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LAND ISSUES & CLOSURES

Public Land Update

September 2016

 

The Great Burn Saga Continues!

 

This section of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest provides some of the finest primitive riding in North Idaho.  In fact, to find a comparable area in size and geography, one would have to travel to the Selkirk Mountains adjacent to Revelstoke, BC .  It is truly unique and because of that, ISSA has been embroiled in the fight to keep it open since 2004.  We have submitted comments, filed an objection but in the end, we were forced to decide whether to walk away from the area or file a lawsuit.  We chose the latter.  Eventually the Forest Service decided to settle and an agreement was reached that required the Forest to ‘make a new decision based’ on the alternatives in the Record of Decision before the next winter season.  After a number of extensions, they have recently issued a new decision.  Regretfully the new decision is the same as the old decision which prohibits snowmobiling in the Great Burn.  Once again, there are no resource issues or social issues that justify the closure it is simply because of the policy-guideline of Region 1 to manage areas Recommended as Wilderness as Wilderness.   There is no Forest Service Policy or Rule that requires them to do so.  ISSA has filed an objection to that decision. 

 

The objection states clearly the position of ISSA: 

 

“We are deeply disappointed by the Draft ROD.  In fact, we view it as a stubborn step backwards in the reasoned dialogue we have attempted to have with USFS personnel in Region 1 and the Forests.  The proverbial elephant in this room is the misbegotten “guidance” and the extent to which the Forest Service will defend it, or assure us of its demise.  Instead, the Draft ROD reflects a half-hearted yet belated effort at ending up exactly where we started. 

 

To be specific, we have repeatedly asked for some recognition, if even symbolic recognition, of some aspect of continuing motorized use of the Clearwater RWA’s.  One might think the agency would welcome this strategy, as it might persuasively rebut our central premise that USFS Region 1, perhaps with oversight from the Washington Office, is mandating an inflexible prohibition on continuing motorized/mechanized use in RWA’s.  The agency’s insistence on imposing the prohibition not coincidentally dictated by the “guidance” coupled with the conspicuous failure to consider any meaningful alternative(s) here only fuels our fears and intensifies our effort to seek judicial resolution of this issue.”

 

The Great Burn is a classic example of why snowmobilers must stay united.  The opposition we have mounted could not be done by one club or a few individuals. It takes the resources of a committed statewide organization to protect our access to the backcountry.

 

Private property vs. Public Access:

This is an issue we see popping up in every corner of the state.  The cause can be a new land owner who chooses not to allow public recreational use or private property owners who want roads closed that provide access to public lands.  Whatever the reason, the result is a loss of access. 

First and foremost, we must respect private property; however, there are ways to resolve the problem if there is a willingness on behalf of the private property owners to do so.  The most common method would be through the purchasing of an easement.  An “easement is a nonpossessory interest in another's land that entitles the holder only to the right to use such land in the specified manner”.  In our case it would be a recreation or transportation easement giving us the ability to cross or use private property.  There is another kind of easement called a prescriptive easement. This is an easement upon another's property acquired by continued use without permission of the owner for a period provided by state law to establish the easement.  As you can well imagine, this kind of an easement is usually resolved in a court of law.

 

Know that there are options if faced with this problem; however, it is wise not to wait until access is lost or a private property is closed.  Be proactive: Identify trail systems that cross private land or roads that are necessary for access to public lands.   Work with the land owners to see if they are willing to provide a recreation easement.  If not, look for an alternate trail. 

ISSA continues our efforts to protect our access on many fronts from one end of the state to the other.  We understand that what we do today will determine where we ride in the future and today like all other days, we chose to do everything possible within the political, administrative, and legal processes to make sure that we won’t have to settle for telling the next generation about where we rode, we can show them.

 

Everyone who owns a snowmobile has a stake in this fight!  Please spread the word about our challenges and about the organization that is working to ensure there are places to ride!  The more members we have, the more effective we can be.

