By Marsha Kennedy
Idyllwild Snow Group
The effectiveness of new county road signs and the Idyllwild Snow Group’s Facebook campaign was given a test two weekends ago, as Idyllwild received a large influx of people who came up expecting snow. Here’s a sampling of reports from residents:
“I was shocked to see so many snow-play visitors in town, and when I drove down off Hill around noon yesterday the incredible parade of cars coming up overwhelmed me. On top of that, I witnessed another constant parade of looky-loos, driving on my own street, just looking for places to play. I had never seen that before!”
“Town was crowded, more than on a regular winter weekend. They came up anticipating snow.”
“People started sledding down the middle of county park road this morning (on ice, not snow). I had to get out and tell them that was not safe. They said, ‘But the park charges.’ The children’s mother added, ‘I’m watching for cars.’ Geez ...”
“No evidence of people being on our property this weekend. We seem to have more remaining snow than most, so I’m surprised. Maybe the street signs worked.”
“The new signs at Humber Park Trailhead worked great, however, I noticed it did push people further up where they parked all over above the signs in the Forest Service area.”
On our Facebook page there was a variety of comments from folk both on and off the Hill. One flatlander stated, “I’ve learned to just take chances, go high enough you’ll get snow ... there are lots of public areas you can go.” By “public areas” does she mean, “people’s yards?”
There also was this colorful response to our post that Caltrans required tire chains: “F--- chains… f--- it start drifting around them corners. We all gonna die one day you can’t stop that … so just take a risk.”
Meanwhile, Saturday and Sunday the Snow Group was busy responding to questions and posting updates on the Facebook page Idyllwild Snow. We also posted messages on a high-traffic Hemet Facebook page about our lack of snow and about Caltrans tire chain requirements. We know that thousands saw our posts, and we know we persuaded some not to come up.
The problem remains, however, that thousands more in Hemet, the Coachella Valley and Banning still haven’t heard that Idyllwild just doesn’t have much to offer to those looking for snow play. With several inches of snow in the forecast for next weekend, snow-play visitors will likely descend upon us in droves.
It’s imperative that we reach larger numbers of potential snow-play visitors to educate them and to adjust their expectations. Indeed, it will take a village to do it.
This weekend, residents need to place their signs in their yards or berms. If you are on social media, please share our Facebook Idyllwild Snow posts with any group off the Hill of which you are a member.
If you notice any trespassing or illegal parking, call the sheriff or CHP. We must turn our situation into numbers they record and count.
Please visit Facebook pages Idyllwild Snow and Idyllwild Snow For Locals. Our web site is idyllwildsnow.com.