Clallam considers $25,000 for Hurricane Ridge Road

Clallam County may fork over $25,000 for a second go at year-round access to Hurricane Ridge.

At a July 18 work session, county commissioners sent a funding request from proponents of the project to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The Committee to Open Hurricane Ridge Road seeks to raise $75,000 by Aug. 1 to be eligible for $250,000 from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Sequim City Council unanimously approved $5,000 from its lodging tax fund to support the winter opening of Hurricane Ridge on Monday, July 25, in a 5-0 vote with Mayor Ken Hays and Susan Lorenzen absent. Councilors approved the same amount in 2010.

The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce reported that between January and June 2011, 900 visitors said they were going to Hurricane Ridge.

Last year the county gave $20,000 toward the effort, which raised enough to have the road open throughout the winter season. Normally the road only is open on weekends during the winter, November-March, except for holidays and winter break.

Proponents of keeping the 17-mile road open said it would increase tourism

revenue by allowing people to access the ski and snow play area seven days a week. They are hoping to continue to keep the road open year-round for two or three years in a row to see if it achieves their economic goals.

This year the City of Port Angeles is giving $25,000 and the road committee is asking the county to match. Other contributors include the Olympic Tourism Commission, $3,000; the Port Angeles Business Association, $2,500; and the Clallam County Bed and Breakfast Association, $1,000.

Commissioner Steve Tharinger, who also serves on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, said he thinks there is support for the contribution.

"I think they (the committee) understand the need to have a couple years of doing this," he said.

The Park Service has not released final visit numbers for the 2010-2011 winter season yet.

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