The Great Burn: The Fight To Reopen Goes On

News Sandra Mitchell, Public Lands Director, Idaho State Snowmobile Association

The Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest is doing Forest Planning and this is our GREATEST hope of getting the Great Burn reopened. The Idaho State Snowmobile Association has requested that three areas in the Great Burn be withdrawn from RWA designation and those areas would be opened to snowmobiling and mountain biking.

Remember in Region 1 motorized and mechanized are not allowed in RWAs because they are managed as Wilderness.

The draft alternatives have been released. Alternative Y gives us two out of the three areas. Surveyor is left out. I don't like the idea of Surveyor not being included in alternative "Y" but on balance it does give us two out of the three areas. However, we should continue to oppose this approach and ask for the three special management areas. If the Wilderness advocates were to get a Wilderness bill introduced/passed we would likely lose all three areas forever.

There will be a comment period when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is release (DEIS) later, however I am asking everyone to send an email to Cheryl Probert, Forest Supervisor for the Clearwater NF:

These are draft alternatives so there still could be changes.

Identify yourself as a snowmobiler. Explain briefly why snowmobiling is important to you.

I/we support alternative "Y" but believe Surveyor should be also included and managed for winter motorized use as well. Or put that in your own words. 

Give your name and address. 

Every snowmobiler needs to comment on this issue so spread the word and let's overwhelm the supervisor with e-mails.

Attached are the alternatives.  Alternative X is of course the best but that isn't going to happen. X is one end of the spectrum and Z the other end—the decision will likely come in the middle—at least we hope so.

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