The United States Forest Service is updating the Lolo National Forest Plan. This plan will dictate how the 2 millions acres in central Montana are managed for the next several decades. All other plans will follow this overarching land management plan – such as travel management planning to determine which roads will stay open. This is scoping, the first step in the revision process. Comments on the proposed plan will be accepted until April 1, 2024.

Full Briefing

The Lolo plan is long anticipated with years of prep with public meetings and studies. The forest currently provides world class snowmobiling and off roading recreation opportunities. Submit a comment by entering your information below to send a comment to the USFS letting them know that the current proposals for the forest management plan is unacceptable as it designates far too much of the forest as non-motorized. The forest is also required to create winter and summer Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) maps. Currently most of the forest is available to snowmobile and OSV use however under the proposals most of the forest will close off access to these user groups completely altering the historical use of the area as you can see from the maps below.

Summer Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) Zones: 58% will be summer non-motorized zones

Winter Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) Zones: 79% will be winter non-motorized zones

Recommended Wilderness: The 1986 forest plan has 223,915 acres of Recommended Wilderness (RWA) The current plan has identified  1,157,133 ADDITIONAL acres for RWA consideration. Proposed 60,000 acres, adjacent to the Rattlesnake wilderness. 75 new recommended wilderness areas.

Wilderness: Scapegoat and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness are partially within the forest while the Welcome Creek and Rattlesnake Wildernesses are within the Forest. The Forest should not be creating non-motorized buffer zones around Wilderness areas as Congress did not specify those areas to be managed as Wilderness.

Snowmobile areas that are currently at risk for year round closure: Land around Seeley Lake is some of the most sought after OSV terrain in the nation that already has a seasonal closure. St. Regis to Lookout Pass. Prior to 2012, the Hoodoo area was open to OSV use and is currently closed. Motorized users have suffered closure after closure and this plan ultimately should not be implementing anymore year round closures. Typically the terrain provides natural barriers on where a motorized user can access.

The motorized community whether it be to access snowmobile areas, camping, off-roading, singletrack, mountain biking, logging and other such pursuits need to let the Forest Service know the current proposal will not sustain the local economies or the current or future needs of recreation access.