Boise, ID - Late Friday afternoon documents were filed in federal court in Idaho which would chart a path forward for winter recreation planning on the Boise, Payette and Bridger-Teton National Forests.
The documents would stay a preservationist lawsuit that was challenging the "Over-Snow Vehicle Use Maps" issued on the forests. Under the stay, which the preservationist plaintiffs have joined in requesting, winter use will proceed in the coming season under the management prescriptions in place in February, 2016, when the challenged maps were issued, as well as any "short-term" orders the forests might release. The forests, in Idaho and Wyoming, have issued news releases, which can be viewed HERE.
A 2017 study by the Boise State University Department of Economics concluded that economic impact of snowmobiling measured by employment, income and output totals roughly $197.5 million annually, with Valley and Ada counties being two of the top three counties in total spending on snowmobiling. Those counties are in close proximity to the Payette and Boise Forests, respectively, while the Bridger-Teton is located near the winter recreation mecca of Jackson, WY.
The BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org (BRC), a recreation advocacy organization, hopes this will be a positive development.
"Perhaps this will allow all involved to focus on planning and effective management of our forests," Jack Welch, BRC's National Snowmobile Ambassador, said. "We have monitored this suit, and believe the Forest Service has skillfully minimized the controversy and public expense this litigation could have created. We look forward to continuing participation as the process moves forward.”