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Trailers allowed on Hart’s Pass

— Trailer restrictions on Hart’s Pass Road have been changed to allow use by trailers equal to or less than 20 feet in length, regardless of the number of axles.

The old rules limited trailer to one axle, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials said last week.

Each spring, a local snowmobile club plows Hart’s Pass Road from the national forest boundary near Lost River to Cache Creek, allowing snowmobilers to reach the high country snow around Hart’s Pass.

Once the road is plowed in the spring, trailers carrying snowmobiles are allowed on the road until June 1, officials said.

In the past, the Forest Service allowed only single-axle trailers, but recently changed the restriction to trailers equal to or less than 20 feet in length, regardless of the number of axles, officials said. The length is measured from the hitch ball to the back end of the trailer.

From June 1 to Nov. 30, trailers are prohibited on Hart’s Pass Road beginning at the intersection with the road leading to the River Bend Campground and West Fork Methow Trailhead No. 5400060 to its end at Hart’s Pass.

“The style of trailers has changed over the years,” Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu said. “We’ve had many requests from snowmobilers to allow double-axle trailers on the road.”

Double-axle trailers are allowed on a trial basis, he said.

The single-lane road is narrow, steep and winding, with intermittent turnouts allowing traffic to pass. Drivers frequently must back into turnouts when meeting oncoming traffic.

“Backing a trailer on this road is difficult, and vehicles pulling trailers longer than 20 feet would not completely fit into the turnouts so other vehicles can get by,” Liu said. “If this spring goes well, and we don’t have any safety concerns, I’ll consider extending the change into future years.”

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