BOISE, Idaho – The U.S. Forest Service has issued a new policy requiring forest managers to limit where snowmobiles can go by specifically designating what areas are open.
The federal agency on Wednesday published the final federal register notice for the new rules that take effect Feb. 27.
The change follows a 2013 federal court ruling in Boise that found the Forest Service incorrectly exempted snowmobiles from a 2005 Forest Service plan restricting wheeled cross-country travel to designated routes.
An Idaho-based backcountry skier group called Winter Wildlands Alliance filed the lawsuit amid concerns new and more powerful snowmobiles were chewing up remote and pristine powder previously reachable only by skiers.
The new policy requires forests to publish over-snow vehicle maps using existing designations or maps to be worked out through a public process.