California Snowmobile Program
Snowlands Network, together with other petitioners, filed a lawsuit challenging the State of California's recent approval of its 10-year over snow vehicle grooming and trailhead plowing plan. The lawsuit, filed on January 19, 2011, claims that the plan did not adequately address impacts to wildlife, air or water quality, or conflicts with quiet winter recreation. In early 2012, the lower court ruled against the petitioners. The petitioners have appealed.
The snowmobile program, funded by the State of California, shapes winter recreation on national forests, promoting motorized over non-motorized recreation. Winter recreation in the snow-covered forests depends on access from plowed trailheads, and more than 80 percent of the official winter recreation trailheads in California national forests are dominated by motorized recreation.
The objectives of the lawsuit are to ensure that skiers and snowshoers, who can be a significant contributor to winter tourism in mountain communities, are afforded recreation opportunities. Snowlands Network believes that skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling can be accommodated if appropriate measures are taken to reduce user conflicts and protect wildlife, plants and water quality.
Click here to read the press release.
In November 2011, Snowlands Network, Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity commenced a second lawsuit, this one in federal court against the Forest Service as defendant. The lawsuit alleges that the Forest Service has violated the National Environmental Policy Act through its participation in the OSV Program without adequate environmental review.