Tsalteshi Trails damaged by trucks and snowmachine traffic

Tsalteshi Trails groomers spent all day Wednesday and Thursday repairing vandalized cross-country ski trails, said Bill Holt, trail maintenance manager.

 

Tuesday night a truck drove onto the trails behind Skyview High School and got stuck, and Wednesday night a snowmachine spun doughnuts in the soccer field, drove up the sledding hill and tore up the trails, Holt said.

“It’s kind of surprising that people would be so thoughtless,” Skyview ski coach Kent Peterson said. “It’s just surprising that people would take a joyride on a world-class (trail) system.”

Holt and two other groomers spent eight extra hours Wednesday and Holt spent all day Thursday regrooming the trails, Holt said. He said they are now in good shape for the She Can Ski race Sunday.

Holt said he does not yet know the identities of the people and the police are not yet involved.

About three times a year Tsalteshi Trails has problems with “jerks on snowmachines,” Holt said.

“A lot of people, when they get out there, half the time it’s by mistake and they try to get out of there as soon as they realize,” Holt said.

But not these people, he said. “They were out there screwing around,” he said.

Tuesday night someone drove a truck through open gates behind the high school and onto about 2.5 kilometers — or 1.5 miles — of freshly-groomed trails, spinning several doughnuts before getting stuck, Holt said.

Once stuck, the driver called friends for help, he said. The driver’s friends came in another truck and a snowmachine and brought fast food and soft drinks, which they dumped on the trails, he said.

In the process of removing the first vehicle, he said he suspects they got stuck two or three more times, judging from the deep ruts left in the Moose, Weasel and Wolf trails.

Before leaving, they spun more doughnuts on the trails, he said.

“If they would have gone on around the whole trail system it would have been terrible,” he said.

A neighbor told Holt that the vandals left at 7 a.m., he said.

Then, Wednesday at about 8 p.m., after Holt and his crews had repaired the trails, a snowmachiner slipped through a gap in the fence, ripped up the soccer field, drove up the sledding hill and onto the same trails, he said.

“It makes my job harder, and it causes horrible stress, too,” Holt said.

He said he heard about the snowmachiner that night and almost went out at midnight to groom the damaged trails.

Between the Tuesday and Wednesday night incidents, he said he was worried the ruts left in the trails would freeze during the night and be difficult to fill in with snow.

“But we got lucky each time,” he said. Without the recent snow storms, he said he would have been unable to repair the damages. “We would have been in real trouble,” he said.

Tsalteshi Trails asks anyone who has information about the two incidents to email them at tsalteshi@yahoo.com.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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