In powder struggle, ruling for backcountry skiers

AP News
Posted: Apr 01, 2013 1:11 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge in Idaho ruled the U.S. Forest Service broke the law by not crafting rules to govern snowmobile travel, a victory for powder-loving backcountry ski enthusiasts.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush wrote that the Forest Service must draw up regulations designating areas of use and non-use by all off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, on public lands.

The Idaho-based Winter Wildlands Alliance argued the agency's failure to do so was leading to conflicts between snowmobiles and backcountry skiers.

Alliance director Mark Menlove said Monday he's very pleased with the ruling.

Bush ordered the Forest Service to write a new rule consistent with the executive order within 180 days.

The Forest Service had argued it only had to draw up rules governing where off-road vehicles could drive spring, summer and fall.