at the Blue Lakes trailhead to the Pacific Coast Trail, the hut is the first in Northern California to be totally funded and built by a private organization.

The snowmobile association received $2,800 from Yamaha and $300 from Polaris to build the $3,200 shelter.

“Snowmobiling in California is a partnership between the state, federal government and the snowmobilers,” said Barry Jones, winter recreation manager for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. “I’m glad to see the clubs participating. I think the (warming hut) is great because normally they’re funded by public money.”

Jones said two warming huts near Iron Mountain Ski resort, just southwest of Kirkwood Mountain Resort, saved several lives of both cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.

Jim Edge, winter recreation supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service Carson Ranger District, said he hopes the warming hut will continue to lessen tension between motorized enthusiasts and muscle-powered recreationalists.

“I think the warming hut is a positive thing for the winter recreational users out here,” he said. “This is a highly used area and each group has its feelings on how to enjoy the outdoors. If both groups can show common courtesy then everyone can have a good time.”

Edge said about 90 percent of the people who recreate in the area are snowmobilers, with snowshoers and cross-country skiers making up the minority.

JacLyn Howard, a 13-year member of the Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Association, said she was excited by the nice weather Sunday morning and the more than 50 people who came out for the dedication.

“This is kind of like a birthday,” she said. “It’s like having another little house- everybody has another little house to come to.”

The warming hut is a temporary structure that will be pulled out of the valley during the summer and fall months.

The project is just one of many community service efforts made by the 80-member snowmobile association.

The group also maintains a portion of State Route 88, cleaning up garbage along the road.

The snowmobile club recently won four awards at the 22nd annual California/Nevada Snowmobile Convention in Bakersfield, Calif., including “Snowmobile Club of the Year.”

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