A tip of the ski hat to local snow plow crews
The Park Record editorial, Jan. 7-10, 2017
Last month, Park City residents were begging for snow — this month they are hauling it away as fast as possible. And, next month, who knows? The resorts could be back to making their own.
Maintaining a perfect winter wonderland is a daunting challenge, but this week, road crews from the city, county and state proved they were up to the task. As a ferocious blizzard careened into town, hardy public works employees headed out in the cold plowing, shoveling and removing massive glaciers.
The parade of snowstorms that our ski areas are currently enjoying would have paralyzed most cities, but thanks to those professional snow crews, it has been business as usual. Major thoroughfares and school routes got priority treatment, followed by side streets and outlying subdivisions. By Friday, traffic was moving smoothly.
To make the system work, though, residents and visitors need to keep street parking to a minimum so the plow drivers can do their jobs. That expedites the process, allowing secondary routes to be cleared more quickly. In many areas of Summit County, parking on the street is prohibited from Nov. 1 to April 1 to ensure the snow removal teams are unimpeded. In Park City, officials are currently allowing Old Town residents who have no other alternatives to park overnight in the China Bridge parking structure while snow is being removed from their narrow streets.
In addition to being welcomed by the ski areas, the new year’s abundant snowfall is being cheered by local water companies who have endured several consecutive seasons of drought.
Lots of snow now means lush lawns this summer but there is another concern. In their haste to get to the slopes, property owners may be tempted to overuse an array of snow-melting chemicals. While those sparking crystals of chloride compounds may do a great job on the driveway, they wreak havoc on the environment. Birds and wildlife are also adversely affected.
Park City and Summit County public works officials say they are making a conscious effort to reduce their use of road salt which will make a significant difference. But homeowners should be cognizant of the impact of their own use of chemicals as well. In some cases more benign materials can be used. A few homespun remedies include birdseed and fireplace ashes. But the best alternative is elbow grease. And while you are out there shoveling, give a thumbs up or friendly wave to the passing snowplow drivers. They have done a yeoman’s job.
The efforts of organizations like the South Summit Trails Foundation mean access to easy access to trails is no longer an amenity enjoyed only on the West Side.