GRANGEVILLE — In addition to the regular work that marked out the first groomed snow of the season at Fish Creek south of town, the Forest Service groomed a new loop for snowshoe and snow bike use.

It’s in response to more snowshoeing seen at Fish Creek.

Logging in the Grangeville watershed in recent years may have pushed snowshoers out of their usual spot and into the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fish Creek recreation site, where the Forest Service has long kept up groomed loops for nordic skiing. But snowshoeing doesn’t necessarily fit well on the same routes as cross-country skiing, as these activities leave behind very different tracks for whoever comes next.

Faced with complaints last year, the Forest Service decided to try setting up a new route for snowshoe and snow bike use.

“We cleared an old ATV trail that was there,” developed recreation supervisor Sam Manifold told the Free Press. “We cleaned it up a little bit to give an option, and this year, it’s just a trial to see what kind of feedback we get — if it’s something people appreciate and want to use, or if it’s not really what they’re looking for for snowshoeing.”

“We’ll go from there,” he added. “Maybe get some better signage... We want to try it out without investing too much into it, because we want to see what it provides for the community.”

He said the extra grooming might add 30-60 minutes to his Friday runs. As for the regular grooming, Manifold said the amount of snow he saw Jan. 3 was good, and that it was about 37 degrees out that afternoon.

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