Anyone who has skied or toured on Togwotee Pass knows how popular an area it is for winter recreation. While we all have ‘rights’ to access our different ‘playgrounds’, it is important to respect area closures and wilderness boundaries so that everyone can enjoy the backcountry experience they seek. Unfortunately, evidence of snowmobilers ignoring such boundaries is obvious when visiting areas like Breccia Peak and it is important to not let this blatant disrespect get out of control. I have nothing against snowmobiles or snowcats (hell, I wish I owned one sometimes), but we must all respect the boundaries that have been put in place.
Recently, a group of individuals from the surrounding communities have started The Togwotee Pass Backcounty Alliance in an effort to work with the Forest Service to set aside specific, non-motorized use areas.
“Togwotee Pass Backcountry Alliance mission is to create a shared space of balanced recreational use free of conflict, envisioning future development to maintain pristine backcountry for all. Non-motorized recreational user groups include nordic and backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers who frequent Togwotee Pass on both the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National forests.”
“We feel that certain areas north of Highway 287 on Togwotee Pass, including Angle Mountain, Buffalo Fork Peak, Breccia Peak, and Brooks Mountain should be designated as “Backcountry Non-motorized” areas according the BTNF Winter Recreation Settings. Pristine values in other areas, including Lava Mountain, Two Ocean Mountain, and Pinnacle Butte, also are greatly threatened. We would like to work toward easing motorized impacts in these areas as well.”
“For over fifty years skiers have been touring and turning on Togwotee Pass. Recently, we have come together for a common goal: the preservation of backcountry skiing on Togwotee Pass. Motorized use, including snowmobiles and snowcats, near Togwotee Pass has reached a level that conflicts with our values of quiet, solitude, and pristine air and snow. These values were once available at Togwotee, but now are greatly threatened. Our purpose is to gain federal designation of lands on Togwotee Pass exclusively for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and others who enjoy the quiet and serenity of non-motorized winter backcountry experiences.”
Togwotee Pass Backcountry Alliance promotes :
-A safe experience free from conflict
-A recreational opportunity on National Forest lands
-A backcountry experience free of noise and air pollution
-Initiate a collaborative process between motorized and non-motorized users
-Correspond with the Forest Service about the upcoming Forest Service Plan that affects all users.
In the next couple weeks, the Forest Service will be holding meetings where the public can comment on such activities. Future meetings about possible revisions will be held in March, contact the Bridger Teton Forest Service is you have any questions. Please, if you value a peaceful backcountry experience on Togwotee Pass, voice your opinion and try to attend one of these meetings. Thanks!
Meetings for the Shoshone National Forest (Meetings times 6:00-8pm):
February 20, 2007-Dubois (Headwaters)
February 21, 2007-Lander (Pronghorn Lodge)
February 26, 2007-Cody (Big Horn Federal)
February 27, 2007-Thermopolis (Holiday Inn)
Interesting site. I am not sure what to make of it just yet. It would be helpful if you could present some bios of yourselves on the site so we could Google you and find out what other Commy groups you are members of.
Sure love skiing myself.
In fact, there are vast areas where motorized users are banned from travelling in this neck of the woods– not to mention the many wilderness areas in the GYC and a couple of the ever so vague “wilderness study areas” as well. All have bans and restrictions that effect the blue-smoke breathers. Pretty fun skiing in those places.
Yet, I find myself weary of the never ending battle to create a heirarchy in which the self-propelled sit on top. Shall we create a motorized use ONLY side of Togwotee Pass in which gaiter clad freeheelers and Frtichi bound Freeriders are prohibited? Because if create a little Isreal for you folks then we might as well begin to think about where the Palestinians are going to go.
As you begin to create more rules, regulations, and designations, they will eventually begin coming back at you. Perhaps this new pristine area will ban your precious dog from entering its sanctified boundaries. Of course kite skiers will be deemed unsightly as a matter of course
Are you looking to expand the restrictive boundaries in place or simply assist in the enforcement of the ones that already exist? Will you be donating your time and money to the FS in order to defray the cost to taxpayers for the enforcement of these rules? Or shall the snowmachiners, whose numbers far outweight the skiers, pay for it?
Of course if you really want a satisfying victory I would suggest you spend your time putting the SnowCat Ski Guides at Togwotee Mountain Lodge out of business. It would be far easier to enforce a rule over a small local business than it ever will be to enforce a rule against the chaotic masses. You may not be able to sleep at night knowing that you put a small business and all its emplyees out of work, but you will forget about that fact quickly. After all, this is the standard operating procedure of the other conservation groups in Jackson Hole so you can tell yourself it is the industry standard, so to speak. Plus there are many non-local billionaires who will unknowingly support such an effort.
I suppose such a plan may make it even harder for folks to work and live here in Jackson Hole, but then again some of those people might move away. And they are probably snowmachiners.
You bring up some very good points Doug…Thank you.
I guess my personal take on this is just to enforce regs that are already put in place…not to create MORE rules.
I respect what these guys are tying to do though. Togwotee is their home turf and they must be seeing the pressure from the motorized industry increase over the past few years. It would be like snowmobilers regularly going up Coal Creek…and the Forest Service sitting there, doing nothing about it.
It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds.
Over the past 20 years I have been a skier, telemarker, snowboarder and a snowmobiler. I have enjoyed touring into and skiing Jackson Peak as well as hopping on the helicopter and snowboarding in the Snake River Range. I love everything about the winter, just not the groups that make claims on terrain.
It seems that every year somebody is going to try and take something away from somebody else. And it is not just limited to winter use. Hikers, bikers, horses, motorcycles, ATVs and even dogs have to share the great outdoors.
But no one really wants to share. They say they do, but the reality is certain groups just want the good stuff for themselves. Keeping snowmobiliers limited to a trail system may seem logical to some, but thats like telling a skier they should stick to the resorts. Or simply closing a resort to snowboarders all together. That may sound good to some, maybe most, but that’s not really sharing.
It seems to me that the solitude of the backcountry is available in a magnificent place called Grand Teton National Park. Over 300,000 acres of pristine untainted solitude for your non-motorized enjoyment. But that’s just not enough now is it.
I appreciate closing down areas for wildlife, I appreciate the Park system, I even appreciate the fact that everyone has the right to enjoy their life the way that they choose. I don’t appreciate anyone that violates wilderness boundaries nor do I appreciate anyone that doesn’t respect the backcountry. But I really do not appreciate any group that wants to tell me how and where I can enjoy my recreational time. We all have to share this place. Maybe we could just close every acre of land because of wildlife habitat and call it a day.
You guys are good! 🙂