The “Off Season”?
“So, what do you guys do in the off season?” This question is one of our favorite discussion topics with our guests. The ‘off season’: that mysterious time of year between early November and middle of April when the river rests. This time-frame has transitioned through the years for Penny and Paul as they have become parents and more involved in the community. Beyond preparing for the next river season, Paul and Penny have spread their passion for recreation into some fun community projects.
Fun ‘Off Season’ WWRE videos
Paul is in charge of safety management on the river and in the winter, enjoys his roles with snow-safety management in our community: as Director of Ferguson Ridge Ski Patrol and Board Member for the Wallowa Avalanche Center. ‘Fergi’, as our local ski hill is affectionately called, is a local institution. It’s one of the last remaining community-owned and operated ski hills in the US and every person working at the hill is a volunteer. It boasts 630 vertical feet and a T-Bar up the center. Our community comes out of the wood-work in the winter to play together in the snow. Both Paul and Penny have patrolled there for nearly 10 years now and love it. The best part is seeing the kids learning to ski. And once the backcountry is ready to ski, the Wallowa Avalanche Center crew provides reports on snow conditions important for skier safety.
Penny is helping to create and upgrade community assets for recreation. The first project is the creation of the 63 mile Joseph Branch Rail with Trail from Joseph to Elgin, Oregon. Penny is part of a non-profit, the Joseph Branch Trail Consortium, working with the owners of the railroad, the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority, to develop the first 6 miles of the trail from Joseph to Enterprise. If funding comes through, construction will begin in 2018-19. The trail will be a multi-use non-motorized trail for hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
The second project she is eye-ball deep in is the Joseph City Park Playground Renovation. The Joseph City Park Playground Renovation Committee is working with a playground architecture firm, Play By Design, to design a beautiful, ADA compliant playground for the community. The best part of this project is how much it says about the community Penny and Paul live in. The project involves the community 100% – from the Joseph Kindergarten through 6th graders helping design and fundraise to community volunteers building the playground April 25-30, 2017. Over $50,000 has been raised in our small, rural community and over $140,000 has been raised at the state-wide level. Come help us build the new playground next April 25-30, 2017!