The number of plans and projects being released by agencies recently has been exhausting. We’ve recently submitted comments for the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the Lincoln National Forest. We’re currently advocating for our followers to comment on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado before November 26. We have also prepared a new action alert for everyone to comment on the Shoshone National Forest Travel Management Plan.
For background, we participated in the review period of the preliminary plan back in September of 2020. Shoshone National Forest has put together a range of alternatives that incorporates some of the feedback received from BRC, Advocates for Multi-Use of Public Lands, and the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association. During this phase of the plan analysis we need to continue to make our voices heard. We have until November 19 to comment on the Shoshone National Forest Travel Plan.
Our action alert below contains model text you can use for a comment. Of course you can always customize the message as well to make the comment even more effective and add your unique perspective. You can find the planning documents here.
In addition to the information in the model comment, here are a few issues to consider in the plan:
- There are questions about whether full-size tracked vehicles should be able to use groomed snowmobile trails.
- As is often the case with planning efforts like this, we have to be vigilant against wilderness creep where “buffer zones,” designating lands with wilderness characteristics, and restriction of motorized access in the dwindling areas in the Shoshone National Forest that aren’t wilderness already.
- Snowmobile groups are very engaged in this process, but other motorized users need to add their voice.
- Anti-access groups are showing up in force to advocate for further restrictions of use.
- This plan will impact popular riding areas near Togwotee Pass and the Bear Tooth Highway if we don’t make our voices heard.
- There are Alternatives with road closures. Bear in mind that road closures also reduce access for other uses such as dispersed camping, which will result in concentrated use in the areas left open.
- This forest needs to create more motorized single-track trails. There are currently no trails.
- We need to be vigilant in opposing efforts to restrict forest access because of the 30×30 initiative.
My family and 2 other families 2 years ago spent a week exploring the area between Togwotee Pass Dubois and Green River lake . We traveled this area on side by side vehicles. This is by far some of the most scenic country we have seen. I have also snowmobiled near Togwotee and hauled logs from this area .To restrict trails and roads on the forest would be a real shame. As has been mentioned restricting roads and trails concentrates people in a smaller area.Wilderness study areas lock up land for years just as it was wilderness enacted by congress and areas I am familiar with never seem to go away. I believe it is just an illegal way for the Forest Service to close off roads and trails . Lets keep the country open and even add more trails . Thank you Barry Bergan
I am writing to share feedback regarding the Shoshone Travel Management Plan. I enjoy recreating on public land and want to express my support for keeping access open in the Shoshone National Forest for all types of recreation uses. I believe through proper management and education trails and roads can remain open without negative impacts. Spanning through Wyoming, this forest is a large area where various types of recreation activities occur.
I do not support the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area proposed in Alternative 3 as there are already vast amounts of land managed as wilderness within the forest, which is the most restrictive form of management. Only 17% of the forest is open to motorized use. The USFS should look at making more restrictions to avoid concentration of use, which will help to mitigate impact and avoid user conflict. With all alternatives, closures are proposed and users will see a decrease in land and trails available to motorized use. I believe there should be an alternative that proposes more areas open to use than are currently available to give a true range of options.
There is already very restrictive management in the areas bordering the forest and Forest Service lands should be managed for the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The planning process also shouldn’t be used to identify more lands with wilderness characteristics – especially if identifying lands with wilderness qualities requires road closures and restrictions on motorized travel. If lands have roads and are currently receiving motorized use, then these lands don’t have wilderness characteristics.
I am concerned with the use of “adequate snow depth” as this term could be used to create arbitrary snow depth requirements that could be used to unnecessarily restrict OSV use with no proper science and guidelines. OSV use in Yellowstone National Park is showing that with proper management, there is not significant impact. I also support November 1 – June 15 as an appropriate season of use for winter motorized recreation.
Regarding potential wildlife issues, Yellowstone National Park has been studying the impacts of OSV use on wildlife and has found over the course of many years that there is relatively no impact. I believe that the USFS could use the studies produced by Yellowstone as the Shoshone NF is in close proximity and has similar landscapes and habitats. The USFS should recognize that OSV use does not create a large enough impact on wildlife to use this as a reason to restrict access.
I am also concerned with the term “minimum road system.” The USFS should be looking at what the user needs are and create roads and trails based off of what is adequate and necessary rather than a “minimum”. Recreation around the nation has increased in popularity and there should be enough flexibility to adequately adapt to these trends and needs to develop systems that would accommodate use rather than exacerbate the issue by setting such limited areas for users. None of the roads proposed to be decommissioned should be.
The USFS should finally begin to reverse its decades-long systematic discrimination against those with mobility impairment-related disabilities. Travel management policies focused on “minimizing” the environmental impacts of motorized recreation have resulted in a dramatic increase of lands that are closed to those who can only access public lands with motorized assistance. Trail densities need to follow best available science and not arbitrary proposals and numbers.
In conclusion, I believe in shared use and that there is enough public land for all to enjoy as long as agencies use best practices. Please refrain from closures as roads and trails are critical to the forest.
Please allow continued snowmobiling at an appropriate level in the Shoshone forest
I have lived and worked in Wyoming for over 50 years. As a younger person I hiked and hunted over many trails and mountains. Now at the age of 82 the only way I can enjoy those areas is with an off-road motorized vehicle. I am disabled by a neurological disease and otherwise my health is quite good. These outdoor public lands are still my main interest and if you close them to motorized vehicles myself and others with physical disabilities are denied access to these areas. Other than already designated wilderness areas I implore you to maintain access via motorized travel. I could go on at great length about my frustrations but my saddest moments would be to have to wave goodbye to my children and grandchildren as they go off to enjoy the areas thatI taught them to love. I always tried to be tolerant of other multiple users. I would ask that same tolerance in return realizing that each individual circumstances can be quite different.