 

 

Sandra Mitchel-Director of Public Lands

 

 

 

 

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  • Monday, August 22, 2016 3:59 PM | Greg Davis (Administrator)

     

    Public Land Update

    September 2016

    The Great Burn Saga Continues!

    This section of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest provides some of the finest primitive riding in North Idaho.  In fact, to find a comparable area in size and geography, one would have to travel to the Selkirk Mountains adjacent to Revelstoke, BC .  It is truly unique and because of that, ISSA has been embroiled in the fight to keep it open since 2004.  We have submitted comments, filed an objection but in the end, we were forced to decide whether to walk away from the area or file a lawsuit.  We chose the latter.  Eventually the Forest Service decided to settle and an agreement was reached that required the Forest to ‘make a new decision based’ on the alternatives in the Record of Decision before the next winter season.  After a number of extensions, they have recently issued a new decision.  Regretfully the new decision is the same as the old decision which prohibits snowmobiling in the Great Burn.  Once again, there are no resource issues or social issues that justify the closure it is simply because of the policy-guideline of Region 1 to manage areas Recommended as Wilderness as Wilderness.   There is no Forest Service Policy or Rule that requires them to do so.  ISSA has filed an objection to that decision. 

    The objection states clearly the position of ISSA: 

    “We are deeply disappointed by the Draft ROD.  In fact, we view it as a stubborn step backwards in the reasoned dialogue we have attempted to have with USFS personnel in Region 1 and the Forests.  The proverbial elephant in this room is the misbegotten “guidance” and the extent to which the Forest Service will defend it, or assure us of its demise.  Instead, the Draft ROD reflects a half-hearted yet belated effort at ending up exactly where we started. 

    To be specific, we have repeatedly asked for some recognition, if even symbolic recognition, of some aspect of continuing motorized use of the Clearwater RWA’s.  One might think the agency would welcome this strategy, as it might persuasively rebut our central premise that USFS Region 1, perhaps with oversight from the Washington Office, is mandating an inflexible prohibition on continuing motorized/mechanized use in RWA’s.  The agency’s insistence on imposing the prohibition not coincidentally dictated by the “guidance” coupled with the conspicuous failure to consider any meaningful alternative(s) here only fuels our fears and intensifies our effort to seek judicial resolution of this issue.”

    The Great Burn is a classic example of why snowmobilers must stay united.  The opposition we have mounted could not be done by one club or a few individuals. It takes the resources of a committed statewide organization to protect our access to the backcountry.

    Private property vs. Public Access:

    This is an issue we see popping up in every corner of the state.  The cause can be a new land owner who chooses not to allow public recreational use or private property owners who want roads closed that provide access to public lands.  Whatever the reason, the result is a loss of access. 

    First and foremost, we must respect private property; however, there are ways to resolve the problem if there is a willingness on behalf of the private property owners to do so.  The most common method would be through the purchasing of an easement.  An “easement is a nonpossessory interest in another's land that entitles the holder only to the right to use such land in the specified manner”.  In our case it would be a recreation or transportation easement giving us the ability to cross or use private property.  There is another kind of easement called a prescriptive easement. This is an easement upon another's property acquired by continued use without permission of the owner for a period provided by state law to establish the easement.  As you can well imagine, this kind of an easement is usually resolved in a court of law.

    Know that there are options if faced with this problem; however, it is wise not to wait until access is lost or a private property is closed.  Be proactive: Identify trail systems that cross private land or roads that are necessary for access to public lands.   Work with the land owners to see if they are willing to provide a recreation easement.  If not, look for an alternate trail. 

    ISSA continues our efforts to protect our access on many fronts from one end of the state to the other.  We understand that what we do today will determine where we ride in the future and today like all other days, we chose to do everything possible within the political, administrative, and legal processes to make sure that we won’t have to settle for telling the next generation about where we rode, we can show them.

    Everyone who owns a snowmobile has a stake in this fight!  Please spread the word about our challenges and about the organization that is working to ensure there are places to ride!  The more members we have, the more effective we can be.

