Backcountry United: An Open letter to the Snowmobile Industry.

Big10inch

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Have fun painting me as the enemy and twisting what I say into something you can attack on the internet. Did I ever say addressing loud cans ALONE will change things? Actually I said something quite different.

You have no idea. If you can get past your bitterness look me up. I'm a good ally.





Maybe you should start considering some different tactics instead of the same old, worn out, failed mantras of the past.


I am simply trying to get you guys to redirect your energy towards some things that may actually work.


My point is, loud cans are not the issue, that is a lie told to you by the opposition, plain and simple. Look how effective that lie has been at keeping sledders from joining forces. That is where you are playing into their hands.


I do not consider you the enemy. I do not think anybody who rides a sled to ride, is the enemy. If we have ANY chance of beating back the onslaught of land closures though, we MUST change up the game plan. Nobody seems to want to go there though. We just try more of the same, and it simply is not working. You can see it isn't working right?
 

kidwoo

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If we have ANY chance of beating back the onslaught of land closures though, we MUST change up the game plan. Nobody seems to want to go there though. We just try more of the same, and it simply is not working. You can see it isn't working right?

I know you saw this part of my earlier post because you agreed with it.

What has worked?

Bringing facts to the table. Pointing out the flaws and abundant mis-citations of all the research so often cited regarding water quality, plant and animal habitat, lists of all the non-motorized trailheads in an area to prove that there's no lack of 'quiet recreation', documentation of lies or outright ignorance some of these groups present..... It's not that hard it just takes time. Does it work every time?



Right now the Stanislaus National Forest is considering modifying a current management designation they call 'near natural'. It's basically one of these pre-wilderness designations that they then manage as Wilderness. In fact they have a proposal out right now in a DEIS that has portions of these near natural areas designated for sleds. It may not be a gain in your eyes but it's at least a reclamation of a previous loss, and certainly a prevention of its growth. Loud cans have never even been a part of that discussion, and to pretend that I'm sitting here saying that cans are the end all be all of land use is just misrepresenting what I've said.

You'll be pleased to know that the website/group in my signature was formed by people saying the exact same thing you keep saying in this thread: old methods aren't working, and the continued loss of riding areas is evidence of that. We're trying to do things a little differently. And yes part of that is having very active skiers who use sleds for access. Because no one can call bull**** on a supposed backcountry skier group like other skiers when it comes to farcical claims.

We've got 6 different forests out here who are the first to start implementing the subpart C OSV management. It's coming your way. You can continue your fight (and for the third time, contact me, I'd like to help), or you can sit on the sidelines and criticize only a partial picture of what's going on because there's no way I can paint the complete one here on snowest.

Either way, it will be a lot of years before I throw my hands up on this. If you've bowed out, that's fine. I'd certainly like to learn from your experience in an ogoing effort to do things differently. Like you said, this stuff is brutal on time demands. I WISH I only spent 20 hours a week on it. But I'm not giving up and I'm not going to sit here and listen to you tell me I'm making all the same old mistakes when you honestly have no idea what I'm doing. I need help, not a bunch of booing from a disinterested peanut gallery at this point. I already agree with you that things need to be done differently. And that we need to work together. So let's do that now.
 
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justinkredible56

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Hey kidwoo how do we help you guys?

I’ve never ridden the Sierra Nevadas but I’d hate to never have the option.

I’d like to help/support people that are standing up for snowmobilers.
 

Big10inch

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Loud cans have never even been a part of that discussion, and to pretend that I'm sitting here saying that cans are the end all be all of land use is just misrepresenting what I've said.





No necessarily you, although it is in your signature here...


Reading this thread should tell you what a massive uphill battle you have to just get OUR side educated. The "open letter" had a couple of decent points in it but it was mostly garbage ideas. Then the guy who runs the biggest sled forum in the world supports those dumb ideas. Followed by a host of chimers in who are so lost they try to apply the loud can problem or crossing imaginary lines problem to me, even though I have probably done more to help them than they have ever done for themselves or any of the rest of us.


I just do not think I can stomach jumping back in. It is a fight on BOTH sides because of so much misinformation. I know most on our side mean well but it seriously backfires when we start talking avy safety and land use. People on our side are almost as brainwashed to the truth as the opposition, which is exactly how they want it.


I will not pretend I have the answers. I can only speak from my experiences with these folks. I do know that a forum like this would be a GREAT place to start the campaign of truth and facts but I doubt management is having any of that. I feel like if you can't get our side to present a cohesive intelligent message, you are screwed. My experience is, not nearly enough sledders are willing to participate for your efforts to be successful. By all means, continue to fight the good fight, just understand how incredibly fruitless and disappointing it may be in the end.


