Great Burn Comments Needed By Feb. 14

News Sandra Mitchell, Public Lands Director, Idaho State Snowmobile Association
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Again, your comments are needed if we are to restore snowmobiling in the Great Burn. Who should submit comments? Easy, anyone who owns a sled. The Great Burn is part of the HooDoo Roadless area in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

This area is in a Recommended Wilderness Area (RWA) and in Region 1—you know what that means; no motorized or mechanized uses allowed because of their decision to manage RWAs as Wilderness. We have been fighting this issue in the courts and through the administrative policy for years and we cannot give up.

It is possible to get this area reopened and this is the means—Forest Plan Revision. This is simply another opportunity to demonstrate that snowmobilers will not accept the policy or the unnecessary closure of our riding areas.

You need to submit comments and do so before Feb. 14. If you don’t help, who will? If not now, then when?

Send to:

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest

Supervisor’s Office

ATTN: Forest Plan Revision

903 3rd Street

Kamiah, Idaho 83536

Via U.S. Mail

and Via Facsimile: (208) 935-4275

and Via E-Mail: fpr_npclw

RE: Forest Plan Revision Salmon Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest

Short introduction: who you are: snowmobiler who rides in national forests. If you ride or intend to ride in the Great Burn, be sure to mention that.

Pick and choose from the Comments below and add anything else you think appropriate (please feel free to rewrite)

  • The Great Burn should be reopened to snowmobiling. There should be an alternative included in the DEIS that includes the Idaho State Snowmobile Association proposal for removing approximately 19,700 acres from the HooDoo Recommended Wilderness Area. This area, which is less that 10 percent of the RWA, should be managed in way that allows for snowmobiling and mountain biking.
  • The Great Burn is the only sub-alpine area in the forest where there is even the possibility for sledding to exist. There are no groomed access roads or trails and the terrain can be challenging. All of this has great appeal to a certain segment of the snowmobiler community. While some snowmobilers prefer riding on groomed and/or well defined trails, others want a more primitive experience with a combination of challenge and magnificent scenery.
  • The snowmobilers who seek the primitive backcountry experience value it for the same reasons summer users want it: solitude, challenge and appreciation of the spectacular scenery.
  • There are no winter user conflicts in the Great Burn. The only practical way to access the Great Burn in the winter is on a snowmobile. No one who rides the area reports seeing any non-motorized uses.
  • The area is adequately protected under existing laws and the Idaho Roadless Rule that allows for OHV uses.
  • The Great Burn has been accessed by snowmobilers for the past 35 years with no known impact on its resources.
  • The Great Burn is “unique.” To find a comparable area in size and geography that would qualify as a true primitive access, one would have to travel to the Selkirk Mountains adjacent to Revelstoke, BC.
  • Management of Recommended Wilderness Areas as Wilderness is not acceptable. There is no law or policy that requires the Forest Service to do so.
  • The 2012 Travel Plan ROD states that NO evidence of Lynx was found in the Great Burn Area.
  • There is no evidence to support this contention that snowmobiling negatively affects mountain goat populations. Eliminating a legitimate use simply because someone thinks there “may be” a negative impact is simply not good enough. The American people deserve better than that.

Close—thank them for considering your comments and restate your belief that the Great Burn should remain open for snowmobiling.

Make sure you provide your name, address, city, and e-mail address.

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