SNOWMOBILE APPEAL RESOLVED
In a productive, open and fruitful discussion with the Evanston and Kamas District Rangers and the Acting Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor, we were able to settle our snowmobile outfitting and guiding appeal for the Mirror Lake Highway and Whitney Reservoir area.
The original proposal, a couple of years in the making, proposed 800 additional outfitted snowmobile annual service days for a five year term permit. While the permittee would have had to comply with a number of standards, we were concerned with the length of the permit, the number of service days, the potential for more permits, more service days, and the ever increasing demand for more, more and more, which always follows this kind of special use (see LYNX, 12/00 and 10/00).
Our discussions with the Forest Service resulted in the permit being altered to a two year permit, 400 annual service days, and the preparation of a winter recreation analysis and plan for the Mirror Lake Highway corridor and Whitney area within those two years. If the permittee meets the monitoring standards, the Forest Service can consider extending the permit, "unchanged in numbers, acres, terms and conditions" for the balance of the 5 year term. If the winter recreation plan is not complete and the permittee fails to meet the monitoring standards, the Forest Service will terminate the permit at the end of the two years.
This was a positive and mutually agreed to decision that both HUPC and the Forest Service felt was in the best interest of gathering data and determining the value of a single, small outfitted snowmobile operation. For years we have pushed, pulled and tugged for a winter recreation analysis on the Mirror Lake Highway. The process is finally in motion!