The Wilderness Society issued the following statement on the U.S. Forest Service proposed rule, released today, for snowmobiles and other over-snow vehicles:
“Today the Forest Service released a draft snowmobile rule for public comment, taking a small step toward improving snowmobile management across the entire national forest system.
As currently drafted, however, this rule will not provide a strong enough management framework for snowmobile use on national forests. It also fails to ensure that future designations protect wildlife, water quality and non-motorized recreationists. With snowmobiles growing in numbers and horsepower, our national forests face increased risk of serious damage to wildlife habitat as well as the serenity that millions of Americans seek on these public lands. It only makes sense that ample tracts of our national forests – in winter and summer – be free from the disturbance from off-road vehicles.
While we favor a balanced approach to recreation in our national forests and we appreciate the Forest Service taking a first step toward addressing the issue, The Wilderness Society will strongly recommend that the final rule clearly define how the Forest Service will protect areas from over-snow vehicles and ensure that national forests are managed in a sustainable manner year-round.”
Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations
The Wilderness Society