Jon from the industry has NO IDEA what it is really going to take to make a difference, his letter takes us backwards and we are all dumber for just having read it. I honestly believe that if any of you support most of what you read in that letter, you have become part of the problem.


Ten years ago I was willing to fight pretty hard for my rights. Now I am more inclined to just hide in my little corner of the mountains and play catch me if you can. By the time they get it all shut down I will be too old to ride anymore anyway and the rest will have gotten what they deserved for not paying attention.


I am more and more of the mind everyday that some serious civil disobedience is going to be the only way our small group is going to display a large enough voice to finally be heard. Pretty sure we wont get that to happen either since it involves far to much risk for most. Logic and reason isn't likely to get us back anything. Honestly it has been tried over and over without positive outcomes. The people we/you are up against rarely give a rats a$$ about logic and reason. With them, the end (of snowmobiles) justifies any action necessary to achieve that goal. It unfortunately is an almost impossible battle to win...

So GOOD LUCK kiwi, you are going to need it.


I am happy to support any efforts that make sense but probably only from a keyboard anymore. Propositions to appease, compromise or give away our rights and freedoms, even to make seemingly stupid decisions, will probably be met with my typical sarcastic dissent though...
 
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Dogmeat

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https://youtu.be/_yEijN-vYqc

The moral of the story is, if you have to work this hard to rationalize putting obnoxious cans on your machines just stop riding and sell them now, you've already lost the war for us. There are quite a few people who donate time and money trying to keep this form of recreation going, and you are sh*tting all over us and our efforts.
 
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kidwoo

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Hey kidwoo how do we help you guys?

I’ve never ridden the Sierra Nevadas but I’d hate to never have the option.

I’d like to help/support people that are standing up for snowmobilers.

You ride up stuff here 24 hours after a storm and the mountain doesn't chase you down the hill. It's kind of nice. Just gotta get it quick before that sweet sweet california sun goes nuts on it. But then again that heals any weirdness in the snowpack too.

Check out the webpage in my signature and click on the "stanislaus" tab. There are a few links in there to get you started. But for right now, just submit a comment along the lines of "I'd like to visit the riding areas off Hwy 4 and Hwy 108 to ride all the areas traditionally open to snowmobile use"

PM me with any questions of course. Thanks man!
 

Mafesto

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I can understand the frustration and burnout, the feeling that nothing you do as an individual makes a significant difference.
We are a lucky group of people because we do have many people willing to keep fightint for us!
AT THE VERY MINIMUM, we all should be members of our local and or state snowmobile associations.
Even if you don't do anything more than donate, that still helps.

If you refuse to do that much, then you don't deserve a sport as wonderful as snowmobiling.
 

Big10inch

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https://youtu.be/_yEijN-vYqc

The moral of the story is, if you have to work this hard to rationalize putting obnoxious cans on your machines just stop riding and sell them now, you've already lost the war for us. There are quite a few people who donate time and money trying to keep this form of recreation going, and you are sh*tting all over us and our efforts.





Do you have brain damage? Or have you just not been reading what has transpired here? Maybe it is just a case of limited reading and comprehension skills...


It isn't loud cans that are losing us land. Kiwi posted that in his current land use battle the subject has not even come up. I stated that in one of my past battles we easily defeated that dumb argument.


You need to update your sorry game bud. That is a valid argument in the flatlands where you ride private property. I understand people not wanting to hear sleds ripping past at 60 mph after they graciously donated the use of their land. Out west these are public lands, nobody lives there, the little bit of extra sled noise IS NOT what is closing access.


Cling to the lie if you must but it makes you sound ignorant to anybody who has actually been involved with these issues first hand.
 

Big10inch

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I can understand the frustration and burnout, the feeling that nothing you do as an individual makes a significant difference.
We are a lucky group of people because we do have many people willing to keep fightint for us!
AT THE VERY MINIMUM, we all should be members of our local and or state snowmobile associations.
Even if you don't do anything more than donate, that still helps.

If you refuse to do that much, then you don't deserve a sport as wonderful as snowmobiling.



I dunno...


I no longer support CSA here in Colorado. I think they mean well but the number of times I felt sold out by them became overwhelming. I used to go to a LOT of meetings with Janel the VP trying to keep land open but they ended up deciding to compromise and lose more than I could stand to support. Kind of like supporting the NRA for gun rights. They are not exactly the best choice, they make an awful lots of mistakes IMO.


If you think they have your best interest in mind, go for it. It might be productive, it might not. Be careful what you support. I could make you a list of what has been given away in Colorado by those you think we should support...


I know you guys mean well but thus far only Kiwi has acknowledged the need to change how we go about this. The old ways are continuing to cost us land and support of our own.


