Winter Travel Management

Lassen National Forest


Lassen issued a Revised Final Environmental IS and ROD on March 29, 2018. The Selected Alternative combines elements of Alternatives 3, 4, and 5 as analyzed and described in the Revised Draft EIS.

The selected alternative designates 66% of the Forest open to OSV use. This is less than the current 85% open and less than the 77% open of the original ROD. However, most of the newly closed area is less than 5000 feet in elevation but had been designated open in the original decision released in August, 2016.

The new analysis does address some of the objections to the original decision, but it is still imperfect. The Forest Service added an alternative that designates 55% of the land open to snowmobiles. It also divides the largest open area into five subareas using existing highways as boundaries. However, the boundaries of these areas are arbitrary, since snowmobiles can and do cross highways. Therefore, there remains essentially one large open area that is greater than half the forest in size. Also, the Proposed Action (Alternative 2) rolls back some of the gains the non-motorized community achieved in the 2016 decisions, including two areas at Butte Lake and the west shore of Lake Almanor that had been closed in the 2016 decision.


Snowlands Network and Winter Wildlands Alliance submitted objections to the revised decision. Our objections included these issues:

  • The ROD designates open areas that are larger than a ranger district, violating the terms of the 2015 Travel Rule.
  • The ROD designates the Butte Lake area as open to OSV use. This area contains a designated cross-country ski trail, and opening it to snowmobiles will lead to conflict.
  • The ROD designates the west shore of Lake Almanor as open to OSV use, despite the presence of a designated non-motorized trail, residences, and the fact that opening this area was not analyzed in the Draft EIS.
  • The ROD fails to minimize conflict in the McGowan area and allows OSV use on a non-designated non-motorized National Recreation Trail.
  • The ROD allows snowmobiling immediately adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • The ROD justifies designating areas as open to OSV use by stating that there is no conflict in those areas.
  • The ROD does not minimize impacts to Pacific marten and Sierra Nevada red fox.


Thanks to all of the people who have submitted comments on this project and helped to improve the outlook for non-motorized recreation. Thank you for participating in this community effort.