Proposed Shoshone National Forest Plan Criticized For Potential Over-Snow Use

Sep 24, 2020

Big Horn Basin, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming
Credit Tim Lumley via Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The Shoshone National Forest Travel Management plan is facing criticism just as the public comment period comes to a close.

The plan involves changes to roads and trails in Shoshone National Forest, which stretches across northwest Wyoming. The forest offered three alternatives. 

The first offered no changes. While the other two alternatives would eliminate some roads while adding others. The biggest difference is one would allow over-snow use like snowmobiling and one would not. 

Park County Commissioner Chairman Joe Tilden said the commissioners don't like any of the alternatives.

"We're extremely concerned about the over-snow vehicle use and also the off highway vehicles use because under alternatives two and three, there's a number of closures," said Tilden. "The overall number of road miles that will be closed is significant."

He said there is more and more demand for off highway vehicles, like an ATV, and over-the-snow access but these alternatives don’t supply that demand. Tilden said the recent virtual meetings make it hard for an average person to understand the issue. 

"The average person out there hasn't even focused on it for over a period of three years. And all of a sudden the process starts back up in a virtual manner," he said. "It's very difficult for people to understand exactly what the alternatives are."

Researchers and conservation groups say areas of the forest should have no snowmobiling access. The public comment period closes on Monday, September 28. 

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.