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2Apr/07Off

ALERT: Selkirk Mountain Range Winter Travel Plan

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SAWS Action Alert

Selkirk Mountain Range Winter Travel Plan
Sandpoint, Idaho

Comment Deadline: April 27th, 2007

Send Comments to:
    Sandpoint Ranger District
    Attn: Greg Hetzler
    1500 East Highway 2, Suite 110
    Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

 E-mail: comments-northern-idpanhandle-sandpoint@fs.fed.us

 Fax: 208-265-6670

All online documentation related to the Selkirk Mountain Range Winter Travel Plan can be found here, including an 11 MB PDF map considered by the Forest Service to be the “Starting Point”:
http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/kaniksu/wintertravelplan/index.html

You can also print and complete this form letter that was developed by the Sandpoint Winter Riders Snowmobile Club, and/or copy and paste portions of this form letter into your personal comment letter. But at the very minimum, please either complete and submit this form or send in a personal comment letter:
http://www.snowmobile-alliance.org/uploads/SelkirkWinterTravelCommentFormApril2007.pdf

By now most of you have heard about the non-existent caribou that temporarily closed some of the best snowmobiling area in North America near Priest Lake, Idaho.  Some of this so-called habitat is still off limits to snowmobilers and the litigation in this matter is far from over.  SAWS asks that everyone receiving this email send at minimum a brief statement telling the Forest Service that closures to snowmobiling in the Selkirks are fundamentally dishonest given the present facts.  The most glaring fact is the caribou that are allegedly being harassed by snowmobiling in north Idaho actually make their year-around home in Canada.

None of the current snowmobile closures are necessary. SAWS is therefore asking that you tell the Forest Service that all recent closures be re-opened to snowmobiling.  Please include any personal information in your comments that relate to your experiences snowmobiling in Northern Idaho, including reasons you came to snowmobile in the area if from out of town or out of state; you’re experiences with caribou (or lack thereof) and other wildlife including the respect you and your companions demonstrate when encounters occur; and anything else you can think of.

Here are some additional points to add to your comments: 

  • Recommended wilderness should not be managed as congressionally designated wilderness.  The Forest Service is required to maintain wilderness character in these areas, and snowmobiling has never been scientifically shown to have any adverse affects on wilderness quality.  To close them to motorized access for the purpose of providing a wilderness experience and setting, essentially creating an administratively designated wilderness, is in fact contrary to provisions of the Wilderness Act. 
  • Research Natural Areas (RNA) are not adversely affected by snowmobiling when adequate snow levels are present. 
  • Several caribou studies relate that there is no correlation between the departure of an area by caribou and snowmobile use, including high snowmobile use.  In some areas of high snowmobile use, caribou left the area and in other areas of heavy snowmobile use the caribou remained.  The abundance of caribou in high use snowmobile areas in British Columbia supports this assertion.�
     
  • Closing areas with low snowmobile activity does nothing to improve caribou recovery, but these closures do have an adverse affect on the local economies.
     
  • There is no factual information with which to determine if an actual caribou corridor exists in the Selkirks; nor is there any factual information that states a corridor is required.
     
  • Fair and unbiased scientific research is needed to properly evaluate all conditions related to recreation and wildlife and provides the only sustainable solution. �
     
  • While SAWS does not support any closure to snowmobiling, SAWS does respect wildlife and its habitat.  If unbiased evidence supports a temporary closure, then state that you would support a closure only if it is reviewed for its effectiveness and in a timely manner before becoming permanent.
     
  • Selkirk Crest should be re-opened to snowmobiling because no caribou have returned to this area.  The Forest Service should implement their Management Area (MA) 1E – Primitive Lands designation for Selkirk Crest to preserve the area’s backcountry value while re-opening the area to snowmobiling.
     
  • Trapper Burn should be re-opened to snowmobiling because its potential as a corridor is no longer viable.

Thank you all for your interest in and dedication to protecting YOUR right to ride.

Scott
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Protecting the right to ride for the owners of 303,604 registered snowmobiles (2005) in the western United States.

Copyright © 2007 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved.

Permission is granted to distribute this information in whole or in part, as long as Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) is acknowledged as the source. If you are not yet a member of SAWS and you would like receive these alerts, please sign up on our web site: http://www.snowmobile-alliance.org/. SAWS is free to join.

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