Mount Jefferson remains one of the most popular areas in the West to ride. People come from all over to experience the thrill and the amazing scenery of the mountain.  Not only is it important to snowmobilers that Jefferson remains open to riding, but also to the local economies of Fremont County and the community of Island Park, Idaho.   Mount Jefferson is in a Montana Forest, the Beaverhead/Deer Lodge NF on the Idaho/Montana border.  In the winter, it is accessible only through Idaho.

Keeping access for snowmobilers to this area has not been easy or quick!  ISSA working with the local Clubs, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, local businesses, Fremont County, and the Idaho delegation have prevailed against incredible odds, We succeeded in convincing the Forest to remove the south half of Jefferson from a Recommended Wilderness Area designation.  That was critical because at the time, Region I managed RWA's as designated wilderness, which would have meant no motorized or mechanized use. ISSA then intervened in a lawsuit filed by three environmental organizations against the Forest because of the decision.  We were successful in the suit, but it was not over yet; Senator John Tester (Montana-D) then introduced two wilderness bills in two sessions which included all of Jefferson.  Thanks to Senator Jim Risch (Idaho-R) the south half was removed from the bill and in the end, the bills died.  We have come to understand the phrase, "endless pressure, endlessly applied".  The environmental community never gives up, they just change tactics. The newest one is built around a line in the record of decision that left the south half open to snowmobiling if there was no snowmobile encroachments into the north half. The Forest monitors the area during the season by flying over the area and documenting the tracks into closed areas.

The snowmobile community has provided signs, forms, maps, radio spots, and newspaper ads, reminding people how important it is to stay off of the north section.  We have even improved the signage on the boundary to make is easier for the riders to see.  We were marginally successful in those efforts, but it wasn't until the Forest engaged two enforcement officers that the encroachment numbers dropped.  Although sad that it takes enforcement to make a difference, it is great news that we have solved the problem.  

Enforcement is expensive.  For the past several seasons, ISSA (including a generous grant from ISMA in 2016) IDPR, Fremont County, and the Forest Service have managed to cover the costs.  But things have changed and we face an even more difficult challenge.  Forest Service budgets are flat, the County is financially unable to contribute, and IDPR is unable to participate at the same level they have in the past because of other important demands across the state (ISSA is considering increasing the sticker price).  The County will continue to participate in our efforts by providing signage and man power to put them up.  Bottom line, we are in desperate need of funds.

Last year, ISSA started a program called Friends of Jefferson.  We sell stickers for $5.00 each.  They are distributed all over Island Park and in Montana.  Those funds will all be used for enforcement.  

This is not an ideal situation, but it is one we have and we must deal with it.  We all know that if encroachments are not stopped, there will be a lawsuit.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  THANK YOU!!!!!