By Snowmobile Alliance of Western States
In November the Payette National Forest finally released its winter travel plan and signed the Record of Decision, only about two years later than originally anticipated. Snowmobilers lost a total 15,170 acres of riding area. The main areas are Bear Basin, Granite/Slab Butte and west of Lick Creek Rd.
SAWS worked with the Idaho State Snowmobile Association to make alterations to these three areas but it appears that none of the modifications were incorporated into the final decision. A summary of what SAWS and ISSA proposed and what happened is:
- Granite/Slab Butte - 485 acres west of the road and 2,260 acres east of the road we proposed for remaining open were closed (seasonal)
- Bear Basin - 1,006 acres we proposed for remaining open were closed
- Lick Creek - 4,703 acres we proposed to remain open were closed
- Hitt Mountain - 765 acres opened to snowmobiling (in the DEIS, I don't remember any discussion about it other than it was a ridiculous closure in the first place)
IRC, ISSA and SAWS will be getting together to discuss if an appeal is necessary.