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deschutes 01-01-2009 01:58 AM

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Kapka Scoping Letter and Comment Period
The proposed Kapka Sno-Park scoping letter from the FS, and related information, can be found at the following site:

It is VERY IMPORTANT that all Snowmobilers and others with a stake in snowmobiling take the time to send comments to the Forest Service on the proposed Sno-Park. This is not a Central Oregon issue, it is a snowmobiling and backcountry access issue that will have far-reaching and very important implications.

Writing an email will not take you much time, but will definitely help with the proper siting of Sno-Parks in the future and preserve access to existing terrain.

deschutes 01-01-2009 11:30 AM

Here are a few more details on what is going on:

If you snowmobile in the Western US, now is one of those pivotal moments where YOU can take a few minutes and do something for your sport that may have far-reaching implications for a long time to come.

Many of you have heard of the proposed Kapka Butte Sno-Park in Central Oregon. Briefly, this is a proposed Sno-Park slated to be built on the South side of Century Drive/Cascade Lakes Highway at the Sunriver intersection. You can see the proposed location at the bottom center of this map:

While new Sno-Parks would normally always be welcome, Kapka may actually do us more harm than good. Much or most of the riding in the Central Oregon region (Tumalo, Moon, Three Creeks, Elk Lake, etc.) is accessed from the north side of the highway. The ONLY way to cross the highway is via a tunnel towards the East. This will impact early and late season riding, as the elevation change affects the quality of snow cover. Additionally, it will create a huge chokepoint with all traffic from Wanoga, Edison and Kapka Sno-Parks having to use the same trails to cross the highway and head back west. This poses a potential safety hazard and will likely make the trail almost unbearably rough during heavy traffic periods.

Perhaps most disturbing is the posture already taken by various groups that want to shut down motorized access to Dutchman and riding in areas north of the highway. Their logic is that with all motorized Sno-Parks located on the south side of the highway it only makes sense to make Tumalo and other locations motorized-free areas for skiers, etc. While I do not agree with the logic, it does give them an opportunity to make a case for this.

These are only a few of the implications, many we might not even know about. The only plan that makes sense is to abandon the current Kapka proposal and push for an expansion of Dutchman Sno-Park. This will:

Use an existing Sno-Park resource
Keep the high-country accessible
Keep Elk Lake Lodge viable and easily accessible
Lower traffic on main trails, rather than raise it
Use an existing "hub" that disperses backcountry users more efficiently
Prevent a whole new Sno-Park from being built (saves expense, the removal of hundreds of trees, etc.)
Preserve Owl Habitat in the Kapka site area
Protect existing riding areas from closure
Dovetail with the Mt Bachelor winter use area (the ski area is across the street from Dutchman)

You may think that this is not your fight, or it is just a local issue. Well, you are wrong. If this plan goes through it will set a precedent and embolden groups to seek more non-motorized areas elsewhere. Your input is CRUCIAL.

PLEASE take a little time to review the documentation, located via the link below, and send an email to the Forest Service opposing the construction of Kapka and supporting expansion of Dutchman Sno-Park. Make sure your email is logical, unemotional, well written and has an overall positive tone. We do not want to seem ungrateful for the work done so far, or come off as being extreme. When communicating with the Forest Service it is best to pose a solution, rather than coming across as being negative. Additionally, please try to put your name and address on the letters. A separate letter from each person in your household would be great.

Your sport and fellow riders need your help.

Information Located at:


Tedd 01-01-2009 02:49 PM

Everyone please take the time to send in a well written and unemotional comment to the Forest Service regarding this proposal. We need everyones help with this. A SAWS Alert is forthcoming regarding this situation. As stated in the above mentioned information, a lot of hard work was put in by many individuals over the years to get Kapka Butte snow park up and rolling and at the time this was what everyone felt was the best solution to the ongoing issues on Mt. Bachelor. Let's not forget to thank the folks that did this work. Unfortunately after all of this hard work was put into the project, opinions have changed about the proposal and a different direction is needed.

Maul 01-12-2009 09:06 PM

letter sent

deschutes 01-25-2009 10:47 PM

Less than a week left to send your letters out. You could get a sweet discount on Klim gear for writing a letter. See the following for info:

snowmobiler 01-31-2009 12:50 AM


deschutes 02-07-2009 08:15 PM

From the DTF:

Thank you so much to all the people who took the time to write letter to the Forest Service about this issue. If you did not write (shame on you) but not all is lost. There will be another comment period in the near future.

