A snowmobiler in the Fish Lake National Forest (courtesy of www.fs.usda.gov).
The U. S. Forest Service appears to be getting ready to release a draft rule governing snowmobile access to our national forests and grasslands. Back in 2005, the Forest Service developed a Travel Management Rule covering motorized recreation (at the time the agency chose not to address the snowmobile issue). We were all a part of that multi-year effort and it was torturous and frustrating at times. Some forests did a good job of designating trails for motorized recreation and then there were others that really missed the mark.
The Forest Service is operating under a September 9, 2014 deadline imposed by 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals to extend the Travel Management Rule to snowmobiles. One wonders how they can undertake so much work in so little time. We will have a better idea once we see the draft rule. In any case, this is probably something that will keep snowmobile enthusiasts busy all this summer and much of the rest of 2014 and probably well into 2015.