Over the past several months, we’ve had numerous conversations and meetings with the Forest Service. Hopefully, we’ve helped the agency better understand the needs of non-motorized winter backcountry users.
But despite these talks, we’ve been unable to get a non-motorized initiative into the formal bureaucratic pipeline. In other words, we don’t officially exist.
The Forest Service keeps telling us that they can’t formally consider the needs of non-motorized users without an overall forest plan, a Winter Travel Management Plan. That’s where the hole in their logic appears. Because in fact, they’ve recently made changes without a master plan:
• Expansion of parking at Meissner Sno-Park
• Development of snow play and dog-friendly areas at Wanoga Sno-Park
And in the near future, the following changes are proposed (again, without an overall plan):
• The addition of a large motorized staging area (Kapka Sno-Park)
• Proposed closure of Dutchman Flat to motorized off-loading during the core winter season
• The addition of a dog-friendly ski trail between Meissner and Swampy Lake Sno-Parks
• Consideration of a backcountry hut system on the edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness
If the Forest Service has been able to complete projects–and bring new initiatives to the table–without the benefit of a larger strategy, why aren’t the requests of backcountry users being given the same consideration? We’ve yet to receive an answer that can fill the big hole in this logic.
As always, thanks for your patience and support. We’ll keep representing people for powder.