Wildlands Quiet Winter Recreation

When you support Quiet Winter Recreation for our Wildlands, you help Advocates for the West ensure that the Forest Service adopts proper restrictions for snowmobiles on our national forests.
Original oil painting by Rachel Teannalach.

About the Campaign

Advocates for the West is leading the charge in protecting sensitive winter habitats and quiet winter recreation on national forests throughout the West.

When the Forest Service revised its travel rule for national forests in 2005, it exempted snowmobiles from adhering to requirements put in place for ATVs and other off-road vehicles. This allowed snowmobiles, which have become increasingly more powerful, to venture deeper into sensitive winter habitats, threatening species that rely on undisturbed winter ecosystems and unpolluted snow cover. Their presence also disrupts the quiet backcountry experience for non-motorized recreationists.

Advocates for the West succeeded in forcing the Forest Service to update its travel rule to require winter travel planning and adopt a “closed unless designated open” policy for snowmobiles on national forest lands. However, the new rule also contains a loophole that allows some national forests to grandfather old decisions that used an “open unless designated closed” policy, which gives snowmobiles much greater access to areas containing sensitive winter habitats and pristine non-motorized recreation destinations.

Click here to learn more about our work to protect quiet winter recreation.