The loud can thing is one of the best examples. I rode stock cans for years, I was the ONLY one of at least 20 regularly using the area to do so. Do you see how many you have alienated by trying brow beat your own over what is truly a non issue. Getting sledders to band together is one of the biggest obstacles we face. Telling them what they can and can not do is at the root of that problem. What I see time and again on this forum is people like dogfood dividing the ranks. Whether it is how you carry avy gear/or not, choose to risk it crossing imaginary lines in the snow, have a loud can, or any number of other dumb ideas to try and appease the other side, that is what is killing us. It isn't the fact that people are people and those things are happening, it is the notion that controlling and regulating it, suggesting mandatory this and that is EXACTLY why we fail to come together. You folks engaged in trying to control your peers need to realize that you just might be hurting your own cause by doing so.
 

jdrmx

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Ive been riding bikes, sleds, jetskis, most of my life. Theres always someone to complain and willing to take it to the next level. They will never be satisfied no matter what we do. (think trump) No matter how correct and honest it is, there is a group that hates it so bad they will never quit. However we have to try and put them hot fires out or they will get the upper handquickly.


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Thanks Jon for bringing these issues to light and once again starting a conversation for all users to chime in to.

Some interesting mindsets in here.

Here is some information I found useful to start educating myself on/about:

Breakdown of the millions and millions of dollars spent on snowmobiling in the State of Idaho - Plus a BSU survey link at the bottom if you feel inclined:

https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/Recreation/Snowmobile/Snowmobile%20Econ%20Study%20FINAL.pdf

New Study Confirms Snowmobiling Big Economic Business-

https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/news/new-study-confirms-snowmobiling-big-economic-business-idaho

And useful info on Snowmobiler's sound impact in the enviroment -

http://www.snowmobilers.org/sound-environment-issues-snowmobiling.aspx
 

Big10inch

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From the above link...


"Problems with excessive noise levels do occur when irresponsible snowmobilers modify the snowmobile exhaust system or substitute the factory system with an after-market racing exhaust. In most states and provinces, this practice is illegal and grossly misrepresents the sport."


I think the truth is, modified exhausts accurately represent the sport. I bet at least 75% of snowmobiles in the west have modified exhausts.
 

Summit74

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Stan Spencer of Backcountry Sled Patriots posted this on his FB page. This just an example of the others sides perspective. Worth the read.
https://winterwildlands.org/reclaiming-lost-ground/

By Andy Dappen for Backcountry Magazine, 2016

For many skiers, the 50-year evolution of snowmobile use on public lands has represented an on-going loss of habitat. That’s certainly been my story. Places where I once cross-country skied or ski toured for peaceful exercise, soft turns, quiet ascents, or serene meditations have been consistently plucked from my plate as snowmobiles spread onto ever steeper slopes and into ever deeper snows.

The pace of change has been slow but relentless. My earliest losses occurred in the late 1960s when forest roads and flat meadows in the Mount Hood National Forest where I Nordic skied started seeing enough motorized use that the noise, speed, commotion, trammeled snows, and fumes undermined my experience. Back then it was easy to move off the roads or into forests to escape the machines.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as the power of snowmobiles improved, some of my favorite telemark terrain near my home in Western Washington was gradually assimilated by the Borg. Again I moved – either into thicker trees or onto steeper slopes.


Stemilt Basin, Wenatchee Mountains, Washington. Photo by Mike Rolfs.
Over the last fifteen years the pace of loss accelerated as increased horsepower, improved track designs, better suspension, and new riding positions could put sleds on almost any open slope I hoped to ski. Meanwhile, snowbikes with their narrow tracks and maneuverability gave experienced dirt bikers an entirely new opportunity to ride off-trail in winter. Snowbikes can navigate forests, traverse steep slopes, or zig-zag through a jumble of snow-covered boulders with such dexterity that there were precious few places near plowed roads where I can be sure machines won’t disturb the quiet, natural experience I value.

All of this is could change soon due to new rulings supporting old laws. In 1972, The Nixon Administration issued Executive Order 11644 mandating federal agencies to create management plans for all off-highway vehicles. The executive order (EO) required federal land agencies to substantiate that, where permitted, off-highway vehicles would not negatively impact wildlife, erode other forest resources (soil, plants and water), or impact other users. In the earliest years, snow machines primarily traveled the snow-covered roads of the national forest. These were the same roads used by wheeled vehicles in summer, so the Forest Service opted to forego separate management policies for over-snow vehicles (OSVs).

In 2005 the Forest Service started a decade-long process of revamping its management policies for off-highway vehicles. Unfortunately, just as it had done earlier, the agency punted on creating wintertime management policies for OSVs. By now, however, the capability of new snow machines did not confine them to roads and, with no policy, if a machine could get there, it could go there.

