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Ashton/Island Park Ranger District Winter Travel Regulations In Effect

Published online: Nov 29, 2012 News
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Caribou-Targhee National Forest winter travel regulations for eastern Idaho's Ashton/Island Park Ranger District went into effect Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, the day after the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

The official Travel Map for the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District describes winter travel opportunities for both winter cross-country use and winter designated routes. This map along with the snowmobile map produced by the Island Park Chamber of Commerce shows winter recreationists groomed snowmobile trails; groomed cross-country ski trails, areas with seasonal closures and areas closed to protect wildlife winter ranges or designated Wilderness. Maps may be obtained through the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District or the Island Park Chamber of Commerce.

Light snow conditions may still allow passenger vehicle traffic on National Forest roads open to summer motorized travel. Vehicle travel will be allowed until snow depth prevents cars and trucks from using the roadways or Fremont County begins snowmobile trail grooming. Roads maintained by Fremont County are not open to snowmobile use.

Most of the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District is open to winter cross-country motorized use. However, there are a few areas displayed on the map in purple hues that are closed to winter cross-country motorized use. The area known as Big Bend Ridge is closed to winter cross-country use until Jan. 1 for the security of the elk and deer migrating to their winter range west of the Forest. Another large area closed to over-snow motorized vehicles is an area from the south side of the Island Park Reservoir east to Henrys Fork River, south to Highway 20 and Green Canyon Road. This area is the Thurmon Ridge area and Harriman State Park. Winegar Hole Wilderness and Jedediah Smith Wilderness are closed to snowmobile use.  

People recreating on snowmachines are asked to be respectful of private property. The groomed snowmobile trails in Fremont County depend on the approval of private land owners to allow the trail to cross their property to connect the trails to the National Forest. Unless identified as a designated route, users should always ask before entering private property. Trespassing or inappropriate behavior could result in a loss of easement trail privileges, affecting connectivity of the trail system for Ashton and Island Park.

Persons should be aware of avalanche conditions before planning their outing, for Wyoming information contact (307) 733-2664. Having a sound plan, providing someone at home your itinerary could prevent tragedy. To report an avalanche observation call (307) 739-2607. If you need information for the north end of the district or you have any snowpack or avalanche observations, drop a line to mtavalanche@gmail.com or call (406) 587-6984.

For more information on winter recreation opportunities on the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District, contact either the Ashton Ranger Station at (208) 652-7442 or Island Park Ranger Station at (208) 558-7301.