This year's event was very successful for the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), and the attendance at the Hill Climb was up from last year. This year the Jackson Snow Devils provided BRC a booth near the food vendor area at the Hill Climb event. At our booth I discussed the next phase of the Yellowstone Winter Use SEIS, as well as other snowmobile related subjects like the Winter Wildlands legal action against the Forest Service in Idaho over the OHV Rule and, of course, concerns about potential new Wilderness areas in the region.
Jackson Hillclimb, 2012.
The event was very positive, starting with the weather. Picture this, Thursday through Sunday were fairly warm, temperatures ranging from 28 to 50 degrees with light winds. The weather for the four days only got better. The total crowd for the four-day event was up, with the Jackson Snow Devils Club estimating about 10,000 people in attendance for the various events.
And for our main outreach I handed out information on the New Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park and its "Draft Range of Alternatives and the just finished Scoping." From a positive standpoint, the draft range of alternatives is very good, with the potential alternatives having enough of a foundation to create a very good winter use plan. We should next hear from the Park Service in late April or early May with the release of the Draft SEIS and 60 day comment period. To stay informed on the Winter Use Issue, visit the BlueRibbon Coalition's dedicated snowmobile section online (www.saveyellowstonepark.com).
In addition to Yellowstone and other snowmobile issues, I talked to snowmobilers from across the country about becoming BRC members. Several of the folks joined the Coalition right then. Another highlight of the four-days was being interviewed by the roving infield announcer, and publicly being thanked for BRC's efforts in Yellowstone, as well as for keeping the National Forest open to snowmobilers. This interview was on Saturday when thousands of spectators were present.
Jackson Hillclimb, 2012.
One final highlight was a one-on-one meeting with Wyoming Governor, Matt Mead, on Thursday. The Governor came to the Hill Climb to thank the Snow Devils for their efforts in bringing such a great event to Jackson, Wyoming. In addition, Governor Mead has been very supportive of the Yellowstone Task Force, which I chair. The Yellowstone Task Force continues to work on increasing access to Yellowstone for snowmobilers. One area the Governor has been very supportive of is asking the Park Service for non-commercially guided access to the Park. I informed him that the Park Service appeared to be giving his request serious consideration, and we will know for sure when the Draft SEIS comes out in late April or early May.
In closing, I would like to thank the Jackson Hole Snow Devils Snowmobile Club, who puts on the World Championship Hill Climb each year, for providing the BlueRibbon Coalition with a free booth at the event again this year.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB - http://www.sharetrails.org.