  • Thursday, August 18, 2016 4:34 PM | Greg Davis (Administrator)

     

    It’s all about ACCESS

    August, 2016

    Whether you snowmobile, ride an OHV, boat, or are a backcountry aviator, if you don’t have access to the public lands, you might as well as sell your recreational vehicle of choice. No one understands this better than the Idaho State Snowmobile Association (ISSA) and no other organization has been fighting to protect your access as long we have. ISSA has been successful in the administrative process, in the state legislature and in Congress and with your help; we will continue to do so.

    A number of years ago, ISSA participated in a lawsuit with the Idaho Recreation Council against the Payette National Forest because of their OHV Travel Plan which closed 80% of the roads in the Krassel Ranger District. Many of the roads were necessary for winter access as well as for summer use. We prevailed in court and as a result a collaborative group was formed to resolve the road issues. For over two years, stakeholders have been meeting monthly to find agreement on which roads/trails can be opened. The issues involved are complex and numerous. They include private property, ESA listed species, mercury contamination, cost benefits of road improvement, large scale mine development, access for the public, economic impacts to small communities, tribal interests and others. Those are big and difficult issues but because it is important to recreationists, we have stayed involved.

    Idaho Conservation League and others are constantly trying to close public land to all recreation except there elitist form. No more wilderness! The line has been drawn! 

    Sandra Mitchel-Director of Public Lands

    Larry Laxson-ISSA Fundraising Committee Chairman

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015 1:14 PM | Royal Kingsley (Administrator)

    The Idaho State Snowmobile Association has filed for a grant from the RTP fund to purchase orange snow poles to be used by the 29 grooming programs thru out the state. ISSA will work IDPR Trails Staff to assist with the distribution of the poles. Individual grooming programs will seasonally place where there is need for trail identification or a hazard exist.

  • Friday, April 05, 2013 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Sandra Mitchell, (208) 869-3318
    Paul Turcke, (208) 331-1800

    Date: April 2, 2013

     

    SNOWMOBILERS DISAPPOINTED BY COURT RULING

    BOISE, ID (April 2, 2013)--Snowmobile advocates today responded to a recent decision in United States District Court for the District of Idaho, which directs the U.S. Forest Service to promulgate new motorized travel management regulations. The decision was released on March 29, 2013, and declared unlawful the agency's 2005 Travel Management Rule for violating "plain language" in a forty-year old Executive Order and allowing it to be "discretionary" whether the Forest Service designates "areas of use or non-use" by snowmobiles. The 2005 Rule was years and millions of dollars in the making.

    While it is typical to conduct further proceedings to determine a proper remedy in an environmental case like this, the court's decision simply announces a new rule must be issued within 180 days. The parties to the case, including snowmobile advocates Idaho State Snowmobile Association, American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and BlueRibbon Coalition, are still interpreting the court's ruling. "This is either a tectonic shift or much ado about nothing," stated Sandra Mitchell. "Forest Service rules and maps have for decades regulated not only areas of 'use and non-use' but details to the gnat's eyelash regarding winter use of specific roads and trails for motorized and non-motorized users. If it does anything, this decision will create unnecessary controversy and further sap the planning budget of an agency already fearful of being raided in the name of fiscal reform," added Sandra.

    The decision is subject to appeal for sixty days. A copy of the decision may be

    viewed HERE.


    # # #

    The ISSA is an Idaho nonprofit corporation providing a unified voice for the Idaho snowmobile community, seeking reasonable snowmobile access to public and private lands in Idaho, and educating public and private interests on snowmobile use, safety

    and access. www.idahosnow.org

    The American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) is a national organization that was formed to unite the snowmobile community. ACSA is your voice for snowmobiling on national issues. ACSA is committed to the future preservation of our sport. Learn more about ACSA at http://www.snowmobilers.org

    The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists.

