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Old 10-10-2017, 04:44 PM
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Default MONTANA Sledders/WE NEED YOUR ACTION

Fellow Sledders,

This weekend I received an email from Stan Spencer (President of Backcountry Sled Patriots) advocating for our rights as snowmobilers. Stan has been doing this for quite some time and is extremely educated on the "ins and outs" of the Forest Service and their less than appropriate acts of "wilderness closures". NOW is the time to engage with Senator Daines as our "VOICE" to congress about RWA's (Recommended Wilderness Area) and WSA's (Wilderness Study Area).

Here is a little more info from Stan:

RE: First off a RWA is short for a "recommended wilderness area". This is the designation the Forest Service uses when they decide to propose an area for Congress to consider designating as a Wilderness. NO MOTORIZED OR MECHANIZED USES ALLOWED IN A CONGRESSIONALLY DESIGNATED WILDERNESS area.. Now a RWA is bound by Forest Planning rules to protect "social and ecological values of the area . Nothing states motorized needs to be banned, however the Forest Service policy in Region One is to manage RWA's as Wilderness...period. The Forest Service knows that Congress is loath to designate new wilderness areas so the region one policy creates de facto wilderness that can go into perpetuity. They do an end run around Congress. Unfortunately the way the law is structured that is not illegal...just dead wrong.

WSA's are "wilderness study areas" Pretty much the same issues as RWA's. The significant difference is WSA's on Forest Service land in Montana were created by Congressional action in 1977. These areas allowed uses that existed in 1977, however in 2011 the 9th Circuit Appeals court overturned Judge Malloys 2001 affirmative decision and said the Forest Service can "enhance .wilderness characteristics". This means they can ban motorized use. And they are, with a vengeance. There are about 900,000 acres in Forest Service WSA designation in Montana and a ton more on BLM land . Most BLM WSA's allow snowmobiling. Montana has about 3,000,000 acres designated as wilderness. This number excludes all RWA designated areas.

So this brings us to where we are today. We have lobbied Sen. Daines for some time to hear our issues and try help us keep RWA's and WSA's open to motorized as long as that use does not harm "social and ecological values". He has become a strong advocate for us. He understands the issues. He is hoping to further a legislative action in the near future to incorporate language that ALLOWS HISTORIC USES that do not diminish "social and ecological values of a RWA. He is also working on a legislative action to radically change the WSA structure in Montana but that is separate from the RWA language revision and is down the road. The benefit of sending the letter of support is the strong potential of getting closed RWA's open to snowmobiling and other mechanized uses (game carts etc.) and preventing new RWA designations from banning all motorized and mechanized uses. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Sample letter to send to Senator Daines:. Change as you see fit.

Dear Senator Daines:
Thank you for your efforts on trying to revamp the Forest Service policy (Region One) of managing Recommended Wilderness Areas (RWA) as de facto wilderness. This policy has become a blatant end run around Congressional intent. All Forest Service regions must follow the same management guidelines.
I fully support your actions. I also believe we need to be good stewards of the land end ensure our activities do not diminish the "social and ecological values" of a RWA. This includes both motorized and non-motorized users. It is important to note, as an example, that snowmobiling leaves no tracks after the snow melts. This motorized use has less impact on the environment than many summer non-motorized uses such as horseback access.
Public land should be open to multiple use. The Forest Service needs to protect and manage its land for all citizens, and not just protect access for a single category of users.
Thank you
Signature___________
Address__________

Send email to:
Spenser_Merwin@daines.senate.gov

//BREAK//

I have attached my letter in a little more formal process. To simplify you can use either, as you see fit. Just a quick copy and paste with your information and signature. Please take the time to send a letter to Senator Daines. We need to FIGHT THIS FIGHT!! Please push this out to whoever you see fit. Thank you for your time.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf The Honorable Steve Daines.pdf (117.6 KB, 13 views)
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for the post!! I sent mine and forwarded it on to all my friends. Maybe the moderators could move this to general snowmobiling?? Would get many more views. Thanks Glen
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:14 AM
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Default CONFIRMATION

Just letting you all know that I have received confirmation from Senator Daines, with a "thumbs up" email. Additionally, I pushed one up to Congressman Greg Gianforte and received an actual "letter" back from him. I think the more we engaged with this administration, the better off we will be. At least for the next few years.
Also a special thank you to our Idaho partners who are working on their own issues at hand. Let's go get em folks.
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