Forest Service Advises Against Snowmobile Use Due to Minimal Snow Cover

Even after this past week’s precipitation, the snow pack in southwestern Colorado continues to be the lowest in the state. One of the results is that opportunities for operation of snowmobiles and other tracked vehicles are still very limited across the San Juan National Forest, even at higher elevations.

At this time, none of the Forest’s district offices have authorized grooming of tracks at popular snowmobiling areas. Damage has already occurred on public lands on Molas Pass, and the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have installed “No Snowmobiling” signs at winter motorized parking lots on Molas Pass to protect damage to fragile high-elevation vegetation.

“Riding snowmobiles and other tracked vehicles on thin snow cover can severely damage soils, willows, and other alpine plants,” said Jed Botsford, Columbine District Recreation Manager. “There is also a high risk for hitting obstacles. Snowmobiles and rocks and raised logs do not mix. Hitting one of those is a good way to damage a control arm or other parts of a snowmobile.”

Please contact your local Ranger District Office for more information or check with the Colorado Snowmobile Associations website about possible alternative riding opportunities.

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