    1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    Last week the bill IDPR sponsored to move registrations to ITD was held in committee. We thought the issue was done for the year but not so. IDPR continues to be committed to making the transfer happen this year. After having heard repeatedly that “IDPR has to do it” and “they don’t want to” we decided that the only way to resolve this issue was to clarify the statutes to say that IDPR ‘may’ but doesn’t have to. (legislation attached) That gives IDPR the option but does not require them to share information with ITD. We have never believed that titling and registrations are connected; furthermore, we do not believe that it was the intent of recreationists to connect them when registrations were created. Simply put, all we ever wanted to do was collect money, pool it, and put it on the ground to build the infrastructures needed for our sport. We also believe that the registration program should be managed by people with a vested interest in making it successful.

    Although we continue to talk with the leadership of IDPR, we believe it critical that our legislation move forward. Time is running out on the 2013 Legislative Session. If a compromise is reached, we can pull the bill.

    We need your help!!! And we need it in a couple of ways:

    1. Please contact any legislator below that you know or that is your representative and give them this simple message (please feel to write in your own words)

    “PLEASE SUPPORT H 279. I RIDE A ___________ AND I BELIEVE THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT THE REGISTRATION PROGRAM THAT CURRENTLY WORKS WELL, IS EFFICIENT, ECONOMICAL AND IS ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC. THE REGISTATION PROGRAM SHOULD REMAIN HOUSED IN IDPR. THIS LEGISLATION MAKES IT CLEAR THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SHARE INFORMATION WITH ITD BUT THEY MAY. PLEASE VOTE FOR H 279.”

    (If you are a vendor/dealer, please identify yourself as one, “I am a vendor or dealer and I believe……”)

    2. The hearing for H 279 is tomorrow, Thursday afternoon, in the House Transportation and Defense Committee at 1:30 p.m. We need people to attend and people to testify. It is absolutely critical that the committee knows this issue is important to the recreationists. Plus it will be FUN!

    Representative JoAn Wood District 35 jawood@house.idaho.gov

    Butte, Clark, Fremont & Jefferson Counties

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you and remember, we need you!

    Interestingly, the registration program was originally housed in ITD. The history of the registration program is attached also. I think you will find it extremely telling!

     

    H 279 3-13.pdf

     

    Registration History 3-13.pdf

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    We are asking for your help PLEASE!

    Our snowmobiles and trailer were stolen from Gillette sometime between Tues 03.05 and Sat 03.09. Both machines were on the Yachtclub trailer, along with a small pull behind dog sled trailer.

    We have filed a police report-----but???

    PLEASE keep your eyes out for these for us, and post this where you can.

    They are older, but in good condition with low mileage. They did not have covers on. 1 was a Christmas gift.

    We can be reached at the # in the flyer, or by return email.

    If you are unable to open the attachment, please let me know and I will paste the info in the body of the email.

    WE SO appreciate your HELP!!

    Thank you

    Jim and Jo – Gillette

     

  • Tuesday, February 05, 2013 2:05 PM | Anonymous

    At the January 19th IRC general membership meeting, the vote was unanimous to oppose the transfer.  The issue will be presented as an RS to the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 p.m. in EW 40.  There will not be an opportunity to testify but having a number of folks in attendance would be a good idea!  Especially dealers.  A hearing will be held the next week.  As soon as I have a date,  I will let you know.

     

    Also, if you would like to share your opinion about the transfer, now would be a good time to do so.  The members are:

    Chairman Joe Palmer:                    jpalmer@house.idaho.gov

    Paul Shepherd                                  pshepher@house.idaho.gov

    JoAn Wood                                         jawood@house.idaho.gov

    Linen Bateman                                  lbateman@house.idaho.gov

    Frank Henderson                             fhenderson@house.idaho.gov

    Lawerence Denney                         ldenny@house.idaho.gov

    Terry Gestrin                                     tgestrin@house.idaho.gov

    Marc Gibbs                                         mgibbs@house.idaho.gov

    Brandon Hixon                                  bhixon@house.idaho.gov

    Clark Kauffman                                 ckauffman@house.idaho.gov

    Kelley Packer                                     Kpacker@house.idaho.gov

    Mark  Patterson                               Patterson@house.idaho.gov

    Rick Youngblood                               ryoungblood@house.idaho.gov

    Shirley Ringo                                      Sringo@house.idaho.gov

    Phylis King                                           Pking@house.idaho.gov

    John Gannon                                     jgannon@house.idaho.gov

     

    You don’t have to write pages.  You might want to include:

    ·          Any changes to registration should make the program more efficient and less expensive.  The proposed transfer to ITD does the opposite.

