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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-11-2001, 07:20 PM
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Snowmobile Restrictions - Rocky Mountain N.P.

If you haven't commented on the proposed restriction of snowmobiles in Rocky Mountain National Park, please take a moment and view the draft Environmental Assessment at: EA 12-11-00.htm

Once you have viewed it, please e-mail (and snail mail too please!) your comments to:

[email protected]

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Below is the message Mel Wolf (Colorado Snowmobile Association President) sent. Feel free to use it for ideas to include in your message.

Doo owner
Manta owner

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado, 80517

Kawuneeche Valley Visitor Center
Rocky Mountain National Park
P.O. Box 100
Grand Lake, Colorado 80447

Dear Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park;

As a frequent snowmobile visitor to the Grand Lake area and the snowmobile
trail systems in the general area, I would appreciate your consideration of
Alternative 2 in your final judgement of the Environmental Assessment of the:


" Alternative 2 (No Action) The North Supply Access Trail and Trail Ridge
Road from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center to Milner Pass would remain open to
snowmobiles. Snowmobile access to Trail Ridge Road from the North Supply
Access Trail would follow Sun Valley Road to the Kawuneeche Visitor Center.
Trail Ridge Road would be maintained as in the past from the Kawuneeche
Visitor Center to the Timber Creek Trailhead parking lot. This portion of
Trail Ridge Road would serve as a dual use road for snowmobiles and
automobiles and would be maintained with 3 in. (8 cm) of packed snow. The
Summerland Park Snowmobile Trail and Bowen Gulch Access Route would remain
closed and 36 CFR §7.7(e) would be changed to permanently close these two
trails. "

Of my many trips from Grand Lake to Milner Pass, I have never experienced a
situation whereby snowmobile activities have created any impairment of park
resources and or it's values and I have a difficult time in determining how
they might do so.

I understand that there has been a growing concern among environmental
groups and some members of Congress regarding the appropriateness of
recreational snowmobiling in National Parks, however when one considers the
fact that summertime travel by automobiles, motorhomes, buses, motorcycles
and other motorized forms of transportation over this same road, is it
extremely difficult to understand why snowmobile travel is considered to be
a major issue. If it were a matter of opening additional trails,
circumstances MAY be different. I also question many of the "environmental
groups and some members of Congress" so called facts on this issue. There
have been many distortions of snowmobile impacts and "facts" on the
environment and I would be pleased to provide several facts that are
counter to many of those distorted facts including effects on wildlife as
well as emissions that settle onto the snow and get carried into the park's
streams and lakes by snowmelt.

Any impacts of snowmobile travel to Milner Pass are virtually non existent
due to the fact that; 1) travel is restricted to only a small portion of
the Trail Ridge road system and machines can not leave that trail /
road, 2) the machines are traveling over a bed of packed snow and can not
possibly create any resource damage, 3) snowmobiles must travel within the
designated speed limits thereby eliminating many of the concerns regarding
safety issues, 4) snowmobiles rarely, if ever, come into contact with any
wildlife as most wildlife has left the area ( which is a significant
difference compared to summer use ), and 5) snowmobiles leave no visible
signs that they were even there when snowmelt occurs in the spring.

It is also mentioned that there were 28,417 snowmobiles that entered the
park during the winter of 1999/2000. I would appreciate receiving the
numbers of motorized users logged during the period of time the road is not
closed for the winter. Again, given the fact that these machines are only
allowed to travel to Milner Pass, a distance quoted as being 16 miles, it
would seem that by comparing the summertime traffic of the entire road
system from Grand Lake to Estes Park and comparing the impacts to this
minuscule number of snow machines, that there is actually no sound
scientific or logical basis for the elimination of their use in the winter.

Please enter my comments for the record as being in favor of " Alternative
2 - No Action " and enter my name in your records to receive any further
information on this issue.

Mel Wolf, President
Colorado Snowmobile Association, Inc.

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