HIstory of Snowmobile North Dakota
Don’t miss this!
For the last 15 years the American Council of Snowmobile Associations has been going to Washington, DC for their Annual Fly-In. This annual event has included meetings with decision makers at the various agencies, as well as hundreds of legislative meetings.
We realize that snowmobilers across the country work with their local land managers and forest supervisors, and those efforts are greatly appreciated. Your partnership on projects is critical to organized snowmobiling. When a problem arises, not only is problem reported, but snowmobilers most often have suggestions to resolve the problem! Not all recreation users do this, but snowmobilers have been known to do this regularly. We’re not surprised – that’s the way snowmobilers think and respond!
It was no surprise to us in 2005 when the Travel Management Rule did not mandate that administrative units make decision that restrict or prohibit Over Snow Vehicle Use, but gave the authority to the local Forest Service officials to manage the use.
It was no surprise when the snowmobile community learned of the Petition from Winter Wildlands Alliance in the fall of 2011 with the request that snowmobiles be regulated under the Travel Management Rule. The Forest Service responded to their petition, but explained snowmobiles are already regulated and managed.
It was no surprise when the WWA, defeated with the decision they received from the FS on their Petition, filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service, once again claiming lack of management of snowmobile travel in 2012 and looking for balance with snowmobilers and cross country skiers.
What did surprise us is when the Judge ruled in their favor on April 1, 2013. Snowmobilers united and immediately filed an Appeal. The Rule Making Process has been occurring in concert with the Appeal Process.
We were not surprised when organized snowmobiling united in a massive fundraising campaign for the legal action fund. Snowmobilers always respond with passion!
We were not surprised with the Proposed Rule when it was released in June of this summer. We were also not surprised when 20,000 comments were received on the Proposed Rule. Snowmobilers care enough to submit comments on issues that impact their riding.
It was no surprise when the Forest Service requested an extension to properly analyze the comments before they released their Final Rule, that the WWA opposed the request.
It was no surprise when the Court ruled against the WWA’s request that the Forest Service be held in contempt of court for missing the deadline of September 9, 2014.
It was no surprise when the Court overturned the WWA’s request that the Court enter an injunction requiring that all Forest Service units complete on-the-ground implementation of the new rule within five years.
We were not surprised that the Court allowed the Forest Service until January 31, 2015 to publish the Final Rule. We look forward to the release of the Final Rule, and working to implement the Rule.
We are almost to the finish line -- a little more than 3 months before the Final Rule is published. We are hopeful that this is a Rule that the snowmobile community can comply with – and that it satisfies the WWA’s concern over snowmobile management.
Since the Judge handed down the decision in this case in April, 2013, legal fees have exceeded $120,000. We are almost there – but we need to request contributions for the Legal Action Fund once again. All contributions will be greatly appreciated -- small donations add up to large amounts. Whatever individuals, clubs, state associations, and businesses can contribute will be appreciated.
We’re almost there – but we need a little more to get us to the end of this process. Organized snowmobilers respond when there is a threat to the access we enjoy!