The absence of winter policies was clearly inconsistent with the management of off-highway vehicles in other seasons. For years, the Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA), a Boise based non-profit promoting human-powered winter recreation, prodded the Forest Service to follow the EO and create winter policies for OSVs. The Forest Service steadfastly refused, eventually forcing WWA to sue. In January 2015 Federal Courts ruled the Forest Service was clearly out of compliance and mandated each National Forest to create policies, complete with maps, defining where OSVs could travel.

This is terrific news for we who drink from the chalice of non-motorized winter recreation. Over the next few years each national forest must define corridors and ranges allowing OSV use as well as those areas that are closed to motorized use in winter. With the welfare of wildlife, other forest resources, and other forest users acting as benchmarks to guide the process, there is every reason to be optimistic that more quiet zones, fresh air, and stashes of soft snow will be returning to our national forests.

The bad news is that the Forest Service is an overworked, underfunded agency and some branches of the agency will be truculent — they will do their best to keep kicking the can down the road. Advocacy and involvement will help the cause. In the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest surrounding the town where I live today, our local backcountry skiing and snowshoeing club, El Sendero, has begun preparing articles for the media educating our citizenry about what is required of the Forest Service. Next, the club has asked forest administrators to define a time frame for initiating and completing the process.

El Sendero is also scheduling meetings with local snowmobile clubs to discuss designated zones where non-motorized recreationalists and motorized recreationalists can each pursue their passion without impinging upon the other group. These two groups will certainly have areas of disagreement, but by initiating respectful dialog and finding consensus on low- hanging fruit, we hope to avoid snow wars and to help the Forest Service fulfill its obligations.

Pressuring, haggling, deal-making … these are not tasks elevating the pulse of skiers and snowshoers. And yet this is a process non-motorized winter recreationalists should embrace. We have the law behind us, a court decision upholding the law, and guidelines defining the goals of winter policies. This gives us a long lever, a place to stand, and a generational opportunity to reclaim lost ground.
 

Big10inch

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So they have over 200 million acres closed to snowmobiles and they can't find anyplace quiet to ski? Seems disingenuous at best...


They also have access to PUBLIC money to use in lawsuits against the USFS ie; our tax dollars to lock us out.


It is an UGLY problem... Clearly though what they want, and what the think they are entitled to is silent recreation. I have yet to see this in the bill of rights.


It is definitely the noisy few causing a big problem. They are VERY good at yanking the heart strings of their constituents. Those folks really do not understand how selfish and unfair the requests for support are. Part of the problem is, everything is open to ski, nothing is closed to them. If we had as much closed to them as they have to us, I bet we COULD all get along.
 

Dogmeat

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So they have over 200 million acres closed to snowmobiles and they can't find anyplace quiet to ski? Seems disingenuous at best...

Thats about the only thing I seem to agree with you on.

They also have access to PUBLIC money to use in lawsuits against the USFS ie; our tax dollars to lock us out.

So think about how much more difficult that makes our battle when people can't see the forest for the trees about loud cans.

It is an UGLY problem... Clearly though what they want, and what the think they are entitled to is silent recreation. I have yet to see this in the bill of rights.


It is definitely the noisy few causing a big problem. They are VERY good at yanking the heart strings of their constituents. Those folks really do not understand how selfish and unfair the requests for support are. Part of the problem is, everything is open to ski, nothing is closed to them. If we had as much closed to them as they have to us, I bet we COULD all get along.

Rationalizing stupidity under the guise of "freedom" does not help our cause at all. The "Loud Can" issue is one thats easily solved by simply not spending money on loud can for virtually no discernible performance gain and real world back country or trail ridability gains at all.

Seriously, the dumbest f*cking part of this whole thing is - There are NUMEROUS aftermarket manufacturers that make cans lighter than stock that *STILL* conform to USFS regulations. The stock cans overshoot the sound requirement guidlines of the USFS by like, +/- 6 dB. That is a *LOT* and they do that for good reason.

The 0.01% of idiots who run cans at 100+ dB are so absurd they make everyone think *ALL* of us do that, so I don't agree in any way shape or form with your assessment that "running a modified exhaust is more representative of the sport than not".

This is the same dumb sh*t mentality that "rolling coal" is "cool", and even if someone you pull up next to in your woefully inadequatley tuned diesel is driving a Prius, you should "roll coal".

Its the same ignorant mentality as that, period.
 

snowmobiler

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how you going to stop that 0.01%.and the 0.01% of selfish skiers that try to stab me with there pole for going by slow and quiet.LOL
 
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