Mountaineers sell Snoqualmie Pass site, with likely benefit to Pacific Crest Trail
The Seattle-based Mountaineers club has sold its historic, 77-acre Snoqualmie Pass property to become part of the neighboring Summit at Snoqualmie ski complex, the club announced Tuesday.
The deal will likely allow for an improved routing of the Pacific Crest Trail, which crosses the ski area.
The property, located off Exit 53 of Interstate 90, was formerly the site of the rustic, three-story Snoqualmie Lodge. The 11,000-member outdoor-recreation and conservation group used the lodge as a base camp, outdoor-training facility and program center for more than 50 years until fire destroyed it in 2006.
The property has remained vacant ever since, monitored by a full-time caretaker and used for occasional events such as an annual Winter Trails Day, when the public could try out new snowshoe gear.
“Monitoring a vacant lot is not the best use of our money or energy, and continued ownership does not help us maximize the property’s potential or further our mission,” Martinique Grigg, then executive director of The Mountaineers, explained in January 2015 when the club decided to seek a sale.
Boyne Properties, which manages the ski area, is the buyer. The sale price was not disclosed.
The agreement allows the ski resort to connect Summit West and Summit Central ski areas, which straddle the site, while also allowing for a potential easement for the Pacific Crest Trail, part of the National Scenic Trail system.
A U.S. Forest Service review in 2013 concluded that The Mountaineers property would be the best location for the trail as it approaches Snoqualmie Pass from the south. The trail currently follows the ridgeline through Summit West, crossing under multiple chairlifts before crossing I-90.
A reroute through the Snoqualmie Lodge property would bring hikers down through a more forested environment, better segregate snowshoers and skiers, and provide a safer path for hikers to cross highways, the review concluded.
“This sale agreement has the potential to preserve the best route for the Pacific Crest Trail by relocating it through undeveloped property, which would greatly improve the quality and safety of the trail experience,” Liz Bergeron, executive director and CEO of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, said in a written announcement of the sale.
She said work remains on an agreement between concerned parties, though both The Mountaineers and the ski area have agreed to work together to finalize the location of a trail corridor meeting the standards of a National Scenic Trail.
The Mountaineers established an earlier lodge at Snoqualmie Pass in 1915, which club president Geoff Lawrence said made its members among the first skiers at the pass.
Today, more than 500,000 skiers visit Snoqualmie Pass each year, and the Snow Lake Trailhead at Alpental is among the most heavily used Forest Service trailheads in the Cascades.