Conservation groups want more regulations
Ninety conservation groups with 1.3 million members are petitioning the U.S. Forest
Service to more heavily regulate snowmobiles, according to a published report in Pinedale, Wyo.
The group, led by Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA), wants snowmobiles to have the same regulations as off-road vehicles. Under the proposal, snowmobiles would no longer be exempt from regulations that limit motorized travel to designated areas, trails and roads. A 2005 Travel Management Rule makes that exemption. Along with the repeal of the travel rule, the group also is asking for minimum snow depths for snowmobile operation and for “quiet winter recreation” areas.
“This is a matter of fairness and consistency,” WWA Executive Director Mark Menlove told the Sublette Examiner. “We acknowledge that snowmobiles are a popular winter use and that they have their place on national forest lands. But the current ‘anything goes’ approach to winter management allows one user group to dominate the winter landscape at the expense of all others and it puts fragile winter ecosystems at risk.”
Utah Snowmobile Association Director Curt Kennedy and Wyoming Snowmobile Association President Jeff Moberg are against the proposal, and Moberg noted the regulations are unlikely to change.
“We’re comfortable with the Forest Service,” he said. “We’re comfortable with the fact that they are reasonable people.”
Snowmobile club leads effort to reopen trails
A snowmobile club played a role in the reopening of roads in New York state, according to online reports.
The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation announced the reopening of the dirt roads in area recreation areas. Lily Pond Road in Horicon, Gay Pond Road in Warrensburg and Indian Lake and Otter Brook roads in Indian Lake were reopened thanks to a collaborative effort between the South Warren Snowmobile Club, municipalities and the state, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star.
Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Special Recreation Area (also known as The Buttermilk) was reopened after the South Warren Snowmobile purchased new culverts that the DEC installed on the road. The road doubles as a snowmobile trail in the winter.
Special snowmobile schedule for Yellowstone nears
Roads into the interior of Yellowstone National Park will close to automobile traffic for the winter on Nov. 8 and reopen for snowmobile and snowcoach travel, which begins Dec. 15.
Limited, managed snowmobile and snowcoach travel over groomed, snow-packed park roads will be permitted this season under a temporary plan, which allows up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology snowmobiles a day. PSB