For information on roads and snowplowing, please see the Roads/Plowing page.
The following was excerpted from the Winter 2020 Pine Cone Review, written by Board President Anne Fox.
Winter road access
As you’ve probably heard folks say before, it’s called “Summer Road” for a reason. Use the winter route to access upper Pine Forest homes and ski trails: South Blackjack and Longleaf (not the cut through via Charlie’s Way).
Use the contractor and guest parking area at the bottom of Summer Road if you or your guests do not have the vehicles and/or tires to safely navigate PF roads.
As reported earlier, we have a new plow manager, Justin Haase, of JHaase Excavating. Led by Mike Scarsella, the crew who plow, and now work for Justin, are mostly the same folks who worked for Andy, so they are very familiar with Pine Forest roads and driveways.
As always, main roads will be plowed first, once there is about 4” of accumulation (depending, of course, on the forecast for the remainder of the storm), followed by secondary roads and driveways. To assist Justin, we created a snowplowing map, with your input, to show the order of plowing driveways. (Access to the map is password protected. The password is the same as the one to view the Owners Directory. If you don't know the password, email Nancy Waite or Rose O'Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Beyond providing Justin's crew with the map, PFOA intends to leave it to them to figure out how to plow most efficiently.
In the event of heavy snows, please be patient with the plowing schedule. It takes an immense amount of time to plow all the PF roads and driveways and could take a while to get all the driveways plowed when snows are heavy.
If your lot is on the map for plowing, it will get plowed every time (assuming you’ve paid your bill). Please also keep in mind that places to pile plowed snow are limited.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Tires and chains
We do our best to keep roads safe, while also being mindful of fiscal responsibility. Owners who drive in Pine Forest in the winter do a great service for themselves and everyone else by using proper equipment.
If you’ve ever noticed WashDOT’s winter advisories about “traction tires” while on your way to Pine Forest, you may have wondered, as I recently did, what that means. In a nutshell, the “all season” tires that your vehicle probably came with are, in most cases, decidedly not traction tires and are specifically not what WashDOT means when they say “traction tires advised” or “required." The reason is that, except for high-end models, all-weather tires are less effective at stopping, turning, and starting on snow, slush, and ice than traction tires, which are either “mud and snow” tires marked on the sidewall with an “M+S” or similar symbol or “winter” tires marked with a mountain and snowflake icon. There is no guarantee they are perfect but they are by far and away rated better in winter conditions than most all-season tires. Making sure the tires have the minimum 1/8” tread required to be a WashDOT-approved traction tire is also a key part of being well equipped. All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-ddrive vehicles are also a plus. Either way, as advised by WashDOT, please also be sure you carry chains at all times if you drive in Pine Forest between November and March and that you are prepared to use them. WashDOT Tires & Chains information
If you want to learn more about why winter tires are better, check out these sites:
Do I Need Snow Tires?
Consumer Reports: Winter/Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires
Family Handyman: Snow Tires vs. All Season Tires
Goodyear: Winter/Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires
Wheel Scene: Winter Tires vs. All Season: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Physics of Snow Tires
The science behind winter tires and how they work
Tires Easy: Mountain/Snowflake Symbol Tires & M+S Tires Explained
If your vehicle gets stuck in the road
The snowplowers have asked that, if someone gets stuck in the road during a snowstorm and has to leave their vehicle, please leave it with the door unlocked and keys inside. Either phone or text Steve Meyers, our Community Liaison, as soon as possible (509-679-3943 or 509-679-3868) so he can notify the plowers to be on the lookout. That will help them avoid an accident from coming upon your vehicle unexpectedly. They can also try to get it unstuck, in which case they’ll move it to contractor parking. To help them avoid a collision, as well, please also alert other owners via our Facebook page or ask Steve to let everyone know. Thanks!
This is the ever-popular issue of this, and every, season. Sanding is expensive and is sometimes absolutely necessary. The current budget allows for 2-4 sanding efforts, depending on extent. To sand or not to sand also has to take into account the forecast, as fresh snow and melting temperatures can both make the benefits of sanding very short-lived.
The Board intends to continue to rely on the professional advice of our experienced plowing contractor as to when it’s appropriate to sand. In the January 2020 meeting the Board talked about a suggestion from one of our owners that everyone follow WashDOT’s advice and keep in their vehicles a bucket of sand/kitty litter and a shovel to use as needed. We will explore the possibility of having a sand pile delivered for the winter next year, for folks to use to refill buckets. WashDOT Winter Driving Checklist