What will happen next is the FS will review all the comments and put the findings together in some form of a document. This document will be put out for another comment period to narrow the scope of the issues. We are hoping the FS will truly look at the issues, and not just make a move based on past decisions. We are very lucky to have new leadership with the FS and we should all look forward to a productive relationship with the new leaders.

We will keep this forum updated with what is happening with this issue. Please drop us an email if you would like to be put on our mailing list. Our emails are sometimes spirited and most of the time just informational. There is no one making any money from our efforts and all the people who are involved are donating their time and resources. Thanks to all of them.

Dutchman Task Force

DLynn 10-21-2009 03:41 PM

Update 10.21.2009
Sorry for the long time between updates. The Forest Service told us last Tuesday 10/13/2009 that the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) should be back and open for review by late December or January. There will be another 45 day comment period when it does arrive. I have heard some rumblings about Dutchman Snow Park and how it will be impacted. I will hold on that statement until I read it in the EIS.

Remember that Kapka Sno-Park is only one piece of a larger picture that includes the take over of Tumalo Mountain in the Mount Bachelor area by the Back Country Skiers. (This is my personal opinion) You can read their web site to see what they have in mind.
At one point we had the written support of Oregon State Snowmobile Association that they would not support Kapka if Dutchman was impacted in anyway. They hold a small market share of the public however they do get listened to by the FS. We must change that relationship to include all snowmobilers.

Stay tuned and put the word out to as many people as possible. We have to come together as a large group and show our power. Get involved with and watch for SAWS announcements on the issues. We all have to help fight each others battles and show the leadership we mean business. SAWS will be watching to see if there is any proposed closure of Dutchman Sno-Park to motorized users. Here's the SAWS Action Alert from January 2009: For further clarification on their opinion contact your local SAWS reps.

Thanks again to SAWS and for everyone's help.
More to come soon.

Bend, OR

24drnkz 10-22-2009 02:21 PM

Thanks D for the update. I'm excited to see what the FS findings are in the coming months. My letter was sent months ago, I hope mine as well as everyone else's brings some thoughts and issues to light. We CANNOT let the greenies win this battle:eek:

2walla 10-25-2009 02:33 PM

Snowshoe and x country skiers
We ended up with the area at andies prairie in the tollgate system as a non-motorized area- It went from a nice area with everyone utilizing to now being unused as the reality is there are very few people who want to xcountry ski in 3 feet of powder and most snowshoers don't go more than a mile or so away from their car. People I talk to sking or snowshoeing on the groomed snowmobile trail complain that there is no trail in the "non-motorized" area for them to use. I would encourage every snowmobiler to fight the small specialized interest groups trying to limit motorized recreation. These people are pretty well orginized and will end up screwing us all..

Oregongirl 10-25-2009 10:50 PM

SAWS position
SAWS is not in the business of promoting or opposing sno-parks. SAWS charter is clearly defined to oppose more Wilderness designations and keep lands open to sledding. NOT trail sledding, but acreage for cross country travel.

So, the Kapka Butte Sno-park issue, for SAWS, is tied directly to land grab that has been on-going for longer than I personally have been a snowmobiler. The grab for Moon Country, Tumalo....essentially all the land north of the Cascade Lakes Highway. It is our belief that IF Dutchman is closed to motorized access (remember - Dutchman is the last remaining sno-park on the north side of they highway) then it's only a matter of time until the anti-motorist movement makes another run at closing what is still open to snowmobiles between the Three Creeks area and Moon Country.

As an organization we are opposed to the designated usage changes to Dutchman sno-park because of the bigger picture. It's not about where you park's about where you are allowed to ride tomorrow.

defysgravity 10-26-2009 09:52 AM

Has there ever been a study done to see what and where the different users do and where they go??? This should be key when any modification is done to "adjust" the land for different users.
I was in on this fight in 04 and 05 when Schoening cow toed to Wild Wilderness and the Backcountry group based on safety and closed the north half of Tumalo and Dutchman. When I asked this very question it did not want to be answered because the answer was no.
Very few non motorized users go past the end of Dutchman except on blue bird days when the snow has set up. Even fewer people leave the five mile radius of Dutchman with the exception of going down hill to the lower snow parks.
This very sad scenario is playing out just like everyother. The extremists will play along and agree to an option, but when the reality of the option starts to break ground, they will oppose it and do all they can to stop it.
Good luck guy's, but I think you need to get that survey done because it will support your position and show the extremists in their true light and as the minority.

Oregongirl 10-26-2009 11:42 AM

I'll have to defer to DLynn on the survey question. I do know that the FS has reported ZERO user conflicts in recent years and that some nordic clubs in the Bend area have NO issues with the sledding community. It is a minority group that is pushing for Dutchman's closure.

