Ski-do's and don'ts of winter recreation
All it takes is a bonehead or two to ruin it for everyone and give the larger behaved group a bad reputation, thanks to the scofflaws. Apparently that is what is happening in regards to snowmobilers in northeast Washington's Colville National Forest. With gazillions of acres and miles of forest roads that these winter recreationists have legal access to, wouldn't you know that a few just had to break tracks on forbidden fruit. So, now the Forest Service is close to closing a main access area to them because too many renegade riders have encroached into endangered mountain caribou territory. The Selkirk herd of caribou represent the last herd of caribou in the lower 48. They rank among the most endangered species in the country and they deserve to be protected and allowed to reproduce without some moron buzzing by to disturb them. The current population hovering in the high 40s is recovering-but-slowly and it will take some time if the herd is to fully recover to a viable population. Once caribou roamed all across the northern states from Maine to Washington. Today the Selkirk herd on the Washington-Idaho border is all that remain of these beautiful and elegant animals south of the Canadian border. Responsible snowmobilers, this will make it all the more important for you to self police and make sure that the ding-a-lings out there don't cause more restrictions for you. And of course this is true for all trail users-be it hikers, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, dog-owners etc. Let's not blow it-most land management rules are reasonable and need to be adhered. Enjoy our public lands but enjoy them responsibly.
(Picture-Salmo-Priest Wilderness Oct 2008)