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May 31, 2013
Wyoming Snowmobilers Seek Fee Hikes To Fix Trails
Kyle Roernik, Casper Star-Tribune
Money for snowmobiling is melting away, hurting the state’s trails for the vehicles, a snowmobiling group says.
Advocates for the sport are lobbying for state legislation
that would hike the cost of permits up $10 for private riders and $30 for
commercial outfits. The fees would likely raise $400,000 a year to help pay for
the state to maintain
Instead of being a burden on the Wyoming economy, the new
fees would help draw more people to come to Wyoming and spend their money on
registration fees, restaurants, fuel and hotels, said Bert Miller, president of
the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association. If
Snowmobiling brings about $146 million to
“We need to realize that if we want to have a world-class trail system, we have to go along with this,” Miller said.
Fewer people have been snowmobiling in
A boost in revenues would be a boon for the trails division.
Each mile of trail costs more than $19 to groom, costing the state about $1.4
The decrease in riders has cost the state millions in
revenues that would have been used to groom trails,
In addition to the decrease of revenue coming from permits and fuel, another worry for snowmobilers is the potential loss of $800,000 in federal grants from the Department of Transportation after the 2014 season.
Lawmakers on the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee are studying the proposal and heard testimony from snowmobilers across the state last week.
Rep. Allen Jaggi, R-Lyman, was opposed to a raise in fees.
“Snowmobiles bring a lot of revenue to the state,” he said. “But I am concerned that people aren’t getting raises and willing to spend more money.”
Many of the state’s trails are not groomed. Grooming less and spending less would solve the problem, Jaggi said.
“I am not in favor of raising fees because I am in favor of being innovative or living within our means,” he said.
The committee will discuss the proposal at their next interim meeting in August.
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