We just went to a meeting on Monday of this week about the new threats to close Mt. Jefferson to snowmobiling, thanks to Montana Senator Jon Tester's proposed Wilderness area that would close huge swaths of public lands to all sorts of activities, including snowmobiling.
And that includes Mt. Jefferson, which we know from personal experience is a great place to snowmobile.
Motorized users, and more specifically snowmobilers, need to generate 500 letters to Idaho's senators stating our opposition to designating Mt. Jefferson as Wilderness. Senator Tester is holding a hearing on his bill on Dec. 17 so we need to write and send our letters right away.
See the attached PDF.
Following is a release from the BlueRibbon Coalition with a little more information on the urgency to get your letters in.
Wilderness Activists Fail to Close Mount Jefferson in Forest Plan - Push Legislation Instead
As you know, BRC, the Idaho State Snowmobile Association (ISSA) and other snowmobile groups have been working to keep Mount Jefferson open for a long time.
The new Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest planning process resulted in a compromise solution that kept most of the popular snowmobile areas open. This compromise represents a hard-fought, and, sadly, uncommon, victory for the snowmobile community.
The anti-snowmobile groups have convinced Senator Jon Tester from Montana to throw that hard-fought compromise down the toilet.
According to Sen. Tester's staff, the intent of the bill is to mirror the Forest Plan and actually opens up snowmobiling areas. Yet, the closure of Mt. Jefferson is a substantial deviation from that plan. The bill would close what the snowmobile community fought so hard to keep open, and it adds insult to injury for anyone to suggest differently.
This is extremely serious. Tester's bill is scheduled for hearings in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests Dec. 17, 2009.
The Idaho State Snowmobile Association has asked BRC to request all its members in Idaho to send a letter to Senator Risch and Senator Crapo asking for their assistance when the bill comes to the Subcommittee.
We've prepared a letter generator to help keep it as easy as possible. Please take a minute to click on the link below and send a letter. Your comments will help, please send your letter today.
After we received that news release from BRC, we got the following shortly after.
Important Mt Jefferson Update - It Just Keeps Getting Worse!
If you haven't yet taken action to oppose Montana Senator Jon Tester's Wilderness bill, we need you TODAY.
Tester's oddly-named Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is NOT a "just Montana" Wilderness bill. Tester's legislation will close the popular Mount Jefferson snowmobile area, and although in Montana, mostly affects Idaho snowmobilers.
Today, we learned that Tester's bill will close the Divide Creek-Weber Lake Trail (#1111). The Weber Lake-Divide Creek Trail #1111 provides a looping opportunity and motorcycle access to two high alpine lakes. The bill creates a Wilderness Area in the Italian Peaks on the Montana side, where the trail travels into Montana for only 0.56 miles. A reroute would be difficult, if not impossible, to construct.
A small change to the proposed boundary would only slightly reduce Wilderness by 55 acres. I wish I could tell you that Senator Tester might consider a boundary adjustment to keep this prized trail open. Although Senate staff indicate changes will be made to keep OHV and mountain bike trails open, not one single word has been changed in the legislation.
Please call Senator Risch immediately. (202) 224-2752. Simply tell whoever answers the phone that you want the Senator to strongly oppose S.1470. Tell Senator Risch to do whatever it takes to save Mount Jefferson and the Divide Creek - Weber Lake Trail.
You can also take advantage of a BRC letter generator here.