In response to Laurel Brauns' Volume 14 Issue 52 article, "Do Your Homework," first and foremost I applaud the Source for highlighting some of the intrinsic dangers associated with backcountry riding in avalanche terrain and the true necessity of becoming properly educated and practiced in hazard assessment, snowpack evaluation, and companion rescue if your winter recreation (whether on ski, board, snowmo, or snowshoe) takes you into avalanche terrain. However, I do feel there is further clarification necessary associated with the mentioned website, www.coavalanche.org.
The wording within the article and the associated note by Gabe Chladek may leave the reader with a false impression that this site, which belongs to The Central Oregon Avalanche Association (COAA), is simply another addition to a vast array of informal web-based "blogs." In actuality, COAA is a 501c3 non-profit that was established as a result of an identified need to promote increased avalanche awareness and bolster local forecasting opportunities in the Central Oregon vicinity. Our website is one small piece of a much larger effort that includes community avalanche awareness events (for both motorized and non-motorized users) that includes increased distribution of relevant mountain snow and weather data, coordination with entities such as National Weather Service, Forest Service, and National Avalanche organizations to identify the purpose and path to increased forecasting in Central Oregon. COAA is also active in the organization of local for-profit entities to best serve the local community and scholarship opportunities for identified persons to assist in attaining certified avalanche instruction.
COAA operations and efforts are 100 percent nonprofit. Our directors have spent countless volunteer hours in hopes of bolstering awareness, education, and eventually forecasting in Central Oregon. Much as Laurel requests of her readers, COAA has been working since our incorporation to strengthen the backcountry community here in Central Oregon.