Final policy for managing over-snow vehicle use

Let winter travel planning begin.  Not something the Forest Service wanted to do, but the result of a court decision that found the Forest Service incorrectly exempted snowmobiles from the travel planning regulations.  Here is the new regulation and a news article.

Over-snow vehicle use on National Forest System roads, on National Forest System trails, and in areas on National Forest System lands shall be designated by the Responsible Official …

After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated for over-snow vehicle use pursuant to 36 CFR 212.81 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on an over-snow vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate an over-snow vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations…

This will require analysis of effects of allowing over-snow use in places where that hasn’t been through a NEPA or ESA process.

And let the collaboration begin:

Chad Sluder, president of the Sawtooth Snowmobile Club based in the central Idaho town of Bellevue, said his club of 75 members would take an active part in that process.  “We don’t want to lose any more ground, and if it comes to that we will fight it to the end,” Sluder said. “It’s the ongoing battle between the skiers and snowmobilers. They don’t want us there and we have every right to be there.”

Off course, even Wilderness boundaries don’t seem to make a difference (see article).

U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers caught nine snowmobilers illegally riding in two separate wilderness areas recently.


1 thought on “Final policy for managing over-snow vehicle use”

  1. Gifford Pinchot (and Pres. Theodore Roosevelt) at the beginnings of the US Forest Service and the national forest system a hundred years ago said these lands were for the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the long run.

    More and more, these lands have very specific purposes, are for the very few, and, given today’s short-sighted political world, nobody knows what the long run even means. Wilderness and roadless lands – those are for those who are able-bodied, have the time, and the means. Now we are to “save” certain lands for special uses and off-limits to other users? We are making more and more of these these lands (lands owned by EVERY American citizen) towards the usage by the few. There seems to something rather elitist about all this and Mr. Pinchot would probably roll over in his grave to see the state of our federal forest system.


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