Grooming for games: Truckee Parks crew working to get fields ready
TRUCKEE, Calif. — This winter has been anything but typical, and the parks crew are working overtime to compensate for it.
Since the winter started, Truckee has received more snow than it has during its previous 70 winters, and the region’s snowpack is currently sitting at 233% of normal.
The massive amounts of snow, combined with the longer snow year, has contributed to it not melting as fast as usual, so the parks crew has taken it upon themselves to help the process along by renting a PistenBully machine to help push the snow out of the main areas of Truckee’s parks.
“We are trying to get the snow off a little earlier so we can get these kids out to play,” said Parks Supervisor Bugg Vokel. “There’s a lot of snow to move, and there’s still a lot of snow out there after moving probably about 3 feet of it.”
Because of the amount of snow, it isn’t feasible to move it all, so they have modified their plan to include humus: a dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays. They are going to spread the humus across the surface of the snow, helping to attract the sunlight to the snow with its color, and eventually fertilizing the grass once the snow has melted. In this way, the snow will melt faster, and the grass will grow back quicker than just pushing the snow to the side.
The same theory is being applied to the baseball fields. In the infields where fertilizer is unwanted, crews are going to lay down red sand to attract sunlight that will blend in with the sand under the snow once it melts.
The plan is to start with Truckee River Regional Park, then clear out Ponderosa Golf Course, finishing with Riverview Sports Park if time and conditions allow.
When asked for a timeline on the snowmelt and getting the parks open, Vokel joked “Aw, you’re killing me.” He then responded more seriously, “With this weather, it’s like a heatwave coming through all of a sudden. Stuff does melt a lot faster as long as that sun stays up in the sky and we don’t get many clouds.”
Of course once the snow does melt, there will be a whole new set of projects from the damage it caused. Vokel is confident in his team and their abilities though.
“Everybody has been going above and beyond,” Vokel said. “Even just this PistenBully machine, we had to modify it to fit our needs so we could spread all the humus. We’re welding more panels to fit more humus into these hoppers. We’re fabricating everything and that goes from our mechanic all the way to our specialist, so everybody’s just been working nonstop.”
Source: Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks District
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