(ED—Following is a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity, not exactly a friend of snowmobiling. Just one more example of what we're up against. When you read it, remember to consider the source. In fact, we cut the press release in about half because reading it just about made our head explode. The only reason we're presenting as much as we are is to make snowmobilers aware so they can get involved in the process.)
Sacramento, Calif. - A new legal agreement between conservation groups and the U.S. Forest Service requires the agency to fully assess the impacts of snowmobiles on wildlife, plants and quiet recreation in five California national forests—the Stanislaus, Eldorado, Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen—within the next two years.
The agreement settles a lawsuit that challenged the Forest Service's practice of avoiding detailed environmental review on these national forests in the central and northern Sierra and southern Cascades by issuing "categorical exclusions"—decisions that avoid environmental review—and relying on outdated environmental studies for its snowmobile trail-grooming program in California.
Snowmobiles are extremely noisy and polluting. The Environmental Protection Agency found in 2002 that one snowmobile can emit nearly as much pollution as 100 passenger cars; and in 2008, a report by the Congressional Research Service found that in one hour, a new-model snowmobile emits as much hydrocarbon as a 2008 model automobile emits in about four years—54,000 miles—of driving. Snow compaction, noise and related stress can do serious harm to wildlife.