One of SAWS concerns is that the FS is able, by law, to IMMEDIATELY close an area to safety concerns with NO PUBLIC COMMENT. The last information we had on this was that the trail to the north side of the highway from Kapka would be through a tunnel. That tunnel would serve all users....sleds, skiers, snow-shoers, dog sleds. That seems like a safety issue to me. So, what? It's designed to fail? What user group do you think would be targeted in a safety-related agenda??

defysgravity 10-26-2009 02:17 PM

Well....5 years ago the answer was the motorized group and still is. Even when no accidents have been reported.
Problem is, FS takes all complaints at face value, whether true or not and the extremists know how to be creative when writing up these complaints about user conflict.
In 04, we had the backing of some of the nordic clubs and many were at the meeting supporting us.
Over 70 supporters of multiple use at the meeting to Dale Neubauer of Wild Wilderness's 2 supporters of closing the area.....Democracy at it's finest.
These situations are a social conflict and need to be treated as such where both sides have something to gain and something to lose.
A "traffic" study needs to be done.

DLynn 10-27-2009 07:35 PM

Thanks for getting involved. The major problem we are fighting is that the FS has been listening to OSSA for years and they have been the only voice. This is not OSSA fault but snowmobilers fault for not getting involved to a greater degree. With that said I will state that OSSA is only interested in getting Kapka Butte Sno-Park built and Dutchman Sno-Park is on the back burner and subject to be used as a chip the get the job done. They have rolled over to the FS every time there has been an issue.

You are correct that only a very few people want Dutchman closed to motorized use. It is the Back Country Skiers ( There is several other sites by different names but run by the same type of NON SHARING people. Everyone wants to be 35 minutes from downtown Bend and have know one else be at the mountain when you arrive.

Snowmobiles arrive and leave Dutchman Sno-Park and very few ever stick around. 99% head for the high country. As for traffic study's, that might just bring the truth to the surface. Look at Kapka Butte location and ask yourself about traffic disasters in the making.

Please get involved with SAWS and express your feeling to OSSA via their web site about what you believe is best for the sport. (

Thanks again

DLynn 01-09-2010 10:46 AM

We have a TUG meeting with the FS on Tuesday 1/12/2010. I hope to get the latest update from the FS. My last communication was several weeks ago and the word on the street is the EIS should be out for review by the end of the month 2/1/2010. These issues happen so slowly it really is hard to stay on top of them. We hope you are all ready to jump in and help keep Bend on the map for snowmobiling. The take over of riding area is a sickness that is happening everywhere. It's up to us to help slow it down.
Look hard at who is really fighting the issues. SAWS is the place to put your donations as far as I am concerned. OSSA has no history of fighting any land use issues, and the FS goes with the pressure and the flow.
There is only so much land available and we all have to learn to share.

Thank you all again for your support. Next week we could all be in your back yard.


clutch man 06-09-2010 07:42 PM

We will be coming up to another comment period in the middle to late July.
I will keep you posted.
At the tug meeting on June 8th we got in to some very heated discussion about Dutchmen parking lot (restricting it to 22ft and closing it to snowmobilers in mid season). Plus they were talking about moving trail 7 down trail 5 to the tree line to move us out of the flats and take all that from us but give us some at the end where the trail goes back in to the trees. :hurt:
The part that bothered me the most and Shane said it more than once, with us getting a new big snow park (kapka)the other user groups are pushing them to close Dutchmen to all motorized use. We can not let this happen. IMO so this does not happen we have to stop Kapka from being built.

clutch man 11-25-2010 08:21 AM

Hello DTF Members;
We have had a growing spurt this year and it is great to see more out door users taking a more active stance when it comes to land use issues. This is an issue that effects all of us and needs to be worked on continually. Washington DC is working to do what it thinks is best for the public without regard to what is best for the people who use the forests. Sadly the Forest Service is just another arm of the Federal machine.

The time has come to take a stand on Dutchman / Kapka snow parks and put a stop to the wasteful planning and spending that has been going on in the past. We need to kill the Kapka project and put the money and efforts into a snow park (Dutchman) that the public really wants and desperately needs. We are putting a petition drive together and will be asking you and all forest users to express their support in Expanding Dutchman snow park and putting Kapka to bed once and for all. We hope to get OSSA support in this matter also.

Below is a letter from Jay Walsh who represents Elk Lake Resort and is a great example of what the public is trying to say. This was a response to last weekends parking issues at the mountain (November 21, 2010) We just hope the Forest Service will listen. If not I hope the tax paying public will listen and demand change.

Support those who support us. SAWS

More to come soon.:frusty:


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