Snowmobile Use in California National Forests

Snowmobile Use in California National Forests

Current Status:

Case Title:
Snowlands Network et al Vs. US Forest Service

Staff attorney(s):
Laurie Rule


Winter Wildlands Alliance

Center for Biological Diversity

To Protect:

California national forest land, air, water, vegetation, and wildlife.



This case was successfully settled on August 26th, 2013 with the US Forest Service agreeing to conduct a new NEPA no later than May 30, 2015.

Case Information:

Advocates for the West is representing Snowlands Network, Winter Wildlands Alliance and Center for Biological Diversity  in a case regarding better management of snowmobile use on National Forest land in California. Snowmobiles create air pollution through emissions that far surpass those of regular passenger cars, run over trees and shrubs, damaging the vegetation, and scare wildlife. These machines, which can reach speeds over 100 mph, also disrupt the quiet, clean, peaceful winter scenery that non-motorized winter recreation users seek, such as cross-country and backcountry skiiers and snowshoers.  Snowmobiles have increased in power and capability over the years, allowing them to go farther off-trail and intrude into the backcountry, where wildlife and non-motorized recreationists formerly took refuge. The Forest Service continues to allow this widespread and increasing snowmobile use on eleven national forests in California without conducting any environmental analysis of the impacts of that use on air quality, water quality, vegetation, wildlife, or other users of the forest, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.