Chelan--Beginning February 7, the Chelan Ranger District will be implementing a pilot program specifically for Nordic skiers and dogs called “Pups on the Pops” on three trails locally known as the “Pops” at Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area. The program will be based out of the Lower Echo Parking lot and provide skiers and dogs access to three connected trails--Lolly Pop, Tootsy Roll and Whoop-Di-Do. Total trail distance is 3.7 kilometers on easy rated trails.
The intent of the pilot program is to meet the demand for dog-friendly ski trails, along with the existing skiing use. “There is high demand for easy ski loop trails that are also dog-friendly because our existing dog-friendly trails are rated most difficult,” said Chelan Ranger District Recreation Program Manager Paul Willard.
“It is often a balancing act to meet the desires of a variety of skiers. In order for the program to succeed, dog owners will need to be respectful of other skiers, responsible for controlling their dogs and keeping the trails clean,” Willard said. “We are excited to offer this opportunity at Echo Ridge as the Forest Service has successfully implemented dog/ski trail programs similar to this across the nation.”
Forest Service personnel will monitor activity on the trails and survey trail users to determine if the program will continue next year.
The “Pups on the Pops” program will be available only to skiers. These three "Pops" trails will not be available to hikers and snowshoers as there are currently options for these uses on Echo Ridge trails on the Shoe and Zoom trails.
Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area is located 10 miles northwest of Chelan, Washington, and is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club.
Ski passes are required for both ski and snowshoe trail use at Echo Ridge. Day passes are available on-site for $10 per adult; passes are free for skiers or snowshoers age 17 or under. Season passes are available for $70 at the Chelan Ranger District office.
For current grooming information, check the Lake Chelan Nordic Ski club website at www.lakecheleannordic.org. For additional information contact Chelan Ranger District at 509-682-4900.