April 23, 2007 – Snowmobile Report

Logan Canyon Decision Upheld in Utah
The Logan Canyon in Utah will remain open to snowmobile use, as the U.S. Forest Service rejected an appeal by cross-country ski organizations to close the area.
The area was opened to snowmobile use in 2006. This latest ruling took place on April 4. The area was a part of the revised 2003 forest plan in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in the Franklin Basin/Tony Grove area.
The revision divided 10,000 acres into nonmotorized and motorized zones that balanced competiting interests as well as environmental concerns. The non-motorized groups are weighing their next steps, which could include litigation.
Michigan Fatalities Down For Fourth Season
Michigan snowmobile fatalities have decreased for the fourth year in a row, according to figures released by the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents.
Snowmobile-related fatalities are expected to be down in Ontario and Wisconsin, as well.
According to the Michigan report, 20 people died in snowmobile-related accidents for the 2006-07 season, down from 24 in the season prior. Alcohol was a factor in 62 percent of the fatalities and 70 percent of the accidents happened after dark. The deadliest season in Michigan was 2002-03 with 46 fatalities; the lowest was 1994 with 19 deaths. Association spokesman Gary Mitchell linked a mild winter to this year’s decrease. “There is a direct relationship between snowmobile activity and the amount of snow on the ground,” he said.
Park Service Accepting Yellowstone Comments
The National Park Service will accept comments on its latest version of the winter use plan for Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks and the John D. Rockerfeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Comments will be accepted until May 31.
Citizens are asked to comment on the latest plan for the parks, with the current alternative preferred by the Park Service allowing a daily limit of 720 snowmobiles to enter the park. Other parts of this alternative include mandatory commercial guides, a requirement that snow coaches meet “best available technology”?standards, a daily limit on snow coaches and the closure of Sylvan pass, which is near the Cody, Wyo., area. Other alternatives include a snowcoach-only plan, a no motors plan and a mixture of plowed and unplowed roads. In all, there are six alternatives. Comments are accepted at www.parkplanning.gov. psb

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