The rule, released in late January, says national forests must designate routes and areas where over-snow vehicle use is allowed.
Forest supervisor Bill Bass said he expects the Bighorn’s current designations to be in compliance with the rule.
The Bighorn offers 391 miles of snowmobile trails including 342 miles of groomed and 49 miles of ungroomed trails. With a few exceptions, most of the Bighorn National Forest is open to snowmobiles, as long as there’s enough snow to prevent resource damage.
Snowmobile use is restricted seasonally or year-round in the Cloud Peak Wilderness, downhill and cross-country ski areas, research natural areas, the Rock Creek area, wildlife winter range, recommended wild and scenic river corridors, and the area around the Medicine Wheel / Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark.
Most, if not all, the Bighorn’s designations were made in the revised forest plan, which was approved in 2005. “We’ll evaluate the areas open to snowmobiles to determine if we’re in compliance with the rule,” said Bass. Bass said he doesn’t anticipate changes in areas that are open now, but managers will know more after the evaluation.
For more information about winter travel in the Bighorns, contact the local ranger district office in Buffalo at307.684.7806, Lovell at 307.548.6541, or Sheridan at 307.674.2600.