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Friday, February 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Clearwater over-snow travel maps out in January

Snowmobilers share groomed trails with recreationists on foot and sometimes wildlife. (FILE)
Snowmobilers share groomed trails with recreationists on foot and sometimes wildlife. (FILE)

WINTER SPORTS -- Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests plan to have the Clearwater Over Snow  Vehicle Use Maps (OSVUMs) available to the public by mid-January.

At that, forest officials plan implementation road and area closures that will be spelled out on the map. 

OSVUMs are the winter travel map for the Clearwater National Forest. The Clearwater Motor Vehicle Use Map designating forest roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use has been available since November, 2013 and is posted on the forest's website.  

Read on for the explanation forest officials gave in a media release:

On January 12, 2012, the Clearwater National Forest issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision that designated roads, trails and areas where winter motorized uses are allowed.  The decision to close some roads, trails and areas (including recommended wilderness on the Clearwater to over snow motorized use) was also made at that time.  This decision is final, and we appreciate the public’s understanding and compliance with the decision. 

In his decision, Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell, stated, “In making my decision to eliminate most motorized travel in recommended wilderness I have given the most weight to the goal of retaining wilderness character.  This will minimize the potential for adverse effects to Forest resources and conflicts between uses. Though similar opportunities for high elevation snowmobile use exist regionally, the Great Burn area and some other locations on the Powell District will be missed by those who have snowmobiled there.  The change will create quiet environments for non-motorized winter users though I recognize that sheer remoteness will limit the numbers of non-motorized users to these areas.”

The Clearwater OSVUMs consist of two double sided (4’ x 3’) color maps – North Fork Ranger District (Front & Back), and Lochsa-Powell Ranger District (Front & Back).

“Over Snow”is defined as any motor vehicle having skis or tracks designed exclusively for over-snow travel and operated entirely on snow. Examples include snowmobiles, Thiokols, tucker Sno-Cats and similar vehicles. Other track driven vehicles like ATVs or ATVs fitted with removable tracks are generally considered summer vehicles and are governed by restrictions on the MVUM. They are considered over-snow vehicles only when operated entirely on snow and after November 15th.

For more information, please contact any of the following Forest Service offices:  Palouse Ranger District at (208) 875-1131, Lochsa Ranger District at (208) 926-4274, Lolo Pass Visitor Center at (208) 942-3113, or the Orofino Office and North Fork Ranger District at (208) 476-4541.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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