The Clallam County board of commissioners and Capacity Provisioning Inc. have stepped up to support an effort to open Hurricane Ridge Road seven days a week this winter.
The commissioners voted July 27 to give $20,000 to the effort. The money will come from the county's lodging tax reserve.
The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce is heading the effort to raise $75,000 to match a $250,000 contribution from the National Park Service. The $75,000 must be raised by Aug. 15.
Proponents of keeping the 17-mile road open say it will increase tourism revenue by allowing people to access the ski and snow play area seven days a week. As it is now, the road is closed Monday-Thursday from November-March except for holidays and winter break.
"Having the ridge open all winter, or depending on weather, really makes it possible for people to plan and come visit the peninsula during the off season," Tharinger said.
"So it helps support the tourism industry during the off season. The data is pretty clear - when the ridge is open people make plans and come visit."
Tharinger said the lodging tax revenue normally is used for county marketing efforts such as the Olympic Visitors Bureau.
Tharinger said it is good to have countywide support of keeping the road open.
"Having community support speaks strongly as a marketing message but also to Olympic National Park for people to have access during winter," he said.
As a back country skier, Tharinger used to spend a fair amount of time on the ridge but these days, if his schedule allows, he goes up once or twice a winter, he said.
Capacity Provisioning Inc. is auctioning off a year of high-speed fiber optic service to the highest bidder, with all the proceeds going toward the effort.
The service is worth more than $12,000, CPI vice president Craig Johnson said.
All the proceeds, which are tax deductible, will go toward the effort. The starting bid price for the fiber optic service, or Internet system upgrade for current CPI customers, is $2,000. The installation of the service or upgrade will be free.
The offer may be withdrawn if the full $75,000 isn't raised by Aug. 15.
To place a bid, call 360-565-8400, ext. 2, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Winters can be reached at email@example.com.
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