    ·          I want to continue to have the option of registering our snowmobiles, OHVs and boats with dealers and vendors.  Eliminating that option will hurt these businesses.

    ·          The registration program should be managed by people who understand and care about recreation.

    ·          IDPR has managed the program for 30 years and can do so without making major changes to the program.

    ·          Registrations are down statewide, this is not the right time to make a major change and cause confusion.

    Thank you!

  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012 9:33 PM | Anonymous

    Please click the link to read the document:  Caribou News Release 11/27/2012

     

    Here is the final map; wow what a difference!                                                                Caribou final habitat designation map 11-12.pdf

  • Monday, November 26, 2012 2:12 PM | Anonymous

    The next battle over Mt. Jefferson is here! As you know Senator Tester has attached his nasty wilderness bill entitled, “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” to an appropriations bill. We are gearing up for the fight believing that it won’t get done in the lame duck session but will be on the front burner in the upcoming session.

    I need help! Can you please get me a letter opposing the bill, “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” from the County Commissioners, the City Council; the Island Park Chamber of Commerce, from any official enity within and close to the county that will be impacted by the loss of access to Mt. Jefferson? I need them by the middle of December please.

    They can be addressed to the “Members of Congress”. They only have to say why the Senator’s bill is bad for Island Park and the local area and signed.

    We will be doing a poll after the first of the year in Fremont County. Should we expand it to an adjoining county or is that sufficient?

    I also need to know of a Freemont County legislator that would be willing to carry a resolution/memorial in the legislature this year opposing the bill? Any ideas?

    Thank you in advance for your help. If you need draft letters or statements let me know.

    Again, thanks and don’t give up…we have come to far to stop now!

  • Tuesday, August 14, 2012 2:13 PM | Anonymous

    As you know, IDPR is going to be closing down their registration department and turning over those responsibilities to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).  The reason is because ITD is updating their registration computer system and IDPR’s computer system will no longer be able to interact with ITDs’.  So starting in 2014, all registrations for vehicles that can be titled will go through IDT.  There are still many questions without answers, however, the IDPR board approved the move in April so I expect it will happen.  One of the big questions I have is about costs?  We should have an answer to that one shortly.

     

    Where does this leave NRCs that are not registrations?  IDPR will no longer need the vendor program for registrations because all registrations will have to go through ITD.  No vendors means our NRC program will cease to exist… Over 90% of NRCs are sold by vendors.  ISSA has been making the case from the beginning that eliminating vendors was unacceptable because of the NRC program.  Remember we are the only user group who has NRCs.  After months of discussion, I think we have an answer.  There are still some details left to resolve but essentially the vendor program will continue for those vendors who sell more than 25 stickers. (the vendors will not be able to sell registrations of any kind) No area will be left without a vendor and the out of state vendors (Washington, Utah, Wyoming) will remain.  The hated triplicate form will be replaced by a simpler form that will be transferred electronically to IDPR (unless the vendor does not have that capability)  The NRC program will be run by a staff person from the Recreation Bureau and managed by David and Troy.  The expense for the NRC program will be covered by the up to 15% admin fee.

     

    Thanks to Mark Sabin (Valley County), Tamra (Fremont County) and Warren (Preston) for participating in the meeting.  There will be another meeting this month to finalize details.  Neither Tamra or I will be able to attend so Mark is going to take over the committee and with Warren’s help, make sure this program meets our needs.  Trust me, we all understand the importance of protecting the NRC program!

     

    This is another example of how the right people step up when needed.  If it weren’t for Mark, Tamra, and Warren, I am sure we wouldn’t be this close to a resolution on this issue.  It also demonstrates once again why we have to stay organized and involved.

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